No House In This House

I feel as though I’ve been sleeping for 20 years. It’s TiVo Time!! One of the benefits of sleeping for days on end is the catching up process. It’s much more efficient than living day to day.

Of course, I’m not advocating this as a lifestyle. It’s a byproduct of too much medicine, too many treatments, and doctors with a single diagnosis that plays like a broken record (or, for a younger generation, a CD that skips and repeats).

Catching up has benefits. You miss all the daily cruft that doesn’t amount to much and get just the highlights, the special events. And TiVo.

During periods of consciousness I would record a whole series of different TV shows that I knew would run while I was asleep (I prefer not to use the word “unconscious”).

One of those on my list was a series that began a year or two ago. The medical show House, which stars Hugh Laurie. Think of it as Chicago Hope and CSI New Jersey rolled into one.

I’m sure I recorded a few dozen House episodes on TiVo, and when I’m awake for hours at a time I watch what I’ve recorded on TiVo for hours at a time.

My connection to Hugh Laurie is simple. You gotta love those overly saturated baby blue eyes. Even Paul Newman couldn’t pull off color like that.

We also share the same independent, sarcastic, somewhat negative (we call it “realistic”) view of humankind, and the same birth date, though Laurie was actually born in England, half a world away, and hours ahead of me.

House is a surly, sarcastic, caustic, nearly irascible character and a world class medical diagnostician.

What I’ve learned from firsthand medical experience is that doctors, even high paid, experienced doctors, simply guess a lot. Of course, they’re educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless.

House and his team seem to guess often and they’re wrong often, though right often enough not to kill too many patients each week.

The advantage of a TiVo stream of TV shows is the opportunity to see the characters unfold and develop in rapid order; not once a week, but every hour, at least every hour I can remain conscious.

Gregory House is a great character gone bad, a maverick, a Samurai mercenary whose only delight is being right. That should have bothered me early on but it didn’t.

Now it does. Episode after episode House lies, antagonizes, distorts the truth, cajoles, intimidates, and squeezes the truth of a situation out of patients, doctors, administrators, and next of kin.

If there’s a straw that can actually break a camel’s back, then watching House too often and too soon has the same effect as the straw.

Having a passion to heal is one thing, having an over burdened passion always to be right is something else. I began to detect that the character House wanted to be right more than he cared about the patient being healed.

Healing was merely a byproduct of being right.

House is not without moral problems as in his desire to break up the marriage of former love Sela Ward (an attorney in the same hospital).

In one episode, one of his staff doctors tries out a patient’s drugs, gets high, and has sex with another staff doctor. Granted, House is always proven right about the appropriate diagnosis, but not without ruffling every feather in the hospital.

In early episodes, such behavior was endearing; after all, the patients, at least most, lived. Now it’s annoying. Why?

At this stage of my life I want to see a few more heroes leading by example, and a few less selfish, self-gratifying, egotistical leaders who become an example.

Of course, it’s just TV. But it’s my TV and my time and I get to make some choices with the time remaining in my life.

House isn’t on the list.