Wednesday, March 30, 2005

'Heavy' thoughts

OK, so I'm not much of a TV watcher, but I've gotten addicted to the new Fox show, "House," which is on after "American Idol" on Tuesday nights. It's basically a show about a curmudgeon doctor named Greg House who's brilliant but has no social skills. He has three docs on his team -- a black dude, an Australian guy and a cute girl who has a thing for House, even though he's a pain in the ass. Every show is based on a patient who is having weird symptoms, and no one can put the pieces together to figure out what's wrong. Enter House and his team.

I'm fascinated by medical stuff. At one time, I wanted to go into healthcare. I worked as a housekeeper at the hospital in my hometown, and I loved the patient interaction part of things, even though I'm essentially shy. (Gotta be that INFJ blood...) So I love this show, even though it can be "ER"-esque in its graphicness. M can't deal with blood or gore, so exit stage left when this comes on.

Last night's episode, titled "Heavy," was a young girl named Jessica who was morbidly obese. She collapses on the playground one day with a heart attack. They run all sorts of tests and first think it's because she's been sneaking diet pills. She then develops necrosis, or sores on her body that are basically dying tissue. The doctors talk about a radical double mastectomy on a 10-year-old to save her life. Finally, House figures out she has Cushing's disease, a tumor in her brain that affects her hormones -- her weight, growth rate, etc. (She's short and fat, to which I can relate.) They remove the tumor, and she loses weight.

Chase, the Australian dude, is a slimeball asshole. He makes disparaging comments about her weight throughout the entire episode. This is after she's been evaluated by nutritionists and told to eat less, exercise more, does so and still doesn't lose any weight. It's people like this that give kids -- and adults -- eating disorders. Imagine being a fat 10-year-old (I've been there) and hearing this hunky doctor basically say you're worthless and lazy b/c you're carrying some excess baggage -- weight you've desperately tried to lose and can't, because you have a hormonal condition and don't know it. Come on. At the end, the girl comes back, and she's lost tons of weight. Chase says, "Wow, you look great." The mom, who's heavy herself, says, "She always looked great."

It's been said too many times by people smarter and more eloquent than me (here's one of them): We are much too obsessed with appearance in this country. No one plays with this kid because she's fat. Everyone hates her. She gets to a point where she doesn't want to go to school, because she knows she'll be picked on. This episode pissed me off no end. Can you tell it hit a nerve?
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