I surprise myself sometimes. Rather, things I thought constant, surprise and turn out not so constant. I liked a television show on Facebook today. I don’t do that. It’s a medical show. I don’t like medical shows. But this one I watched and liked on Facebook. To me it’s a big statement. The name of the show is “Saving Hope”.
I don’t know if anyone else sees in it what I do, or even cares. I went so far as to try to find a contact to e-mail the writers. Now that is really huge. I don’t write fan mail, ever. I think this is more of a review but if someone wants to consider it fan mail, it’s my first.
Why don’t I like medical shows? People don’t watch medical un-dramas so they get it wrong. They always get it wrong, at least from my point of view. To someone making a drama, getting it technically right is second on the list. I can only see the errors that from my eyes, eclipse everything else. You probably can’t watch shows about your profession either.
It’s cringe worthy to have people thinking you do or act in such a way like screaming CLEAR when the people who need clearing are within three or four feet of you, are aware of what you, and they are doing. The dietitian down the hall isn’t about to run into your code and put their hands on the patient. Besides that, screaming about anything, getting your adrenalin out of sorts, keeps you from thinking clearly and of course there’s your team, who would look at you like you’ve just broken a spring.
No one runs into a room, takes a flying leap, lands straddle a patient and begins bouncing up and down for CPR or any reason. And that of course, is what makes it dramatic, so nevermind me in the corner, peeking through fingers, mumbling under my breath, trying to stay un-noticed.
Then, what about this show makes me not care about the errors? Yes, it’s content of course. They nod to our superstitions, but someone writing this show understands what it’s like to know the medical staff firsthand.
Speaking of superstitions, you may not have them but if you are in the emergency department with a broken boo-boo it would still be a good idea to refrain from saying the word q.u.i.e.t. in any form. We* don’t say that out loud because it brings about a monsoon of trauma, pouring, rolling through the doors and when we are running, it’s not toward your broken ouchie. By the time lives get saved, stabilized, labs and strips gathered, charts documented, ickys cleaned, splinted and bandaged, reports given to the I.C.U, equipment gathered and patients transported, then take a deep breath to figure where we left off, did you really want to say that word? Or would you rather take our word?
Separated into groups, there are believers in the faith of Science, believers in the faith of Money and believers of faith, in God.
Don’t let anyone tell you science isn’t a religion or that it’s not faith-based. It’s a polar opposite from belief in God but we all have faith in the laws of something. All of us know there are things unexplained. The causes concern some more than others. Some find these things uncomfortable for personal reasons or because we like having all the answers.
Others comfort themselves in faith in God when the unexplainable happens. Believers in money gods might try to tune it all out and go with “he who dies with the most toys, wins” theory. Of course there are exceptions and cross-over. None is by definition amoral or delusional. I’m only describing generalities.
How the staff sees patients is as different as the number of people who staff hospitals, and clinics. One doctor can’t think past her husband’s cancer diagnosis. A nurse is trying to recover from the loss of a child. Another used to care deeply but the pain of losing patients along with bad reviews because extra time spent comforting them, caused a wall built between those feelings forever. We are all people. Most care about their jobs and patients but expectations grow every year to do more with less. It’s not the patients fault. As staff, everyone needs to stand up for patients. It’s the job. Health care needs courage more than any other commodity.
I can’t remember when a television show asked such difficult questions while not getting mired in the muck of it all. As health care workers, if we wonder about the odd, unexplained, and inexplicable but talk about it too much, people look at us funny and wonder if we are close to burn-out or if they simply never noticed our psychosis before. Still, we all know when the suffering geriatric patient lingers far too long, the night shift will open a window just a bit for the angels to come in or the soul to get out and no one on the staff questions or argues.
Do we see each other? Do we recognize suffering? Are our own beliefs so entrenched we are incapable of change? Have we walled away the world because seeing would be so painful we wouldn’t recover? Do we impose our own beliefs on others without realizing? Does our training teach us intolerance in others beliefs?
Saving Hope goes far past those ideas. It doesn’t try to answer when philosophers have been unable to define even the questions. It asks without being in anyone’s face, in a quiet way, those things we should all contemplate for ourselves and our loved ones, but rarely do. That’s not something I’ve seen from a television show. It’s barely something I’ve seen spoken of between those who work with it every day.
The biggest question for those who work with the sick and dying is why just make up an answer? When we don’t know, can’t know, why is it someone always seems to have an answer? People wake up after months or years and describe remembering smells, voices, and conversations. But everyone doesn’t wake up and everyone doesn’t regain the ability to recall so we continue to assign emotions and wishes to their conditions.
We ignore and brush aside what is the basis of our lives. Our world is built on hope. Seeds sprout, eggs hatch, babies are born and love grows based on nothing but the hope of being caught and provided a place to grow. We scrimp and save hope, knowing it’s the last possession we will ever own. When the last light of hope leaves, so do we.
I don’t know how many seasons or episodes of this show there will be, but my hope is it’s used for years to come, in hospitals, medical and nursing schools, to continue asking these questions in new, sensitive ways. Because, in this way, the show has already lived up to its name.
*of course “we” is generic. Being on disability now, we doesn’t include me but once a nurse, always…. so please excuse my lapses of inclusion.