Monday, January 29, 2007

On why you should not come to me for medical advice

Right now I am feeling a little like the writers at Grey's Anatomy must have been feeling when they wrote the script for this Thursday's episode. I say this because I am having little trouble getting started. I am having some problems organizing my thoughts. This might be more because of the kids running around and the dog howling than true writer's block --especially since I do know what I want to say. Just having some trouble getting it out.

I am certain that if I were a more gifted writer I could tie it all together in some witty and bright way but alas. . .( And no, I am not tossing out a baited hook. Really, I'm not.)

So, anyway, I noticed in the preview for next week's Grey's it looks like it is going to be a quarantine episode.
The quarantine episode? You ask?
The quarantine episode is the cliche episode of medical dramas.
All the medical dramas do at least one--ER, House-- and it is always so, so predictable.

It seems that the writer's pull out the quarantine episode when they have reached a point in the story line that has left them stuck or for whatever reason they have to get all the characters trapped together. However, whatever; it is a weak device and not very original.

And I always imagine the writers of the shows as sitting all Dorthy Parkeresque Algonquin Round Table-like hashing out banal ideas and everyone going-- no,no, no that won't work. And then from the quiet corner comes the "Well, hey, how about this? We could do a quarantine situation. . . "

I remember once in one of my undergrad lit classes it being said that Shakespeare has already written all the original plots and everything modern is just that-- a modern twist on an old plot. Now I don't know about that but I do know that the quarantine is the staple of all medical dramas on TV and that the writers parade it out when they've got no where else to go. Even still, who doesn't love the thrill of a good Hazmat/CDC situation? And usually they reveal some cool new virus or bacteria that I have never heard of and has disgusting, dire and creepy symptoms. So for the sake of some delicious new dramatized disease being revealed I will watch. I mean, that is assuming I can stay up for it this week like I was able to last week.

And that is the long winding road that brings me to what I really wanted to talk about: last week's episode.
Did you see it?
It totally had me peaking out from behind my hands.
You know, that scene? The one where Calli and Christina slash open the marathon runner's legs sans anesthesia?
Freaked. My. Ass. Out.
And after my OHMYGOD scream I asked why the hell they did that and more importantly, how can I avoid having that happen to me?
Unfortunately, they skipped right over the medical tutorial and went straight to the smoochy kissy kiss stuff.
Do these people not understand that I watch these sorts of shows (House, ER, Grey's et all) for the obscure medical information they provide?
How else I am I to sound knowledgeable at the Doctor's?
Or, when friends ask my medical opinion on stuff-- just like someone did on Saturday night about what happened to that runner.

Well, I finally remembered yesterday to Google about it. And apparently I wasn't the only runner slightly wigged out by that scene. Amby Burfoot had already blogged about the same thing on his Runner's World blog. Some fine Md's came along to comment that the marathoner's glossed over condition was probably this.

And, so it would seem, that probably isn't something I am going to have to worry too much about. In fact, I should probably focus more on what is going to happen when my tightly wound Achilles finally pops.


  1. My probable diagnosis guess would be acute compartment syndrome from the trauma of falling...They first diagnosis it as a simple dislocation of the patella and assumed with resetting the knee cap, the compression bandage and rest, the runner would be fine...but there appears to have been some internal bleeding as well(Aspirin thins the blood and delays clotting so it can exacerbate the situation) causing the lower leg to swell with fluid...if left untreated it would kill the leg...the muscles...nerves would die from all the pressure and amputation would be the end result.

    That part of the program didn't really cause me too much concern...they had to do something immediately to save the leg...just the thought of the pain the patient was going through

    But I can see how it could have that effect on any runner.

    But the most moving scene and the one that brought me the most emotion was Rachel, Julie with terminal cervical cancer and her family...really...touching.

    Nice job on your 66 mile week...that is awesome!


  2. I loved Grey's Anatomy when it was on my night off (Sunday), but can't watch it now due to the show moved to a night when I'm working....BUT, my wife still watches the show and gave her more ammunition about how my running is DANGEROUS...that's all I need!

  3. Wow, Charlie! Smartie pants! And agreed that the cervical cancer scene was very moving but I was annoyed that she just let it get that far. Cervical can be very curable and she should have been more on top of her healthcare. Not that she is to blame for her cancer but I just think people owe it to themselves and the people that love them and should take proper care of themselves (--and that little statement was for my sister.) Stepping off soapbox now. And no Asprin for me, definitely. I try to avoid taking any sort of pain relievers when running or really ever--Asprin, NASIADS etc. My thought is if I need to take them to run I probably shouldn't be running)--the only exception to that rule would be menstrual cramps but usually I can grit and bear it.) I might take a NASAID after a run to help with inflamation but usually ice works just as well.
    Nice to hear from you! How is your training coming along? Battling the bitter north cold? You are up north, right? New england area?

  4. Bruce, Ryan is always warning me that he isn't going to be pushing me around in a wheelchair when I'm 80 so I'd better take it easy. Those non runners? I think they're just jealous of our super fitness. Besides, running is way less dangerous than most other sports.

  5. Hi Ms Natalie!

    I'm in Chesapeake, VA. We are cold here but not the real bitter cold of those north of even snowed a bit two days ago...just a dusting.

    I have been very discouraged from my lack of running because of shin splints...more likely stress fractures.

    I've been fighting shin splints since about mid Nov. I have been giving them rest between some races that I have done but it seems to be just getting worse. I ran a 10K and then a 5K race about 2 weeks apart in Dec and then a 20K the first week of Jan. After each race, my shins felt really bad especially after the 20K...I could barely walk down a set of stairs without hanging on with both hands on the rail for a about two weeks after...So I have imposed a 6 week ban on running...I am now in the fourth week and I can now walk normally without pain and even walk down stairs with only a little bit of discomfort...I'm sure it was shin splints that have turned into stress fractures. I have been walking on my treadmill every other day…fast as long as the feet glide and not pound...I did a 5K walking...get 35:38...a 10K just walking in 76:20...pitiful (LOL…but I’m really crying inside)! I love to run and I.Want.To.Run, but I know I need to let my legs completely heal. Six weeks of no running takes me to about 17 Feb to start my training again...My greatest dismay is that I may not be ready for the Shamrock marathon 18 Mar…but we will see. I’ve been looking around...If not Shamrock, there’s Fredrick marathon in May.

    Your training sounds like it's right on track and you seem to be doing great...even though you may not feel like it is some days...but look at the total mileage...Very Impressive! Watch that Achilles Ms Nat...I know I don't need to tell you but, stretch them well and slowly before and after your runs and ice them down after.


  6. Charlie,
    Okay, so not as far north as I thought but probably colder than it is here.
    However I need to run around 18 miles this morning and the current temp is 20 degrees.Brrr. Tomorrow it is suppose to ice and rain so I it needs to be today. I really hate leaving the long run til Sat. I am having a hard time lately convincing myself to run for 3 hours in below freezing temps. There is no pleasure in it and it is hard to wrap my mind the saneness of it. So I might be skipping my long run this week.

    I am sorry to hear about the shin splits. I struggled with shin splints (I also had problems with my shins in gymnastics from the impact of flips and dismounts in high school) the first year I started running. After about a year or so if running I noticed that I had developed this hideous muscle that bulges on the front of my shin. And ever since that muscle showed up I haven't had trouble with my shins. I guess for me, my shin splints were from a muscle imbalance. Maybe all you need is some strength training?? I've never had a stress fracture --that I know of-- so I can't speak about that. Regardless of cause 6 weeks rest is probably a wise strategy.

    I know how frustrating it is to not be able to run to your capablities. When I was pregnant it was so incredibly frustrating that it would take me an hour to run 4-5 five miles whereas I could usally do 7+ in that time. I was so worried that I would never get my fitness back. It was even worse once I reached the point where I couldn't run at all and walking was a struggle. Walking is so inefficeint. I hate to walk.

    Hang in there, you'll heal and you'll get stronger.
    I need to keep this in mind with my Achilles. Earlier this year my hamstrings were my problem, last year my ankle, the year before my foot and now my Achilles. Sigh.