I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since season one. I was utterly addicted for the first few seasons – speaking during my Thursday night drama viewing was completely unacceptable.
I remained loyal even through the Dead Denny Duquet story line. (Which was absolutely ridiculous, and bumped the show from Must See TV to Must Watch At Some Point After DVRing. What can I say? Grey’s has McDreamy and McSteamy, I have my McStreamy.)
This season’s major plotline is Callie’s pregnancy. (It involves a whole nightime soap arc of a lesbian lover who slept with a friend while the significant other was in Africa, but now the three of them each have a vote in how the kid will be raised plus Callie’s “very special vagina vote,” but for the purposes of this post, let’s just stick with the fact that Callie’s pregnant.)
Last night was the Big Musical Episode. I’ll admit, it sounded cheesy – but I was dying to watch it. I should have known – beneath the sing-songy gimmick, was the viability of a 23-week gestation baby.
Babies reach preliminary viability at 24 weeks. (I know I said I was going to stop talking about preemies in my New Year’s post, but I lied. This is a cause close to my heart.) Doctors made it clear within the first 10 minutes of the episode that the baby had not received any steroids to help strengthen the lungs. And, as labor was a result of a car accident, it was a traumatic birth (as though the birth of a micro-preemie is anything other than traumatic in any circumstance).
The show portrayed doctors working on the premature infant – a doll that merely looked like a grayish baby doll with closed eyes. It appeared to be the length of the crash cart. In reality, the child should have been beet red due to blood coursing beneath her translucent, paper-thin skin. The doctors working on the tiny baby would have been able to hold her stick-thin body in the palm of their hand. There would not have been the suggestion of intubation, glossed over by the fact the little one had a heart beat and would survive.
The newly arrived baby girl is 1 pound 1 ounce (482 grams). By comparison, our 27-week muppets were 964 grams. According to the NICHD (National Institutes of Health – Child Development) Neonatal Research Network, a baby born at that age and size has a 14 percent chance of survival.
- Survival: 14%
- Survival Without Profound Neurodevelopmental Impairment: 9%
- Death: 86%
- Death or Moderate to Severe Neurodevelopmental Impairment: 95%
I watched the entire episode – numb with remote in hand. I couldn’t tell you what songs they sang in the Big Musical Episode, the volume was nothing more than white noise rushing through my ears. The tears in my eyes blurred the actors, replacing my vision with images of someone placing Search in front of me for mere seconds before whisking him away. I remembered the strain in my neck as I craned to watch Destroy’s isolette wheeled from the OR.
The promo for next week shows Callie recovering from the accident; spoilers claim her wedding will be May 5. Will Grey’s Anatomy depict the heartache and heartbreak of giving yourself wholly over to the new normal of prematurity? Or will the writers take the easy way out and gloss over the triumphs and tragedies via offhand comments in the wings, while returning to more mundane interaction between the doctors. Next Thursday just became Must See TV.
5 Responses to Grey’s Anatomy
I have been watching it since day one too. 🙂
Hmm. Glad I missed it.
I watched and knew you were sitting there and thinking about last May. Yours is a happy ending.
I thought the singing was stupid – turned it off after 5 min.
Ah yes, the infamous musical episode.I gave up on Grey’s about one season later.Part of why I gave it up were the inaccurate portrails of various conditions.I know it’s a fictional tv show but they should stay off certain topics if they are unprepared to treat them realistically because they are sending the wrong message to viewers.
Following the musical episode, Callie’s baby(Sophia) grew up to be perfectly healthy and on track despite brain bleeds and other ailments early in life and her extreme prematurity was never agian mentioned. I don’t need to tell what is wrong with this picture.
Another big problem was the way they handled Zola’s storyline(Meredith and Derek’s adopted baby). She was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida.They made a big deal about the surgery that Derek performed to place the VP Shunt(for the Hydro) and then, half a season later, Zola was the most typicaly developing toddler out there.They had an entire episode about Zola walking at a very young age, unassisted and her medical conditions were never mentioned again.One could make the argument that Zola had a mild case of SB but they presented it as a rather serious one in the begining(it was implied she needed spinal surgery).
Apparently in later seasons they also presented Neuroblastoma(NB) in a pretty cheap way. I read the story of a little boy with NB, Lucas Tran, from Sillicon Valley but I suppose you haven’t heard of him since his parents moved away quite a few years back.The point is, when I think about children like Lucas, I find it a bit inappropriate when tv shows give the wrong impression about certain diseases. It’s part of the reason people walk away thinking prematurity isn’t such a big deal anymore, pediatric cancers are rarely fatal or congenital diseases like SB are a piece of cake.Again, I know it’s a fictional show but I wish they’d stay away from sensitive topics if they’re going to misinform.
Maybe I’m wrong, it would be interesting to know how you feel,as a parent of not one but two preemies, about the way GA has portrayed prematurity but I understand if it’s not a question you feel comfortable to answer.