04 March 2009


I tend to watch episodes of "House" online a week after they come out. Tonight I watched the episode "The Softer Side." Leaving aside the story dealing with the patient, the story dealing with the doctor himself was very interesting. For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, Dr. House suffers from chronic pain, for which he pops Vicodin like candy and which makes him chronically bad-tempered. (spoilers in next paragraph)

In this episode he was cheerful, which made everyone suspicious. It was revealed that he had started a dangerous new course of treatment for his chronic pain: methodone. At first, his friends pleaded with him not to take it, because it could cause him to stop breathing. He refused, because he was free of pain for the first time in years, which made him happy. But at the very end of the episode, he realizes that his happiness caused him to be willing to capitulate to other people, and his willingness to capitulate almost killed a patient. For House this is unacceptable, and he decides to stop taking the methodone, resume his cranky persona, and continue to help people.

It is possible that this is an entirely selfish decision. Cuddy remarks that he needs to have his intellect, because he believes he is nothing without it. However, the lesson remains: House's willingness to suffer in order to better practice his profession means that other people's lives are saved. This is a very Catholic message, and particularly good for Lent. I have noticed other rather Catholic messages in episodes of "House" before--so has Thomas of American Papist, who blogged about "House" for a while, as I recall.

In other news, it took me more than a week to recover from whatever made me sick, and I am still sniffling a bit, but mostly I am none the worse for wear. Also, my grandmother was very ill after her fall, and we were all terrified yesterday when the doctor said she had pneumonia in her left lung, but today she was feeling much better. My mom said she wanted to perform basic hygiene tasks herself, like brushing her hair, and she complained that her food arrived late, which means she is hungry again. Also, she was asking when she will leave the hospital, and what her choices were for an assisted living facility where she will receive physical therapy and aid before she is ready to go home. (Thanks for your prayers, Fr. Z!

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