Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Improve "The Bachelor"

Ali chose "Roburdo." Shocker! Looking forward to seeing the March issue of Us Weekly detailing the breakup. That finale was so vanilla that I really don't have anything else to say about it.

Let's face it: Nobody watches this show because of the romance (since it never works). We watch for the drama and the unintentional comedy (often off the charts). With that in mind, I've got a few ideas on how to spice up the franchise, because right now it's staler than medieval bread.

1. For the love of pete, can we please have a spelling bee at some point? You're telling me that watching some of these bimbos try to spell "cravat" or "rapport" or "rabbit" would be just luscious. How about a geography bee? The Miss Teen South Carolina clip still delivers after 44 million views. We could have that every season!

2. Alert reader Corbin Clawson has suggested the ladies be forced to clean sewers. At the very least, we need to get the potentials into some more stressful situations, to see how they perform. No, the cliche tandem tightrope walk/bungee jump doesn't cut it. Seeing Ali beaching it up in Bora Bora or spelunking in Iceland and exclaiming, "This is what life would be like with So-and-so!" was nauseating. Real life has real adversity, dang it! Let's invite the crew from Punk'd to pull some crap with a few random suitors next season, just to sweat 'em. Have the tanning bed "accidentally" turn them blue instead of orange. Have their employers call and tell them they're fired, Trump style. Have them robbed at gunpoint on a date. Do something. Anything. Press the flesh a little.

3. The Batch should have access to more data about the suitors -- stuff that would come out eventually if the relationship timeframe was more realistic. Or maybe it wouldn't, but at least it would be funny. Medical records (including STDs), performance evaluations from past employers, report cards, criminal records, etc.

4. Weekly truth serum administrations. Potentially hilarious when combined with Idea #3. Dimmed lights, a comfy chair, and Chris Harrison brings in a little pentobarbital. Soon, we're hearing things like "Yeah, I know Monica's had the clap 6 times, 3 DUIs, has never had a job for more than 48 hours, and spelled her own name wrong, but the thing about Monica is. . . she's just really hot and I'm just in this for a good time. In fact, I actually have a girlfriend at home." Not realistic, you say? Well the show as presently constituted doesn't exactly reek of authenticity, pal!

5. Tie-ins with other reality shows. The suitors could compete weekly for Immunity, a golden rose which would prevent them from being voted out. How funny would it be to see a psycho like Shannon stick around for a few weeks because no one could best her in the immunity challenges? Also, we could have The Mole, whose job it is to sneak laxatives into the Batch's drink, hide fish in shampoo bottles, etc. But my favorite tie-in is The Duel, from Real World/Road Rules Challenge. You think Jana isn't here for the right reasons? Step into the inferno with her, and whoever emerges gets to stay. Just so he has some say, the Batch could be on the sidelines, passing foreign objects to his preferred suitor -- pepper spray, folding chairs, books with more words than pictures -- anything goes. This needs to happen.

Other ideas are welcome. Maybe some poor ABC exec will hear them one day. We live in a world where Vienna was someone's final choice -- anything can happen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bachelorette Finale Sneak Peek

Before we move on to this season, can I just point out that the whole Vienna/Jake situation could have been avoided if the producers would have implemented my toilet-cleaning contest idea? Vienna would have quit the show and spared us all.

Jake and Sausage were apparently trying to outdo each other in terms of despicability during their interview last week. Watching that garbage, aside from making me nauseous, also made me laugh, especially the part about Jake flying Vienna's cat with the two IVs across the country. Was there a life support team standing by in jumpsuits? Were the cat's relatives notified? Were the tiny instruments on hand, just in case it needed surgery?

But enough of that! Maybe this season will finally be the one that yields a permanent relationship from the final two (0/14 so far)!

Ali has a schoolgirl crush on Roberto, and he stamped his ticket to the Fantasy Suite way back in Week 1. I guarantee she picks Roberto. I also guarantee it's over before the year's out. It's not him, it's her.

Frank has also had a Fantasy Suite ticket for a while now, but he keeps ripping it up and glueing it back together. He constantly projects his feelings onto the other guys, e.g. "I think we're all a little upset right now that we're not with Ali," "We are all worried about the Rose Ceremony," etc. Take off the hair and add 40 pounds and he's George Costanza. Can't hold a regular job, lives with his parents, overly analytical, constantly screwing things up. Ali's not picking him.

Chris is going to get his heart broken. Out of everyone during this season, he most obviously really likes Ali. But she's not the Cape Cod type. I just don't see her sitting quietly, watching the ocean with a blanket and a book on an Adirondack chair. Chris is likely the producers' top choice for next Bachelor, though he probably shouldn't accept. I think he should get Tenley's phone number--they'd be a smart match.

Ali is a nice person but she's not ready for a serious relationship. When Chris's Dad asked her about her personal goals, the only thing she mentioned was her career. She's been very noncommittal about why she's actually on the show, and seems like she doesn't really know herself or what she wants right now. She kindly avoided making Tattoo feel like crap when she easily could have, and she somehow didn't slam Rated R with a Flying Turnbuckle Leap, but she's about as ready for marriage as Vienna is to join a convent.

Here's how I see the final Rose Ceremony playing out:

HOST: Ali, it's been the most amazing season in Bachelorette history. There have been ups and downs, and you've come so far. Are you ready to fake propose to someone?

ALI: It's been hard, but I feel g...wait, what?!

(enter CASEY, looking dissheveled in dirty raincoat)

CASEY: I got another tattoo since you dumped me, Ali. Can I share it with you? Guard and protect this, you tramp!

(He moons Ali, revealing giant "YOU SUCK," and runs away, sobbing)

ROBERTO (smiling): Do you want to go look at my baseball card some more? I'll put on the Lion King pelt...

FRANK: I think we're all feeling a little jealous that Casey got to show Ali his butt before we did.

HOST: Order! Come to order! Ali, this moment is about you and your choice. What have you decided?

(Suddenly, the lights go out. Darkness prevails. FRANK screams. A familiar tune begins to boom through the set.)

HOST: Oh no! That's RATED R's music!

(Lights. Enter a smug-looking RATED R, clad in speedo, knee pads, and black wrestling boots. Without a word, he knocks out FRANK, CHRIS, and ROBERTO in succession.)

ALI: Justin, I can't escape the feeling that you might not be here for the right reasons. I don't want to believe it!

RATED R: Wait, this is a dating show? Man I'm dumb! (Exits)

HOST: Ali! I can't get a pulse on Roberto! I'm afraid he's gone!

ALI: (wails) Noooooo! I was all ready to make him my 6-week boyfriend! Now I'll never find "love"!

(Enter KIRK'S DAD, with freezer bags and toolbox)

KIRK'S DAD: Perhaps I can be of some assistance? Bringing things back to life is what I do!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Blog

Since I started posting about intern year, I've had several people say thanks and that they really enjoyed reading. I decided to start a new blog dedicated solely to thoughts on all these new experiences I'm having now.

Here's the link.

I'll try to post at least once or twice a week.

Thanks again for your thoughts, comments, and prayers. They mean a lot.

P.S. Yes, this means this space is now reserved for Bachelor stuff and the like. Although after that Jake and Vienna debacle the other night, I don't know if I can justify watching anymore.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts from the ICU

It's about 2 am, I've got a few minutes, and I figured I would post a few thoughts.

There was a game we played sometimes as kids in which a new player had to figure out the rules of the game as he went along, without knowing anything about them before the game started. It's torturous for the uninitiated, because they don't know what they're supposed to be doing, and when they try something, they're told they're not doing it right -- and they aren't, because, again, they don't know the rules.

Although everyone around me has been very nice and supportive, I often feel like I'm trapped in this game. Everyone else seems to know the rules, how things are supposed to be done, but I feel like I don't even know the objective of the game, much less how to achieve it. Learning the rules -- where to be, what to put in the note, how to order things, how to dictate, how to operate all these computer systems, how admissions work, etc. etc. etc. -- takes so much time that I feel like I can't work on the game's objective -- what's going on with this patient and how should I intervene. I'm used to being good at things, and I don't feel like I'm particularly good at this yet.

The ICU feels like the last place in the world you'd want to be if you're used to perfectionism. Unknowns abound, and either those around me aren't considering them, or they're more comfortable with not knowing. What's wrong with the patient in room 204? Who knows! Multiple concurrent disease processes to be considered, volumes of history to review, piles of medications to sort through. It's exhausting. I guess I anticipated that things would be a lot more lucid.

An elderly male patient of mine died last week. He came in Tuesday with trouble breathing, pneumonia, and leukemia. I talked to him for a little bit before he was sedated, paralyzed, and intubated. His family decided that their father wouldn't want to go on like this. The tube was pulled on Friday afternoon. He died five minutes later. I never talked to him after that first night. We never figured out what caused the pneumonia that ultimately killed him.

A man came in two nights ago after being in a car accident. He has a severe traumatic brain injury. He's in a coma. The prognosis is extremely grim; many are surprised he hasn't died yet. He almost did last night. He has a lot of family members here at the hospital, and I've found myself reluctant to introduce myself to them for fear of not knowing what to say. I know I wouldn't be able to answer any detailed neurosurgical questions. I don't know specifics about his prognosis. If I talk to them and can't answer their questions, it seems like I wouldn't be much help. So I read his chart, glance at his vital signs, and walk away, feeling like I've failed.

These two stories, and many others like them, leave me thinking frequently about what success is. Is it keeping people alive overnight? Nobody has died on my watch yet, but somehow I don't feel successful. Is it figuring out what is going on with each patient? I hope not, because it seems like the ICU in general, and especially at night, is more about keeping patients alive long enough for others to figure out what's wrong with them. But isn't that just passing the buck? If I'm caring for this person, don't I have an obligation to try my best to figure it out?

Maybe success is knowing the answers when the attendings, nurses, and family members ask me questions. I've never said/thought to myself "I don't know" this much in my life. Is success continuing to come in every day? That seems insufficient. For now, I guess it's continuing to give a crap, doing my best to think critically, paying attention to detail, and trying to learn.

Thank you for your comments, thoughts, and prayers. I'm committed to keep trying.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My First Night of Internship

I finished medical school two weeks ago, and have sinced moved to Spokane, Washington to start my year of internship at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Last night was my first experience as a new doctor/intern. My first rotation is "Night Float ICU," which basically means I take care of patients in the ICU overnight while their primary doctors get some rest. I also take care of any new patients that come to the ICU overnight until the main team comes back the next day.

I showed up at 5:30 pm and got the scoop on who I would be taking care of. Here are some highlights/lowlights of the night:

-- Writing my first order as a physician: "Ok for patient to take ice chips by mouth."
-- Introducing myself as Dr. Weed for the first time and thinking that it sounded silly
-- As I'm sure you know, the ICU is full of really sick people. I have never done an ICU rotation before, and I can't remember the last time I felt as inadequate as I did last night. These poor people are in bad shape. Some are young, most are old. I kept cursing the situation that puts me in this position.
-- The senior resident was fortunately extremely patient and kind, and made me want to work harder and better so I didn't disappoint her.
-- An older woman lost feeling and movement below the waist yesterday due to bleeding around her spine. As soon as it was recognized, the neurosurgeon removed the clot, but the prognosis is grim for her recovery, and she knew it. What am I supposed to say to comfort someone who now possibly faces a life of paraplegia? That I'm sorry? That's all I could think of, but it seemed like so little.
-- There is a young woman in there who is extremely ill and we don't yet know why. I feel like I should figure it out.
-- I participated in two "codes." At around midnight, I got paged to go to the 6th floor. There were about 15 other doctors and nurses already there, doing CPR on an elderly man. I did chest compressions part of the time. The man was having a massive heart attack. 20 minutes later he still had no pulse. We stopped CPR. His wife and sisters came in, crying. We talked for a bit and then shuffled out of the room. It was horrible.
-- I didn't even so much as lay down all night. Miraculously no caffeine was involved. Around 3 am, I went to the cafeteria for a "rally breakfast" of bacon, eggs, potatoes, and chocolate milk.

I haven't wanted to quit anything so much since the first few days at the MTC. I've never wondered if I was really cut out for this until last night. It was a long, fatiguing night filled with feelings of inadequacy interspersed with a few moments of pride and exhilaration. I'm hoping that tonight, when I go back there, the patients are doing better, and that I feel at least a little more comfortable than last night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Bachelor: Season in Review

The people have spoken, and they want more Bachelor. I've been meaning to blog about this perfect storm of unintentional comedy ever since the hilarious hijinx from last January. Jason sent the lovely Molly packing and picked Melissa, only to show up on the "After the Final Rose" special--aired immediately after his proposal to Melissa--looking like someone just sent him a turd sandwich. His subsequent confession that the Molly tattoo (likely applied during the sensuous massage she gave him in the finale) had not exactly washed off, followed by his dumping Melissa on-air and professing his undying Molly-love, was great TV.

But that's all in the past. Without further ado....

A Few Highlights from the Season So Far:

-Jake letting Vienna "Sausage" Girardi (not pictured, blog standards) through the first cut, yet eliminating the likes of Emily from Ohio. After seeing and meeting Vienna, clearly the decision of most sane men would have been whether to tell her to go back to the limo immediately or to do it classy, letting her stay for 48 hrs if she agreed to wear a bag over her head and not speak.

-Rozlyn the Scandalous getting eliminated for hooking up with a crew member. She's like the Amelia Earhart of reality TV, just pushing us forward into uncharted territory. The best part of this story is the camera guy's decision making process. "Let's see, there are cameras everywhere. . . . I will without a doubt lose this job and many potential future ones. . . . This girl cannot possibly be clean. . . . But man, is she hot!" Thanks for giving the rest of us a good name, buddy.

Ali's growing discontent over Vienna's shocking, continued rose-finagling. Honestly I think Ali left the show not over work concerns but because she thought if she had to be in the same room as Vienna for one more day, she would drown herself in her spray-tanner.

-Jake's decision to use "absolutely gorgeous" as his go-to adjective. Every Bachelor picks one; Jason's was "amazing." Maybe a limited vocabulary is what has kept these guys single all this time?

-Channy's foul pick-up line during the opener seeming so ridiculous for what we thought was a classy, virtuous guy in Jake, followed by Jake himself dismantling this notion week after week by handing out roses to Vienna the Orange, former Hooter's waitress.

And now, some Scenes I Wish We Could Have Seen:

-During the romantic 1-on-1 date in St. Lucia, Gia and Jake are on a private beach at sunset, whispering sweet nothings in each other's ear. Jake inwardly wonders why Gia's lips look like Jack Nicholson's Joker. Suddenly, a ripple in the water. A larger ripple. A veritable tidal wave. A deranged Vienna emerges from the sea, looking even more like Swamp Thing than usual. "JAKE. WHY ARE YOU SPENDING TIME WITH THESE OTHER WOMEN!!"

-Jake explaining to Ali that yes, she could come back, but technically there was only one Fantasy Suite experience left, so she would have to share with Vienna

-A toilet cleaning contest held among the girls. I've been arguing for this one for years. Ostensibly, Jake is looking for a wife. I've got news for you pal, most women are going to seem like pretty good choices when you're flying them all over the country going on $10,000 dates. You want to separate the wheat from the tares? Send them all into the jon after Gus the overweight mic operator drops a load in there. You think Tenley doesn't clean that toilet, even if she hates it? And Vienna's more likely to be responsible for the toilet's current condition than to do anything to fix it.

-Along with the toilet contest, I would also make the girls take some sort of basic academic test. Everything else about this show is unrealistic, so why not this? I've even written a couple of questions for Vienna's test:

1. If I have five (5) apples, how many apples do I have?
2. What is the capital of Austria?
3. Count the number of times you've wrapped Daddy's car around a telephone pole without using your fingers
4. YOU:JAKE as...
5. Essay: In 50 words or less, list all the words you know

-A hard-hitting piece on the crew that was forced to film and edit Vienna and Jake's Fantasy Suite experience. We see a scene of a support group, all the men in a circle. Silence prevails. Finally, one man speaks. "They told us it would be okay. But then it started. . . . We couldn't help it, vomit everywhere. . . . I have lost all hope for mankind." Other members of the circle nod, numbly. One just sobs as he looks at the floor.

-Michelle was this season's token crazy person. She was so desperate for a rose that, even after she left, I hadn't ruled out the following scene taking place during a later episode's rose ceremony:

Chris Harrison: As you know, those of you who do not receive a rose will be asked to leave. Jake, are you ready?

Jake: I am. It's been a tough decision this week, and all you girls look absolutely gor--

(Michelle enters, wearing black ski mask, with finger pointed like gun beneath her satin gown)

Michelle: Everybody DOWN ON THE GROUND!!!