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St. Elsewhere

My favorite show ever in the world of my life is St. Elsewhere. I love watching it now as much as I did when it was first on the air 25 years ago.

The writing was so perfect, so tender and so timely – it’s amazing watching it now that they know what AIDS is, how to do heart transplants so easily now, how seemingly tragic illnesses are now passing thoughts – and how diseases we never considered back then have taken over our lives now.

I am re-watching the series on a minor cable channel, and while I know the shows nearly by heart, I am still so intrigued and can’t wait for the next show each time the one I am watching ends.

Seeing Ed Begley Jr., Denzel Washington, Mark Harmon, Eric Laneuville (who “grew up” to direct many of the episodes and many, many other shows), Howie Mandel before anyone knew him as a comedian… just wild sometimes! William Daniels (Dr. Mark Craig) had the plum role of the icy physician who annoyed – and pushed – everyone to their limits. I hated and loved Craig all at once. Daniels is an amazing character actor. The heart transplant he did cost $110,000. Can you imagine something so inexpensive today?

Remember when date rape was addressed? Peter White raping women in the hospital? Date rape was barely even a new thought back then. Date rape is now such a common term, elementary school girls know it.

It’s bizarre watching the docs not use gloves when doing some procedures… touching open wounds, removing sutures… very weird.

Watching Craig dictate into a Dictaphone is blinkingly incredible. Living in a time without cell phones, archaic beepers – how did anyone on-call ever survive in traffic?

I loved when Erlich (Begley Jr.) did his OB rotation. Finally! They brought in wonderful stories I could relate to. When Alfre Woodard joined the cast, I was ecstatic. A black, fluffy OB/GYN who had a heart. Our own female Dr. Wonderful.

I spent part of the day in the hospital with another postpartum client yesterday. A beautiful labor turned into failure to progress and then a cesarean for an acynclitic baby… a near-brow presentation. I asked the OB if she (the baby) was brow, but I didn’t get a straight answer. Mom had pushed for more than 2 hours at home, baby perfectly fine and dandy the whole time, but once her forewaters broke and there was light meconium, I began the move to the hospital. She pushed another 3 hours in the hospital and then the doc used a vacuum. When the baby came back to us, she had the tell-tale suction cup mark on her head, but it was right at her forehead hairline, not on the crown where it should have been. Was this brow? Docs aren’t supposed to use vacuums on brows, but this wasn’t really on the brow, right? Was this more military? I would say probably.

I hadn’t had a cesarean baby in over two years and then I have two in a row. Even though both were 100% indicated, it makes me sad. Both women seem to be recovering well physically and emotionally, but I don’t think they have gotten to their place of mourning the loss of their homebirths quite yet. My newer mom, especially. She hasn’t gone home yet and going back to the house is often a time of great sadness. I’m just glad the place is picked up and back to normal for her. Sometimes, the pool is still up or the bed is still made for the birth, etc. We try to get things cleaned up, but when we head out quickly, there just isn’t time.

I’ll write more when I get back from seeing both my post-cesarean mamas.

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Reader Comments (2)

Going back to the house IS a time of horrifying sadness and you are a great woman to understand this. I didnt even realize it was "sad", being just glad to be home/exhausted/in pain, sort of ignoring what I was seeing around me and trying to get help in lying down with the baby...but the sadness is real and it sucks.


I wrote about it this past summer and it helped. I hadnt acknowledged this until he was over 18 months old. thanks for understanding.

December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHousefairy

What station is St Elsewhere on? I so love that show!

January 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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