Friday, February 19, 2010

Old School

I have a confession to make.  I have come to greatly enjoy the TV show Scrubs.  Not the newer spin-off of Scrubs:Med School that's on ABC, but the original series from NBC.  The newer is ok, but it lacks the zip and chemistry of the original.

Why do I class this revelation as a "confession"?  Well, there are certain TV shows that it's somewhat difficult for a Baptist preacher to admit to liking.  The first somewhat wrong TV obsession Ann and I had was Boston Legal.  Now, we've gone from legal drama to medical comedy with Scrubs.  I'm sure once we've watched the series completely through on DVD, we'll be over it.  (By the way, quick shameless plug: we're Netflix subscribers.  For about $15/month, we get a 2-DVD at a time subscription.  Free mailing.  It beats buying a DVD you'll only watch once or paying $4 at Movie Gallery to rent it.)

Well, one of the episodes on Season 2 disc 2 features an amazing guest star: Dick van Dyke.  He's playing (wait for it….) an old guy.  Well, an old doctor, Dr. Townshend.  Now, as you can imagine, there are some funny moments, but the serious part of the show examines that Dr. Townshend hasn't kept up with newer developments in the field of medicine. He's got great patient rapport and is well-liked by all of the staff.  He just hasn't kept up with new things.

This comes to a head when he pushes one of the young doctors to do a procedure the old way and this nearly kills a patient by nicking the carotid artery.  As you can imagine, that's bad.

This set me to thinking: the realities of medicine haven't changed.  Medicine is, fundamentally, the process of helping the human body to heal itself or to recover from the things it can't heal on its own.  God designed us to be remarkably resilient.  There are certain underlying truths: too much blood loss is bad, infections are bad, broken bones? bad!  Heart has to beat.  Lungs have to breathe.

Yet there are improvements in the way we as people can be involved in medicine, and you have to keep up.  Bob Kelso, the grouchy old Chief of Medicine at the hospital points out that he spends nearly every other weekend trying to catch up, that people 5 years out of med school are out of date.

It is a great reminder to all of us: the world we once lived in is no more.  It is not the world we grew up in.  It's not the world I went to college in.  And it wasn't just 9/11 that made those changes.  It was everything from the Berlin Wall to the permanent normalization of trade relations with China.  It includes the PC revolution and the cell phone boom.

It's a world that's been shaped by 'wardrobe malfunctions' and a TV channel dedicated to music videos that no longer plays music videos, that shows without scripts are as popular as shows written by experts.  It's a world where people fly airplanes into buildings over taxes and shoot up schools over bullying.  Where parents have targeted each other for cheerleader slots.  Where churches aren't always safe havens and banks aren't places to keep your money. 

So, what do we do?  We make sure that we are paying attention to what is going on out there.  We hold to the truths that are everlasting: God created us, God loves us.  We don't deserve it, but He loves us and our sin costs lives.  Our own and the lives around us, but it can be paid for eternally by Jesus Christ.  That Ecclesiastes 12:3-4 is more right than we realize.

And we strive.  To keep up, to know what's happening.  Is it easy?  No.  But we have to keep striving….


And just for fun, here's a Scrubs clip to enjoy: Pay special attention to the advice Dr. Kelso gives the girl in the hospital bed.

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