Wednesday, December 03, 2008

HD versus House M.D.

I was glad to see them finally deal with Huntingtons Disease properly on tonight's episode of House. It's been mentioned in a few recent episodes with regards to Thirteen's (aka Dr. Remy Hadley's) family history and genetic testing, but they never quite got it right. (First a positive test result with no mention of the repeat count, then talk about the count as if it was some sort of follow up test to the initial pass/fail result.)

This time they showed Thirteen dealing with the childhood memories of her mother's struggle (mostly resentment and embarrassment at her mother's treatment of her, followed by regret that she'd never said goodbye to her mother as a result) that were brought back by the sight of another HD patient farther along in their progression. It was very similar to anecdotes I've heard both from within Tammy's family and within the caregivers support group, and touching to see it dealt with realistically on tv. The depictions of the physical symptoms of the disease were accurate (although it doesn't present this way in everyone), and the description of her mother's mental condition and abusiveness brought on by the fact her brain was 'shrinking' (a simplification, but effective enough for a tv drama) quite to the point.

As much as watching scenes of Thirteens' mother and the patient in the waiting room made me sad they also made me happy; knowing that this is a show that is watched and respected by millions, and that hopefully some of those people will be affected enough by what they saw tonight to start asking questions and getting involved. One can only hope.


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