Dr. Gregory House, Addicted M.D.
Probably everyone has seen the TV series "House" at least once. He’s the arrogant, insufferable, brilliant doctor who always solves the case at the end. He’s also addicted to Vicodin. Not long ago I caught the episode where he goes to rehab solely to try and escape jail. A cop had caught him getting a prescription for pills for a man who was dead and bingo, got him for prescription fraud.
I saw the episode in a different light this time since I’ve learned so much about prescription pill abuse. Some viewers had probably been excusing House’s abuse a bit. Yes, their jaw dropped when they’d watch him pop a handful of pills into his mouth, but…well, that was just House. He had lost the muscle in his leg, it was causing him pain, and poor man, he was addicted. And that was pretty much the end of it.
His addiction really got to me this time around. House always said his addiction didn’t interfere with his job. Yes, he was brilliant, but…he was spouting the standard denial. How many times did Wilson, one of his few friends, yell at him that he was miserable? House always had a pithy comeback for friends’ accusations.
“I live in pain,” he told the cop when he was apologizing to him for needlessly using a rectal thermometer on him. (Of course, House didn’t really mean it, even if he did sound sincere. He was hoping it the cop would drop the charges. It didn’t work. The cop said, “I don’t look at what you say, I look at what you do.” Spoken like someone who is knowledgeable about addiction.
House goes to rehab in the program and is his usual obnoxious self throughout, although there’s a glimmer of hope for him. He agrees with the counselor leading a group session that he can’t recover alone.
I liked his exchange with Cuddy, who visits rehab to question him about a patient. Mad at his attitude, she asks him, “See this wing? They built it because the program works.” House responds that Cuddy is engaging in faulty logic, that “they” built it because they’re rich.
“You find fault with everybody because you refuse to see yourself,” she says. Cuddy is always one for wanting him to be honest and engage in some self-reflection. “Thanks,” he shoots back. “I was running short on platitudes.” Cuddy responds that rehab is working for him. However, at the end of the segment, House is popping pills again, while still in rehab.
I’m waiting for another cast member to bring up a recovery organization for physicians. I don’t believe anyone has. For all the things the Gregory House character is, one thing is for certain. To those interested in recovery and addiction, he represents another addict on a dangerous path.