I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy anymore, but I was a fan for a long time. The first episode I saw was a two-parter called “It’s The End of the World.” Part two was called “As We Know It,” because all Grey’s Anatomy episode titles are song titles. At any rate, this was the “Code Black” episode, where some guy who likes doing historical reenactment ends up with a piece of unexploded ordinance in his guts, and they have to send for the bomb squad, and Kyle Chandler gets liquified.
Aside from Kyle Chandler, there was another notable cameo in that episode. Christina Ricci played a noob EMT who stuck her hand in the patient’s gut to keep him from bleeding to death. Then she has to go along to the O.R., while quipping that she knew “Just enough medicine to never be allowed in an O.R.” You can see she’s scared, but hey, there are doctors everywhere, all she has to do is hold her hand still, and it’s kind of cool.
Then the word gets out that there’s basically a bomb in there with her hand, and it’s a lot less cool. They evacuate almost everyone else while they wait for the bomb squad, and she’s still trying to hang in there despite the fact that all the smart, capable doctors have ditched her.
Finally, it’s just her and the anesthesiologist, and he decides to peace out on her, too. By the time Meredith finds the poor kid, she’s hyperventilating and panicked. When Meredith tries to help, she bolts and Mer ends up with her hand stuck in Bomb Guy’s gut.
I have found myself thinking about this character a lot lately. About the situations we get into, one weird step at a time, and how to extricate yourself without leaving another innocent bystander to deal with the fallout.
It goes like this. Someone asks you to do something you’re not comfortable doing. You know you’re in over your head, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else to do it. So you chuckle nervously and try to make the best of it.
You tell yourself that if things go sideways, you’ll just ask for help. And then things go sideways, and as you look up, you realize there’s nobody to ask. They all sidled out of the room while you were trying to not drop the ball you shouldn’t have been handed in the first place.
Fortunately, the consequences of dropping the ball are rarely a human life on the line, or a bomb that might detonate and liquify Kyle Chandler. While it might suck, you will probably survive screwing up something you aren’t good at doing and probably didn’t want to do in the first place.
Your perfectionism will try to tell you otherwise. It will try to stoke the fires of panic. It will scream in your ear that EVERYONE IS COUNTING ON YOU!
But, don’t listen to it.
Perfectionism lies. A lot.