Here's the short CFS/Fibro scene from the pilot of HOUSE:

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kholmes, May 10, 2006.

  1. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    I found the dialogue from the pilot episode of HOUSE, in which Dr. House visits a patient complaining of CFS. House calls CFS "the definition of getting older." Then House gives him a placebo.

    The show is growing on me, but this kind of sarcastic attitude in the media doesn't help us any. If anyone finds an address for the FOX feedback, let's send them a barrage of e-mails, with the latest CDC study attached.

    [Cut to clinic and House is with a patient, a guy]

    Guy: I’m tired a lot.

    House: Any other reason you think you may have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

    Guy: It’s kinda the definition isn’t it?

    House: It’s kinda the definition of getting older.

    Guy: I had a couple headaches last month, mild fever, sometimes I can’t sleep, and I have trouble concentrating.

    House: Apparently not while researching this stuff on the internet.

    Guy: I was thinking it also might be fibromyalgia.

    House: [Looks contemplative, and then serious] Excellent diagnosis [sarcastic]!

    Guy: Is there anything for that?

    House: [heavy sigh] Ya know, I think there might just be.

    [House goes out of the room, and to the dispensary.]

    House: I need 36 Vicodin, and change for a dollar.

    Nurse: (jumbled, I can’t tell)

    [House gets his change and goes to a candy machine. He gets white candies out of the machine, and goes back to the counter. There he takes the Vicodin and slips them into his pocket, exchanging them for the candy.]

    House: Exam room 2. [Places the bottle back on the counter.]

    [This Message was Edited on 06/12/2006]
  2. julieisfree05

    julieisfree05 New Member


    I have a very active email relationship with FOX News (especially Shep!), but FOX Network might have needed to put in a new firewall after the blistering email I would have sent. I might still do it..

    julie (is free!)

    You can't fix stupid! - Ron White
  3. claudiaw

    claudiaw New Member

    I remember that show. It ticked me off.:)
    I wwonder who wrote that and why. Maybe they have clueless doctor's as their consultant's?

    I'm not sure how to contact them, but probably wouldn't help. but couldn't hurt.:)

  4. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    the guy asks for more of House's "medicine." His CFS and Fibro were merely comic relief for the main plot: a woman critically ill with a tapeworm in her brain.

    I know HOUSE is just a TV show--and a compelling one at that--but the media play a huge role in shaping public (and professional) opinion about health issues. The comedian, Al Franken's cracks about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome might have been understandable a decade ago, but for Fox to do this now is inexcusable. With a million Americans suffering from these very real illnesses? We deserve better than this.

    How can I find who to fire an e-mail to at FOX?

    Boy, was I in the mood to RANT today! :)

  5. Michelle_NZ

    Michelle_NZ New Member

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrr - that is appalling!! If someone finds the email address, please post it here so we can all have our say
  6. aquabugs

    aquabugs New Member

    I never miss House and have seen that particular episode a couple of times. (BTW - he didn't call CFS "the definition of getting older...he was speaking of being tired a lot...there's a BIG big difference.)

    It's funny (now don't all jump on me cuz I am in the same boat as you all here) but I just didn't take that scene the same way at all.

    The thing with House is...that's just his character...he puts down LOTS of people and illnesses. Yes, I know...he should be responsible, etc, but this is a sarcastic character and that's just the way it is. It's WHY we watch the show.

    Besides, the patient had come in diagnosing himself only on the basis of being a little tired. As we all know...CFS and FMS involve A LOT more than just being "tired a lot."

    No one should diagnose themselves without adequate evidence. IMHO, the patient set a very bad example and perhaps it was irresponsible for the network to show a not too well-informed patient diagnosing himself on very vague symptoms that could mean many many things. At least that is another way to look at it.

    I suppose I try not to let little things get to me as I have enough stress without looking for things to stress out about. I have to save my energy to fight the big battles, not small ones. One fictional doctor on TV shouldn't be in a position to get us all upset in real life or to affect public opinion as a whole.

    He was simply echoing what many of us have heard from our own doctors already. Public opinion is not going to change about these diseases until the medical profession as a whole looks at them as real and takes our treatment seriously.

    As it is now, how can we expect the public to understand when the great majority of our doctors can't come to a concensus on our diagnoses or treatments or even if we have a real disease or if it's just stress?

    Personally, I would rather write letters of protest to doctors, the AMA, and whomever can REALLY help us to demand that we be treated as seriously as other people with disabling chronic conditions, rather than just given treatment to alleviate symptoms and placate us. That's where our anger and efforts should be concentrated....

    In the meantime, I'll watch House for entertainment (AND to see his gorgeous blue eyes )and laugh at his insensitivity or the ignorance of some of his patients.

    (Steps off her soapbox)

    Take care all

    [This Message was Edited on 05/10/2006]
  7. kel78

    kel78 Member

    I actually feel they were doing us a service (us being the real sufferers of FM and CFIDS). This 'patient' was so obviously not sick that, had House accepted his self-diagnoses seriously, it would've suggested that the medical profession considers these diseases/syndromes to consist of nothing more than occasional tiredness.

    I LOVED that scene, as I love House, in general! Great show!

  8. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Your interpretations have helped me to cool off and interpret the scene in a different light.

    Great point about how dangerous it is to "self-diagnose." And the man's symptoms are a far cry from those who are truly ill with CFIDS or Fibromyalgia. Further, I'll grant that House is sarcastic to just about everybody.

    But I still think the scene--and the show--did a great disservice by further influencing the public to see CFS as an all-in-your-head illness, something that everyone feels "as they get older." It belittles a very real, physical illness, one with patients in need of far more than illegal placebos.
  9. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    and House's relentless pursuit of a correct diagnosis in his patients is unusual and valuable, but I would suggest that media images are extremely influential.

    Advertisers, for example, are willing to pay over a million dollars for a thirty second commercial during the Super Bowl, (or close to that amount for an ad during the AMERICAN IDOL finale), in addition to millions in production costs, precisely because these ads influence people to buy their products. Pharmaceutical companies advertise so heavily on TV because they know we will ask our doctors about these drugs, turning us, essentially, into their salespeople. Sales of the candy, Reese's Pieces, skyrocketed the summer Elliot laid a trail of them in the backyard for the alien in Spielberg's E.T.

    Immune Support is spending millions of dollars on a media campaing in the hopes of educating and informing people about CFS and Fibro this summer.

    And far more people, including doctors, will hear about CFS from a scene in a show like HOUSE than will ever read about the CDC findings in a newspaper or on the internet. I think this, in turn, influences the culture of care and attitudes toward health and wellness in America.

    Nevertheless, HOUSE is just a show, a well-made one, and one that has provoked valuable discussion on this board. Lastly, forgive me; I felt a need to rant a little bit today.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/12/2006]
  10. painandagony

    painandagony New Member

    Unbelievable. I can't believe we are STILL trying to defend our illness!!!!! Like we enjoy feeling like this and losing out on our entire lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. musikmaker

    musikmaker New Member

    I took the scene as making fun of us. I can see by reading the comments we are split on how it was viewed.

    They show him as someone who won't give up on finding a diagnosis. Yet when the guy comes in thinking he has CFS, he makes a joke out of him.

    In my mind just another form of discrimination against us, being the butt of a joke.

    Cute or not.....this is wrong by me. I always feel like I am not being taken seriously as it is.
    [This Message was Edited on 06/11/2006]
  12. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    I didn't see the show ,,, but can you imagine what South Park could do with this? They would tear us up.
  13. kat-E

    kat-E New Member

    at the end, saying the candy (what should have been"vicoden") helped. He was truly a malingerer. Rattling off a list of symptoms he claimed to have from information he may or may not have gleaned from the internet( according to HOuse) trying to get a diagnosis to get pain pills, which was quite apparent by the end of the show.

    Those of us that have gone thru the diagnostic process with docs know that people like this are the reason it is so difficult for us to be treated properly. We are truly in pain and most of us know that even pain pills do not really help.

    I used to work with a lady that did the same thing after I was diagnosed...she found out they were RXing me muscle relaxers and pain pills and thought it was an easy in to get high.

    I would like them to do a show where they find the person also has these DD with whatever mystery illness and work so hard to treat the FMS or CFIDS the right way.

    EDITED TO ADD: I should not be criticized for saying he was a drug seeking malingerer. If he comes back for more, saying the candy helped, he is obviously not afflicted with FM or CFIDS.

    If anything I think by portraying it this way the script writers were actually standing up for us in support.

    It seemed to me that they were saying that you cannot just present with symptoms one time in a docs office and get a diagnosis, it takes a little more than that.

    I personally find that docs are far quicker to diagnose this now than they were when my symptoms became unbearable and I had no choice but to go to the doc time and time again and go thru test after test for 7 years until they came up with an answer.

    I wish, just like the rest of us, that there was that magic little pill that would just make it all go away.

    It is anyones perogative to watch the show or not. We all have our opinions of the show in question and should not be slighted because of them.
    [This Message was Edited on 06/12/2006]
  14. Leaknits

    Leaknits New Member

    THANK YOU more than I can say for your post. I kept searching for one that said something along the lines of "Obviously the man was a drug-seeking malingerer..." and yours did.
    I will never watch House again. The writers who look down their noses at those of us who suffer with these d'ds should have to live OUR lives for as long as it takes for them to be reduced to whimpering untreated wrecks.
    Their "It's all in your mind" slanted script made me want to scream.
  15. butterfly83

    butterfly83 New Member

    :sigh: i'm glad i didn't see that or it would have made me so angry.

    It's just so cruel that we have to live in serious pain all the time, and then have people make light and make fun of us, like we are actually choosing to be this way.
  16. cjcookie

    cjcookie New Member

    that the patient came back for a refill because the candy seemed to work. You also left out the part where they guy decided he had Chronic Fatigue. He read about it on the internet. I don't think they were making fun of us at all. They were just showing a hypochondriac. The disease he picked could have easily been one of a million others.

  17. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    I can definitely see how one might interpret the scene as making fun of a hypochondriac. And don't you hate when someone hears that you have CFS and says, "I get tired, too. Maybe I have CFS!"?

    Still, don't Houses's lines reveal his attitude--and I would say the writers' as well-- of complete disbelief in and mockery of the reality of our illnesses?

    I'm definitely going to post my opinion (with sugar) on the FOX site. A show in which House has to deal with someone completely disabled with CFIDS/ME or Fibromyalgia would be interesting, indeed.

  18. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I'm late coming into this and didn't see the show but I agree that contact with FOX is in order. In fact, I vote for Kholmes to write one letter on behalf of the message board. I think, Kholmes, you will present our feelings and opinions with worthy dignity whereas I'm so mad I could spit! I think one well-written letter (representing all of us, we can get a count) would be more effective than 100 rants.

    You willing?


    And honora, dear girl, I feel your frustration. I would ask that you question if you'd spend as much energy to defend your age to this "friend". This illness is just as much a part of you as that is right now. I hate to see you disrespect yourself - while I very much do understand the process. Some people just make us want to be other than we are.

    Hugs to all who need them,
    And I still can't type today. Any other goofs are staying.[This Message was Edited on 06/12/2006]
  19. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    We talked about this when that episode first came on the air. There was information posted at that time on how to contact Fox. I got riled up until I actually saw the episode.

    I've watched it twice and I did not take offense once I'd seen it. I didn't feel House was making light of FM, he was ridiculing the man who had self diagnosed. Self diagnoses is a dangerous, and unfortunately, prevelant, practice.

    This patient had obviously been "symptom shopping". This has become a growing problem for doctors. The advertising of medications is causing a lot of this.

    You might also notice that Dr. House is addicted to Vicadon. He dropped those pills in his pocket for his own use. His addiction has been a side story on the show from the beginning.

    House is my favorite show. I even watch the reruns on other networks.

  20. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    I agree with Fight4aCure that a courteous, tactful letter or e-mail is the most effective approach. Sometimes, they can be quite effective.

    I've had some luck recently in getting FOX to reconsider their policy of running VNRs during the local news. VNRs--Video News Releases--are actually paid ads that many local news channels run during the evening news.

    If you see a "news story" during tax time, for example, which doesn't feature your usual anchorpersons or reporters and which prominently shows H&R block, you can bet that the story is really an advertisement paid for by the tax preparation company. Pharmaceutical companies run these on your local newscast, as does our federal government. FOX is the only network guilty of running these on local news during the evening here in Albuquerque. Most viewers have no idea that VNRs are paid advertisements, not news.

    I actually think the show, HOUSE, is otherwise very well done.

    In any case, I didn't want to get anyone too angry or stressed out; we certainly don't need more stress!


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