“I really, properly LOVE Doug Ross. I LOVE him. You don’t understand, I REALLY LOVE HIM.”
This, I fear, is where it all began.
The above is an extract from my teenage diary. Which, incidentally, makes for outstanding reading; littered as it is with angry rebuttals like the above: ‘You just don’t understand,’ or ‘you will never know’ or, simply, ‘Don’t even bother.’ I don’t know who I was talking to in those moments. God, perhaps? Unlikely. My sister? I always suspected that she was reading my diary. It turns out she wasn’t.
I digress; its irrelevant. Like most teenagers I was barking mad. I was talking to someone who clearly never understood.
The matter at hand here is my obsession with men of medicine, which has recently taken a turn for the worse. And this is where I trace it all back to: ER. Doctor Doug cocking Ross, who wandered into the Emergency Room at County General Hospital with an expression of kindness and inexplicable amusement and stole my heart. He was the precursor to a life-long obsession with men of medicine that only really ended when I met The Man, who, while coming from a long line of medics himself, is the sort of man who will cheerfully eat sausages that have been out of date for three weeks and who is as likely to sit in bed and recover from a serious bout of flu as he is to grow a pair of breasts. The Man is the antithesis of medical.
Ah, ER. Every Wednesday night I would be glued to Channel 4. It was a blissful escape from my painfully shite existence as a British teenager. (Painfully shite in my head, that is: ostensibly I had really quite a nice life.) It transported me off on a fluffy cloud, far away from the fact that Steven from the bus didn’t fancy me, or that I had acne, or that I had fuck-all idea why my friends had chosen not to talk to me today. It was everything, for a while. The pain of Mark and Susan STILL not being together, the certainty that if Doug Ross fell down dead I would at least still have Carter to love, the emotional unavailability of Dr Benton . . . Oh, I could reminisce forever.
As discussed, though, the thing (person) I really truly loved was Dr Ross. No role that George Clooney has ever played since has done it for me quite like Doug Ross did. I loved him, you see. He had beautiful eyes and he KNEW CLEVER SHIT and he MADE PEOPLE BETTER. I was a teenager. I wanted someone to make me better. He was the chosen one.
By the time I reached my twenties it was firmly established: I wanted a doctor. Nobody else would do. My friend Norm married a handsome doctor and as I watched them exchange tearful vows I made a vow of my own, which is that I would be next.
(I was not next.)
When I was twenty-four, I moved in with a girl who, I discovered, had the same love of doctors as I. I couldn’t believe my luck. She got it! We hatched plans to go and hang out in pubs near hospitals on Friday nights in the hopes of picking up handsome doctors.
They came to nothing. Either handsome doctors don’t go to pubs or, more probably, word had got out that two derranged tossers were across the road sipping gin with short skirts and manic glints in their eyes.
Then, very kindly, another of our housemates got some weird illness involving her feet and – RESULT! – was admitted to hospital for a few days. Obviously we were in there visiting at the earliest opportunity. In our nicest outfits. With good hair and stuff.
I’m not joking: four different hot male doctors dropped in while we were there. Can you imagine the state we were in? It was appalling. We were nuts. We were both red in the face. We made bad jokes. We got the giggles and ended up being so awful that our housemate threw us out and banned us from returning. We begged; she declined. We threatened to just turn up anyway and she discharged herself.
It was lamentable.
In my late twenties I tried internet dating, and I stated on my profile that I was interested only in men of medicine. I’m not joking. I don’t think any real doctor ever wrote to me. And those of you who’ve been reading this blog since it started in 2009 will know how the rest turned out.
Then I took off and moved to South America for two years and fell in love with The Man, who is a talented filmmaker and not in the least doctorly.
That, I thought, was the end of that. I made Charley, the heroine of A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger (my most recent novel), a bit of a doctor-stalker, as a sort of swansong for my now dormant obsession. A doff of the cap to my former self.
Then I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a few weeks ago and my life has been RUINED.
I started at series one, of course, and there he was. There were those cheeky eyes. That impressively sculpted hair. That – that bloody naughtiness. Has any man in the world ever been as naughty as Doctor Derek Shepherd? WHILE BEING AN AMAZING AND TALENTED BRAIN SURGEON? I can’t bear it. I actually cannot bear it.
I love him. I crave him. I need him. I want to go and smash my head up so that he can perform brain surgery on me and make me better again. I want him to smile at me as I lie in bed, all weak and feeble . . . I . . .
I am lost.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon at King’s College Hospital. I wasn’t overly concerned about my appointment, or what might be wrong with me. However I realised, as I sat scouring the waiting room, that I was on edge. And when I left the hospital I felt strangely sad and deflated. Why? I wondered. The specialist registrar I’d seen had not found anything of any interest at all; he merely took ten vials of blood (no kidding) and told me to come back in six months. All things considered, it was a result.
It was only as I left, and found myself doing a final scan of the building, that I realised what was going on. I WAS LOOKING FOR DOCTOR FUCKING SHEPHERD.
I’m trying to stop myself watching Grey’s Anatomy but I’m only on series two. (No spoilers please.) How can I stop now, knowing that there are perhaps 150 episodes of Derek Shepherd at my fingertips? The answer is, I can’t. I watched an episode over lunch today, as I often do (40-minute drama episodes are very useful for getting my head out of my novel) and do you know what he did? He carried on operating on someone’s brain even though there was an unexploded bomb in the operating theatre next door. When the bomb squad man told Derek to get out, Derek looked scornfully over his special surgery glasses and said, ‘Get out of my OR.’
I nearly choked on my chicken. It was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.
I am totally done for.
You remember how, at the beginning of this blog, I described my teenage self as ‘barking mad?’
The irony is not lost on me.