“Good Doctor” Reactions

I am going to put “The Good Doctor” to the test. How stereotypical is it? How real is it? Also, does Freddie Highmore try to create a nuanced autistic man, or does he simply put on the Autism Costume? 

That is what I intend to find out. 

10:00 – A simple routine. Good start.  

10:01 – Mess the hair up. OK. 

10:02 – What’s with the line on the ground? 

10:02 – Saved from the bullies…and we have PTSD. 

10:03 – San Jose Airport: Noisy as can be. 

10:04 – Loud crash. Boy is hurt. 

10:04 – Correcting a doctor. OOOH. 

10:05 – “Not Rain Man. High-functioning. Capable of handling his affairs.” Enough with the labels, doc! 

10:06 – Tamlyn Tomita? She looks great! 

10:07 – Savant Syndrome? OK. I can see that. 

10:08 – Another doctor or two. Good. 

10:10 – Sherlock called – he wants his Mind Palace back. *Visualizations* 

10:11 – Trying to communicate his medical emergency….grabs the knife. The boy’s mother finally communicates his intention. 

10:12 – The doctors are arguing. Trying to give consent. 

10:13 – Another doctor. 

10:14 – Alcohol, tubing, gloves. More visualizing. Incision, tubing in, boy is saved! 

10:15 – Boy saved! 

*Commercial Break* 

I promise I am watching. My rapid-fire reactions are part of my style. 

*Back to Show* 

10:18 – Phone call from hiring manager (?). Trustee and hiring manager debate. 

10:19 – Another flashback. Father is not understanding. Abuse. Pet rabbit dead.  

10:20 – A glitch seen. Listen, OK? 

10:21 – Surgery on man. Pustule exploded.  

10:22 – Echocardiogram pushing, no one listens, tries to rush the ER. 

*Commercial Break* 

10:27 – Going through the hospital. Relax, it’s a revolving door. 

10:28 – Rain. More about the dead rabbit. Looks like a meltdown.  

10:29 – Talking about a surgeon’s needs. “No qualified others without autism.” Comparisons of discrimination. “How will the patients react?”  

10:31 – Sean (the doctor) is described as “the weird guy.” Sean found. Medical jargon. Recommended test found nothing.  

*Commercial Break* 

10:37 – “Sean.” Watching an echocardiogram. Subtle defect. Piece of glass described as hypothesis toward problem.  

10:39 – Youtube video saves the boy’s job, maybe? 

10:40 – Trustee finally sees Sean at work.  

10:40 – Flashback: Sean and his brother on an abandoned bus. A present? A toy knife seen in the episode beginning.  

10:42 – The toy scalpel is revealed. So is the mentioned piece of glass. 

*Commercial Break*  

I find the “symptoms” there. I am also finding a more nuanced character, though I might be wrong. I need to consult with other autistic colleagues. 

10:46 – Finally, meeting with the hirer. Now he can show up for the interview.  

10:47 – The boy is being discussed. Still trying to convince the board he’s capable. “Letting things get personal…?”  

10:48 – Doctor is trying to make conversation with Sean, Sean’s not doing that well. Call-out on the doctor. OUCH. 

10:49 – Well, “I would love to make you happy, but…” Boy, does this doctor hate him.  

10:50 – FINALLY, Sean can speak.  

10:51 – Flashback. Oh, boy. Children on top of a train. Brother falls! No movement.  

10:53 – Struggling to speak and communicate well. Finally hitting his stride near the end. Ms. Tomita’s character welcomes him in. 

10:55 – The doctor is dressed and scrubbed. Gloved. Safety spectacled.  

10:56 – Flashback. “You can do anything.” Begin the operation.  

10:57 – Giving mad props. Now an arrogance callout. He wonders if it works, in so many words.  

10:58 – The Season Preview.  

*Show Over* 

All in all, I liked the show. The portrayal of autism is getting there. Obviously, it’s not there yet, but it’s getting there. I understand that this is somewhat of a checklist of sorts, being the introduction of the character, but it seems to be nuanced. I’m getting a second opinion, in case this is inaccurate.  

A Little Smartphone Frustration

Sometimes, the smartphone can be really dumb. Here is a recent series of actions I did to attempt to get mine to work properly. 

  1. Turn on phone.
  2. Wait for home screen to show up. 
  3. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  4. See Turn OFF screen come up due to previous action. 
  5. Press around said screen to make it disappear.
  6. Enter PIN.
  7. Wait for screen to come up. 
  8. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  9. Open app I want to use. 
  10. Wait for app to come up. 
  11. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  12. Learn app is not responding. 
  13. Turn off app. 
  14. Turn off phone. 
  15. Turn on phone again. 
  16. Learn phone is not responding. 
  17. Turn off phone. 
  18. Take the battery out. 
  19. Place battery back in. 
  20. Turn phone on again. 
  21. Wait for open screen to come up. 
  22. Enter PIN. 
  23. Wait for home screen to come on. 
  24. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  25. Open app I want to use. 
  26. Learn it was a different app. 
  27. Turn to screen where I can close off other app(s).
  28. Close other apps. 
  29. Learn chosen app is not working. 
  30. Slam phone against my hand out of frustration, fearing I’ve broken it. 
  31. Learn app is finally working.  
  32. Use app. 

During all this, I am helping my mother grocery shop for some basic things we need. This involves taking a motorized scooter out a car and assembling it. It also involves going into the store. I could have had a meltdown, but something inside me kept me calm throughout the ordeal. Maybe it was the fact that I was in public and could be photographed by one of those “People of Walmart” photo jerks. But, somehow, it finally worked. If only I could have avoided this frustration.  

The Autism Costume 

I have been trying to find realistic portrayals of autistic women on television and in movies. Trouble is, I can’t seem to find them. This troubles me. All of the portrayals I have come across have been, to a certain extent, somewhat stereotyped and basically somewhat some neurotypical’s experience of what “autism” is supposed to look like. It’s as if they are putting on the Autism Costume, a stereotypical portrayal of what somebody else thinks autism looks like. 

How do I explain the Autism Costume? Well, basically, the Autism Costume was initially set by Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of autistic individual in “Rain Man.” Ever since, the Autism Costume has been, more or less, dominated by this portrayal. There’s hand-flapping. There’s no eye contact. There’s repetitive behavior. There’s fixations, and they’re always portrayed as near-psychotic. There’s bad fashion, dominated by comfort and sameness. Plus, there’s meltdowns. There’s always meltdowns. And the meltdowns are usually violent or injurious.  

Let’s see how I myself fit into this Autism Costume. Hand-flapping? Nope, I don’t do that. Lack of eye contact? Well, I can look into people’s eyes just fine. I taught myself. Fixations? I call them special interests, and can talk about more than just them. And I have no indications toward psychosis. Repetitive behavior? I do have some repetitive things, like generally the same breakfast, but I can vary my routing when I want or need to. Comfort and sameness-dominated fashion? Nah. I have a larger amount of wardrobe colors than my mother! Meltdowns? Well, I had a minor meltdown during the Charlottesville tragedy, but before that, my last meltdown and shutdown was in 2006. Violent meltdowns? Nope.  

So, as you can see, the Autism Costume can be a very inaccurate thing. I mean, I have a fear that I am “not autistic enough” to be believed, because I do not fit into the Autism Costume. As a matter of fact, our local autistic group has just about nobody who fits into the Autism Costume. 

What can we do to destroy the Autism Costume? First, we can believe people when they tell you they have autism. “But you don’t look autistic” is a common reaction, because the person reporting the diagnosis usually does not fit into the Autism Costume.  

Second, we could learn more about autism, from actual autistics. We could get more nuanced portrayals, of we could get more information about autism from people who actually experience it. Again, if you were a bird and needed to learn flying, would you better learn it from an ornithologist or an actual bird? The same thinking can be applied to autistic people. If autistic people were allowed to live and be autistic, maybe we could get some more realistic portrayals of autism in society doing this or that? I’m just saying.

Now, I’m not saying autistic people do not have Costume behaviors. But if the Costume behaviors are all you see, how can you see the people who do not fit the costume?  


Opioid Crisis

Good day, readers. I am back from writer’s block. I have decided to speak about an issue that has affected my family in a big way:  

There is an urban legend which states that bars give you a free alcoholic drink if you trade in your 30-day sobriety chip. While not proven to be true, I doubt you will find a bar that will admit to this. It is a pervasive idea that moral failings are the cause of addictive behavior. While choosing to try the first time is a choice, choice diminishes in subsequent drinking. The same is true for our nation’s current opioid crisis.  

Kentucky is among states who are suing pharmaceutical companies for causing the current opioid crisis. What is the opioid crisis, you ask? Simple. Millions of people are overdosing on opioids. They are addicted. They are overtaxing the criminal justice system. They are overtaxing medical hospitals. And they are overtaxing families, including mine.                                         

The opioid epidemic is not just some abstract out there for me. I have at least three known relatives addicted to the stuff. I’m not going to name them, because that is not the point. The point is, I know personally what an addiction is. It is wrong to say that addictions are rational. It is wrong to say addictions are reasonable. Addictions break all rules and regulations for that one thing which produces the high. As many of you know, and the medical community can attest, pregnancy’s fact that a child might be born in pain does not stop the mother. Many children are now born addicted to opioids and other drugs. They go through withdrawal as newborns, including the pain. I don’t personally know a person who this has happened to, but I know many out there do.  

There is a reason the urban legend of the bar that offers a free drink for a 30-day sobriety chip persists. Many people believe businesses which give rise to addictions are perceived to be unscrupulous, including drug companies. There is a conspiracy theory out there that states drug companies keep people addicted to opioids to turn them into addicts, aka “good customers.” As a matter of fact, there are states banking on this new “sobriety chip drink.” Did the pharmaceutical companies leave addiction warnings off the table, as it once did for heroin? (Heroin was once an ingredient for medicines in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.)  

For now, it is up to ourselves to watch our own bodies and addictions. For instance, my mother avoids using opioids when she is in too much pain. She has chronic pain, but prefers things that are not opioid forms of treatment. She is also not blind to the horrors of addiction and what it has caused our family.  

I’m not lecturing to feel smug in the least, because I know it could happen to me, too. I am speaking in hopes of preventing another soul from becoming addicted to opioids, and possibly other drugs, too. (That has also happened in my family.) I am speaking in hopes of preventing another newborn baby from going through painful, uncomfortable withdrawal. I am speaking in hopes of keeping another family intact. I am speaking in hopes of saving lives. For when you become addicted, you lost your ability to just say no.