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How the 'House M.D.' Soundtrack Helps Me Cope with Medical Issues

Music is medicine.

By Anomie FatalePublished 6 years ago 6 min read

I have a lot of medical stress. A few months ago I had my first angiogram of the brain (after a neuro-vascular issue was discovered on an MRV scan). This test involved making an incision into the artery on my leg and feeding a tub with a tiny camera all the way up to my brain (while I was partially conscious). I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that causes easy tears and bleeding. I am at a higher risk of hemorrhage. Fortunately, I was only conscious enough that I don’t remember them asking me questions or anything during the test. I only remember waking up to the artery clamp malfunctioning, blood spewing out, and a dude crushing his full weight into my hip while people were shouting, “keep the pressure.” There was a ton of bruising afterwards and a weird mass formed. We thought it was a blood clot or slow bleed, but yay, just swelling.

Anyways, both before and after the test, my anxiety was up. I feel doomed almost everyday. My life is limited, but I still have appreciation for it. Listening to music with scented candles and the purple Christmas lights I have around my closet helps me deal with fear. Not all music is helpful though. Of all of my albums and playlists, I’ve concluded that the best for mortality and medical issue anxiety is the soundtrack to the show House M.D.

Obviously it’s because the songs were chosen to go along with those themes. It’s funny in a beautiful way that this fictional and unrealistic hospital show essentially created my ultimate “medical problems” playlist. More than just anxiety, some songs also help me deal with sadness and relationship struggles related to disability and diagnosed hopelessness.

Also funny the House M.D. episode with my secondary condition (Chiari malformation) “The Choice” is completely wrong. The guy is having syncope episodes and headaches and Dr. House lifts his head up with his hands. Suddenly the man feels instant relief. This happens with cranio-cervical instability, not so much Chiari. It is one of the main signs of EDS type Chiari (thus why I have my head fused at the position it was when 50lbs of weight against metal tongs in my skull was extracting it upwards which human hands cannot do). The guy has a decompression surgery (not cranio-cervical fusion that would treat that issue, decompressions rather are to relieve intracranial pressure), and is instantly all better. Chiari problems are life long. Even with treatment, surgery only offers some relief for the majority of patients. Some even get worse. Hollywood giving out the false idea it's completely curable is a problem because the facts about Chiari aren't even known by most doctors. I still loved the show though.

But anyways, MUSIC. I wanted to point out my top 10 favorite songs on the show soundtrack that help me deal with stuff:

1. Bird York: 'In the Deep'

I get so much peace of mind listening to this. The mental-images the music creates are tranquil and warm, like a hot bath in the dark of your head.

2. Peter Gabriel: 'My Body Is a Cage'

“My body is a cage that keeps me

from dancing with the one I love

but my mind holds the key

I'm standing on a stage

of fear and self-doubt

It's a hollow play

but they'll clap anyway”

It’s like Peter Gabriel must have seen me perform at some point. Because of quadriparesis and my fusion I have difficulty playing guitar and I can’t dance. So I do performance art/burlesque in-place. I dance with my words, my voice, and my mind. Fear and self-doubt are always there. People clap anyway, and it blocks those out a little. Sometimes it’s helpful to hear someone else singing out your dark thoughts and it sound pretty. I may do an act to this song someday, although I’ve been trying to focus on only performing to my own original music.

3. Michael Penn: 'Walter Reed'

This song was on my iPod and one of my favorites way before House M.D. ever came out. Back then no one knew about it. I found it on Limewire (yeah, I’m that old) because the artist has the same name as my former bandmate and close friend. Our music together and friendship is very complicated, but always a part of me and my soul. The song to me reflects a lot that story: fighting, disconnection, loneliness, and abandonment during the years of separation needed to heal. It’s also just super catchy. For an entirely green-screened music video, it’s not bad either.

4. Mazzy Star: 'Into Dust'

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as listening to:

“till your eyes shed into dust” with that singing voice. I really love the line:

“I could feel myself growing colder, I could feel myself under your fate.”

With my most recent relationship, that’s how I imagine it must have been for that person. Being with someone that has constant and chronic medical issues and an incurable prognosis you have to be “cold” to keep it together for them. You are stuck with their situation. This is also why I don’t think I should have serious romantic partnerships.

5. A Fine Frenzy: 'Hope for the Hopeless'

“Making the best of it

playing the hand you get

you’re not alone in this”

Things I need to remind myself daily.

6. Kygo: 'Here for You (ft. Ella Henderson)'

“When you feel you've had enough, and you wasted all your love

I'll be here for you, here for you.”

Cheesy-positive/happy/bouncy song with a great message about love and support. When I’m sad or really sick I tend to push friends and family away, so it’s good to have a song like this in the playlist to just get over myself.

7. Annie Lennox: 'Dark Road'

This is another song that I relate to my recent relationship/breakup.

"It's a dark road

And a dark way that leads to my house

And the word says you're never gonna find me there, oh no

I've got an open door

It didn't get there by itself

It didn't get there by itself

There's a feelin'

But you're not feelin' it at all

There's a meaning

But you're not listening anymore

I look at that open road

I'm gonna walk there by myself"

It’s impossible for others to completely understand what you’re going through, especially when a lot of the grief is trauma (both disability-related and not) that they were not present in your life for. It creates dissonance and confusion. It divides worlds and creates “open doors” in which things you want to hold onto just go out instead.

"I can't find the joy within in my soul

It's just sadness takin' hold

I wanna come in from the cold

And make myself renewed again (I wanna go livin' I wanna come renewed)

It takes strength to live this way (oohh)

The same old madness everyday (nooo)

I wanna kick these blues away (kick away now)

I wanna learn to live again"

Yup, I’m stuck in a doom-loop with trauma and there’s not a single lyric in this song that doesn’t perfectly describe that.

Also I’m in love with Annie Lennox.

8. Alexi Murdoch: 'Through The Dark'

All darkness theme songs. Gotta love ‘em. The vocals are very comforting, even if the words are

“Someone to hold you ‘neath the darkened sky

Someone to love you more than I.”

9. Radiohead: 'No Surprises'

If you don’t enjoy listening to this song, then I don’t enjoy you.

10. Massive Attack: 'Teardrop'

Of course I’m not going to leave out the theme song. I even did a burlesque act to this. True to the music video, I sang with an inflatable CPR baby strapped on my dress in a pink mesh “womb” I created around my rollator. I filled the baby with glitter and threw it into the audience during the act. I had to beg the guy that caught it to give it back.

At Tabu Lounge 6/6/17

"Love, love is a verb."—Massive Attack

So for those you out there constantly taking vacations to the hospital; looking forward to lots of medical mishaps and heartache. Dr. House is here to help!

Also all of Hugh Laurie’s songs are amazing.


About the Creator

Anomie Fatale

Musician. Mannequin. Medical Experiment.

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    Anomie FataleWritten by Anomie Fatale

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