Episode 2 dealt with autism head on and I can’t say…that I’m totally pleased with how it was handled. But when has television ever handled a subject like medicine or law with perfect accuracy?
Again, I want to put out there that I am NOT an expert. I am merely experienced and relying on my experience, my studies and reading, and my sister’s expertise.
I’m going to go through the episode and I’m going to comment and tell you stories about my experiences.
Before I do that, a few issues. Lil’ Raine and I had a chat (she STILL hasn’t watched, RAWR) and I wanted to address a few things. People with Autism usually lack spatial awareness, so I was surprised to see last episode that it is one of Si-on’s strengths. I’m going to explain it as this: he has good fine motor skills for things like drawing and surgery, but his gross motor skills (like his awkward walk) are still clumsy.
Here are VERY simplified definitions:
Fine motor skills: precise movements (Ex: writing)
Gross motor skills: bigger movements (Ex: walking)
His savantism probably hones in on memory (of course) and things like seeing patterns and visually oriented intelligence.
Also, people with autism.don’t have a concept of time, so I find it strange that Si-on is punctual. I notice he wears a watch, so perhaps that is how he manages that. But more than likely, he is compulsive about checking the time.
Next, the episode suggested that they might try to “cure” Si-on of his autism. Which made me “WTF?!” out loud. Let’s liken autism (a social disorder) to dyslexia (a learning disorder). A person learns to cope with dyslexia throughout life. So, a child with dyslexia can go to a therapist to learn how to read and one thing a therapist may do is help the child recognize the phonemes (small units of sounds in words) as a way to recognize the word as a whole.
We have to do the same with person with autism. It’s a persistent, lifelong disability. The brain functions differently than a typical brain. So we need to teach them how to deal with certain social situations. There was a point in the drama when Yoon-seo sent Si-on out on an errand in a neighborhood he was unfamiliar with and did not give him clear directions. Realistically, he would’ve gotten lost! In that case, she should’ve written down clear directions and found him a map. He is always reciting how to get to places because he’s been taught to do that. The only reason he would’ve been taught is because he is NOT good with directions. But if Si-on knows to look up directions or ask for clear cut directions, he can overcome the disability in that area.
Okay, onto the review in chronological order!
After the nekkid debacle, Yoon-seo gets her first taste of Si-on and DOESN’T REALIZE HE HAS AUTISM. How does a doctor, who has supposedly done her studies and her rotations, not have any knowledge of autistic behavior? He ignores her talking because he’s too focused on getting to work and makes skittish eye contact. What is good about her though, is she doesn’t treat him differently. She treats him normally.
He goes to work and the other residents talk about him like he’s not there. He can HEAR you. Advice, don’t talk about someone like they’re not there. Autism or not, ears work and people have feelings.
When Si-on notices a sick boy (who draws butterflies) is doing badly and brings up the situation to cranky Do-han, he gets yelled at. Okay, getting yelled at sucks, but for a person with autism, the aural input is absolutely overwhelming. (The big plot point in this scene was that there is a jerky surgeon, Dr. Go, who got his position via nepotism and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his patients. He is playing golf while the kid is suffering and dying. Yes, he gets caught. No, he does not get in trouble. They use Si-on against Woo-seok to get him off the hook.)
Si-on goes back to help the patient and ignores all protocol to help the hurting kid. He cares AND he can’t discern the proper way to handle things. He just sees what’s in front of him. I think that Woo-seok needs to teach him how to handle the stress of an ill child, step by step. And how protocol works. Autism needs STEPS and explanations and rationality.
Instead we get what I feared, Si-on rushing the child into surgery without any clearance or help. He is stopped by Do-han and the team who are about to start another surgery. Do-han yells and the stress gets to Si-on whose mannerisms start to manifest: extreme fidgeting, some stuttering, shuffling. He has no way to re-direct the energy. He just knows what needs to be done and that someone is yelling and preventing him from doing what he knows is right. This is what I worried about. He needs guidance. A guardian would be good, at least to start with. An aide.
One of the board watches the whole process evilly. He’s come to “save” the hospital and is in cahoots with Do-han’s girlfriend (the second female lead) Yoo Chae-kyung played by my beloved Kim Min-seo. I love her, I hate that the politics have begun….
Do-han yells at then punches Si-on after the surgery and Si-on laughs, a strange reaction. The laughter means he is NERVOUS AS HELL, which Woo-seok explains to Do-han who later explains to Yoon-seo.
Why in the world would a doctor need to explain to another doctor that a person with autism has situationally inappropriate reactions under stress? That’s BASIC. The show should’ve had a situation like…a child with autism just admitted into the ward and the nurse explaining him to the other children.
After getting punched, kindly Yoon-seo (really like Moon Chae-won as this character) cleans him up and tries to make him understand what he did wrong. The problem is, she explains the teams reactions rather than saying EXACTLY what he did wrong and WHY is was wrong. He needs concrete. Then he needs further instructions: Do not do this again. This is what you should do instead.
Then, my favorite character with Si-on, Nurse Jo who helped him out, teaches Si-on how to fist bump. At first Si-on thinks he’s trying to play rock/paper/scissors…so funny! If only everyone would handle Si-on with the patience of Nurse Jo. And again, I will say this. The care needed in interacting with a person with autism is one we should give to every relationship. It’s just more severe with someone who doesn’t really get social situations.
At one point, Yoon-seo brings Si-on food, but he won’t eat it. I’m wondering if he has food issues. A lot of people with autism do. They are very sensitive to textures in food and often only eat very specific things. Si-on has a few foods like that. GOOD SHOW! He also likes meat…just like me. I likes him. Anywho, Yoon-seo tries to feed him food, but he won’t accpet it and clamps his mouth shut.
This reminds me of a kid I worked with. He was around 10, couldn’t really speak, and hated the texture of meat. He adored carbs like Cheerios and chips. I worked with an occupational therapist and him and I gradually, over the course of a year, got him to eat one bite of lunch meat! It was so rewarding. But anyway, that story was just to say that kids (people) with autism have severe food aversions sometimes.
Some more political stuff with the head of another department happens. His name is Dr. Kim, in case I use it later on. Basically, he doesn’t like that Yoon-seo tried to take one of his patients who was really young and he’s pitching a fit.
Do-han meets with Yoon-seo who tries to defend Si-on and Do-han, the fucking idiot, calls Si-on a robot. He’s not a robot, he has no affectation! There’s a difference. Yoon-seo tries to point that out. Then Do-han explains autism to her. The ONLY reason I like this is that it educates viewers who don’t know much about autism: Si-on speaks with a high voice, he fidgets. He shouldn’t be teaching another doctor about it though. And he says it’s an “early manifestation of autism.” What? That IS a manifestation of autistic behavior. Yoon-seo says that Si-on just isn’t cured yet.
RAWR! No! He hasn’t been shown how to deal with situations. Autism is not something to be cured. It is something to be learned to deal with in society.
Anyway, Do-han also has issues with the fact that Si-on gets obsessed with helping and he thinks it’s because Si-on was told to do that and completely disregards the fact that Si-on cares. Do-han is right that the obsessive focus on a patient is not good. But his reasoning is so off.
After work, Yoon-seo walks Si-on home. He’s been taken off call for his mistake, which is not good. Yoon-seo tries to tease him to make him cheer up and notices that his eyelashes flutter when she calls him a pervert for staring at him. He admits he stared at her face because it’s pretty. But he’s not flattering her as she thinks; he’s stating what he believes to be a fact. Nonetheless, it’s still cute as hell.
I wrote this on Dramabeans, but Si-on can love and feel love just like anyone else. It’s just a little hard for him to be in a relationship. So I wanna see how this pans how and how realistic it is.
She takes him shopping for groceries as a gesture of friendship and forgets something so she sends him to get it. I flipped out thinking he’d get lost, but he didn’t. A little unrealistic, but whatevs. He comes back and she’s cleaned up and accidentally thrown out his scalpel, the gift from his brother. He digs through the trash and is angry, so he tells her not to come back or help him anymore. Yup, it’s childish, but that’s how he is. (Did ya notice how he didn’t even consider cleaning up the mess he made while looking through the garbage? Yeah, lack of awareness.) Also, the next day when she tries to make up with him, he ignores her. Hehe, that WAS on purpose and his way of being mad.
To comfort himself to sleep, he imagines his hyung patting him and remembers hyung tickling him. SO CUTE.
This reminds me of another time, same kid as I talked about before. He would put his arms up and ask his older sister for “tickles”. It was the cutest thing. This scene reminded of them.
What isn’t cute about Si-on going to sleep alone is that he’s alone! He is so ridiculously lonely. Just because he can’t express the desire to be with people doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be with them. He needs to be living with someone who cares for him.
The end of the episode deals with Do-han being angry about Woo-seok letting Dr. Go get away with golfing instead of caring for patients and Si-oh overhearing Dr. Kim (from another department) telling two parents that their baby is probably going to die. Put Do-han’s promise to his beloved mentor Woo-seok about taking care of Si-on together with the board’s intentions to fire Woo-seok and Do-han has a dilemma. He doesn’t like Si-on, but has more than enough reason to protect him.
So when Dr. Kim storms into the pediatrics office in a fury over his baby patient being stolen, I think we know who stole the patient. It wasn’t Yoon-seo this time. Si-on’s shifty eyes tell us everything…
And there you have it, my sort of, kind of recap with lots of information in it and a lot of ranting. My big hope: don’t try to cure autism. Learn to live with it and appreciate what it has to offer. It’s a different world view. It’s why people make fun of autism rather than try to understand it and embrace it.
I’m hoping that interacting and learning to understand and becoming friends with Si-on will bring some humanity to the people around him; especially Do-han. I also want Yoon-seo to learn to care for him as a person and also realizes he does need the guidance she gives him. I just don’t want it to be ALL about the guidance. I want them to see that he is like them: human. I want his humanity to win out. Si-on thanked the boy he saved. He cares. He has a heart. It’s just not visible, like the sun in the night sky.
Reviews: 1, 2