True Life: I Have Diabetes

This episode is basically the story of three younger people who have diabetes. One is forced to move back in with her mother when her medical bills pile up, another is having troubles adjusting to college life and drinking with diabetes, and the third is diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy. What ends up happening, is that the first has to work long hours to ensure that she is able to pay her bills, and conflicts with her mother before finally becoming financially stable. The college student must balance his drinking with his illness, and although he becomes sick on occasion from drinking, he continues to do so, while monitoring his blood sugar. The pregnant woman has complications in birth due to her diabetes, which compels her to induce a forced labor to have her child early. All of these individuals have aspects of the three types of narratives, but they mainly fall in the restitution and chaos categories. They see diabetes as an affliction that they can never be cured of, but something that they can manage with careful monitoring. The first two are able to deal with their illnesses, and recover normalcy in their lives, making them fit into the restitution category, even though they can never fully recover. The third however, is show to be unable to deal with this illness and is brought back to the emergency room multiple times.

There is no real stigma attached to people with diabetes, due to it mainly being manageable and non-noticeable in everyday life. These people are expected to monitor their blood sugar, keep track of what they eat and to give themselves shots of insulin if necessary.  They all experience medical professionals in a similar manner. The doctors basically tell them how they are doing with their diabetes and what they could do better. While the illness narratives help these three people put their illness in perspective, it does not play the same type of role that narratives for alcoholics or cancer patients might play. Whereas these the alcoholics and cancer patients might form support groups as mentioned in the lectures, diabetes patients don’t see their illness to the same degree, they see it as more of an irritation and annoyance that could hurt them, rather than something directly against their health.

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