For this week’s activity assignment, I decided to watch the True Life episode called “I Have Diabetes”. During the initial part of the video it was mentioned just how many people in the United States have this condition, but many people are not very aware of the types or the issues associated with it.
Considering the narrative types as listed in the week’s lecture (restitution, chaos, and quest). I would say that the three individuals filmed in the show would fit best into partially all of the categories to some extent. For example, with the restitution narrative there is a feeling that with the condition there might be a possibility that the condition can be “cured” or at least get better. Living with diabetes is no easy task, but people who have diabetes can still manage and improve their condition even if no “cure” is in sight. Health can be restored to manageable levels and the person can have much of a normal life. In general the people in the video telling their stories had periods of optimism about their condition and hopes for improvement.
The chaos narrative was evident in the episode with the three individuals, because at times the stress and hard work needed to maintain the blood sugar levels was just simply too much to handle. At those times this chronic condition leaves little hope for improvement and causes isolation. For example, one woman, Kaitlyn, was explaining the condition to her friend and said that it was basically a part of her life from now on and its just part of survival.
I would also say that the people in the film who have diabetes tell about their condition and shows the quest narrative. Having diabetes is rough and is a huge responsibility to manage, in a sense each day is a battle and every day passed is another victory. Each day is another goal, something else to look forward to.
There were three people in the video who had the condition, two females (one pregnant) and one male. The male had an interesting take on his life and took huge risks and didn’t want diabetes to control his life because he wanted to have the “college experience”. Granted he was only 19, he was a heavy drinker and pushed his limits four or five times per week. He was determined not to let diabetes get in his way.
The pregnant woman was concerned about her condition because of her baby’s health, but seemingly did little to manage her diabetes. At first she was on medication, but because of her lack of responsible eating habits, she needed to start taking insulin shots. Her blood sugar levels would not decrease and the baby was becoming rather large in the womb. The doctors felt that it would have been best to induce labor two weeks early to avoid a C-section.
The last woman (25 yrs old) needed to move back home to live with her parents because of the large amount of debt accumulating due to her medical bills. She worked two full time jobs just to make small dents in her $12,000 + medical expenses. She was rather stressed out and worked hard, but just had it rough. She voiced this by telling how difficult working 80 hours or more a weeks is, not being able to see her friends as often as she would like to, and pile of debt constantly hanging over her head.
Our own culture does not give enough attention to diabetic problems. So many people have diabetes, but many people are not familiar with the condition. While the role our genes play is very impactful, I believe that many of our medical problems come from our eating habits. The constant struggle the three individuals seemed to have was eating healthy. I’m sorry, but eating the “chicken burrito” at Taco Bell is still not a healthy alternative as one woman professed in the episode. I don’t think people quite understand how serious living with diabetes can be. People can die from high levels of blood sugar and I don’t think our culture emphasizes this at all. The diabetes education is just not there. The man in the video was not totally aware of some of the consequences or what to do in an emergency situation and other people just tried to get him to drink more with no concern for his health, but then again it’s not like he had much concern for his own health either.
The medical professionals in the episode did their parts to inform their patients of the consequences and solutions to managing their condition. It seemed like the male simply brushed off the medical advice given to him as if he knew better than the doctor and the pregnant woman simply wouldn’t listen, which was evident based on her actions (she wouldn’t stop eating fast food).
The narratives given from these people who have diabetes are valuable because it allows other people (doctors and people without the condition) to understand the problem from a individual and cultural aspect. The narratives given from the person to family might be different from the narrative given to the doctor, but all together can tell the whole story of the persons illness. One example of a personal narrative from this week’s material is the one by the woman who has fibromyalgia and all the perceptions and difficulties of having such a condition. When trying to get people to understand just how much of a serious condition it is, she starts off by saying, “You wanna know what FMS is really like? Step into my twisted world for a moment and allow me to explain”. Just by using the word “twisted” to describe her situation gives you some clue as how she views her own condition.
The personal narrative was very helpful to get me to understand just a fraction of what it would be like to have fibromyalgia, and in some sense I feel like that condition is similar to diabetes as I was describing earlier. Many people are not all to familiar with either of the medical conditions. The narratives help to paint the picture of the individual and how they view their own condition as well as enlighten the reader or listener.
MTV. “True Life- I Have Diabetes.” Accessed July 25, 2013. http://www.mtv.com/videos/true-life-i-have-diabetes/1677596/playlist.jhtml
toydiva65, March 16, 2010, “Fibromyalgia+ The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!”, http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full.