“I Have Diabetes”

The episode of True Life that I chose to summarize was “I Have Diabetes”. This episode shows the lives of three young people who suffer from diabetes. Their names are Kristyn, Matt, and Jen. The type of narrative used with the medical condition of diabetes was a mix of the chaos narrative and the quest narrative. Since diabetes is a chronic life long condition, it is very hard for the three people to change their lifestyles in order to stay alive. This is where the chaos narrative comes in to play. Kristyn is in a lot of debt because of medical expenses that her insurance doesn’t cover and she is forced to move back in with her parents. Jen is five months pregnant and has to fight constant cravings for sweets and fast food. Matt loves to drink alcohol and because of diabetes he needs to cut back and stop. This leads to social suffering in all three cases. 

It is also a quest narrative for the three of them because it is an opportunity for them to improve themselves and their lifestyle. Kristyn is getting a new insulin pump and will have to put the cost of that on her credit card which means she will have to live at home for longer than what she planned on. Jen’s fiancee helps cook dinner for her so that she stops eating fast food and starts eating healthier. Matt’s friends keep an eye out for him when he is drinking and knows how to check his blood sugar.

The use of culture in this episode revolves around Western culture and its views on their lifestyles such as diet and partying. All three of the people struggle to either eat right or control their partying habits. All three of them go for check ups and communicate with their doctors about their lifestyle and eating habits. Although they knew they had diabetes, all three of them had a time where they would not play their sick role. Jen would still eat fast food, Kristyn would work 80 hours a week when she should be resting, and Matt still drank alcohol even though tit cased him to have seizures. Illness narratives are useful for the patient to communicate to their doctors about the type of pain they experience and what type of outlook they have with their disease. 

Karim, Taz. “Week 4: Lecture 1.” ANP 204 Introduction to Medical Anthropology Summer 2014 Week 4 Lecture 1 Comments. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-1/ (accessed July 26, 2014).

Karim, Taz. “Week 4: Lecture 2.” ANP 204 Introduction to Medical Anthropology Summer 2014 Week 4 Lecture 2 Comments. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-2/ (accessed July 26, 2014).

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