Illness narratives are a way for patients with certain illnesses to manage their disease and how it effects their daily life. An illness narrative can help the patient cope with social stigmas related to the illness or even to learn to deal with treatments better. Sharing an illness narrative with other patients can help patients to understand that they are not alone in their illness and that there are ways to live with the illness. Illness narratives can also help family and friends to understand an illness and can help healthcare providers to better understand how treatments are affecting the patient.
The episode of True Life: I Have Diabetes follows the life of three individuals living with diabetes. The episode follows their quest narrative to live a better life with diabetes. However “better” means something different to each patient with diabetes. One patient is a 19 year old college student who wants to “live the college life” and be able to drink alcohol on a regular basis. Another is a 19 year old pregnant girl struggling to learn how to deal with being diabetic and pregnant at the same time. She wants to live a better life in order to have a healthy baby but is struggling to watch her nutritional intake. The third is a 25 year old girl who is struggling with the financial aspect of diabetes. In order to improve her life she needed to be able to purchase a new insulin pump of which her insurance would only cover half leaving her to pay about $2100 out of pocket. In order to deal with this financial burden she moved back in with her parents to save money. All three patients were following the quest narrative by wanting to improve their their health for one reason or another. This desire to have better health is why I believe this is a quest narrative.