Not a lot of things bother me about being diabetic.
What I mean by this statement is that when it comes to the actual disease itself I know what I need to do to survive, I have to check my glucose levels, and take insulin injections, and be mindful of this and a little bit of that. Cool. What does bother me, call them pet peeves if you will, is the lack of knowledge people have when it comes to diabetes and also how it is portrayed in the media.
These two topics are not all that different, in fact, I think, go hand in hand with one another.
Please allow me to elaborate..
I’m sure I have beaten the drum hard enough, when it comes to letting the world know, I am a diabetic. Since this happens to be a sort of “invisible” disease I feel as though people can forget what is really going on with a person/in their bodies. So when I am chugging water to treat a high blood sugar and people ask, “What’s the matter with her?” in a snotty voice.. I sort of want to scream. I guess I should bust out my I’m a diabetic t-shirt more often so people aren’t so confused when I am having to inject insulin in public. :) (No, I do not actually have a shirt like this, but I might have to invest in one!) The point is that the silly questions and rude comments/jokes can get under my skin a little bit. Has no one been taught any tact in the last 15 years? It’s absurd. I understand asking about things for knowledge sake, I am in no way putting that down, but if you are trying to be frustrating and sort of offensive, just because, then THAT is where I have an issue with you. Please stop being offensive when it comes to this very real disease.
Which brings me to my second pet peeve, you can find all sorts of information on the wonderful inter-webs, so why are diabetics portrayed in such a weird way. Let me give you two examples that stand out for me, and please let me know if there are others out there, Con-air and Steel Magnolias. I’ve watched these two movies just about a million times, before I was ever diagnosed, and of course after. Each time I questioned how accurate these dramatic diabetic scenarios were. I mean they seemed logical enough, and prior to being diagnosed what did I really know, not that much. So I decided to do my research. In Con-air, which is about a newly released ex-con, former U.S ranger, finding himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control. Aboard this plane is also the main characters friend who is a type one diabetic. Through out the films action packed fight scenes, and what not, the main character, played by Nicolas Cage, has to find a syringe so that he can inject his friend with insulin because said companion has missed an injection and is suffering a LOW blood sugar attack. The symptoms include shakiness, sweating, and becoming incoherent. All reflections of a low. Don’t believe me, check out these links on what symptoms go with High and Low blood sugar levels. So Con-air you are wrong, wrong, wrong! You would not be treating this characters low with insulin. You would be feeding him or giving him juice. Not that they got it solely from the movie, but I get all the time, “Oh you’re sugar is low, quick get some insulin!” No, that would make the problem worse and the last thing I need is someone trying to inject me in my weakened state with insulin. More reason to educate yourself, you could hurt someone, in any situation, if you do not know what you are doing.
Moving on, my problem with the movie Steel magnolias, I’ll save you the synopsis because I believe it is safe to assume most people have seen this film, is..you guessed it, the portrayal of the main character and the dealings with diabetes. We are not weak people! We are strong, we have to be. So when they make her, Shelby (played by Julia Roberts), seem like such a pathetic sickly person who is destined to die after having a baby she shouldn’t have had, for health reasons, I get a little annoyed. Lots of diabetic women have wonderfully healthy babies and are not dead soon after.. I am an example. I am not saying that it wasn’t a scary experience but I am saying that is not impossible. The film gives people the idea that we, as diabetics, are these fragile human beings who shouldn’t move, breath or dare have children. Frustrating. I will say that overall I do love this movie but the depiction of this diabetic woman leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Now I am no film expert I am simply writing about what bothered me, personally, with these two films in general. What I would love to see is a film about a diabetic who overcomes the battles. Strong willed, independent and not afraid to take on the world! So far all I have seen is misleading portrayals and rude/harsh jokes. It’s saddening.
…end rant. :)