Diabetes in My Media

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It always seems that when it rains it pours (Morton Salt reference, anyone)? Pouring, lately: diabetes and insulin in print and on screen. For me, at least. In my little world.

You may know that I have diabetes — newsflash, duh! — and if I’m reading a book or magazine or watching television or listening to the radio or browsing the Web, a mention of the illness — my illness — means I perk up and pay close attention. And it’s happened quite a bit recently, the diabetes showing up.

See, I don’t overdose on diabetes news. Oh, sure, a person might think that because I write a weekly blog about diabetes that I’m reading every article on this site as well as fifteen other diabetes blogs, as well as the latest news on diabetes treatments and quests for cures. Except I don’t.

For the past week or two, however, my choices in books, television programs, news outlets, and other entertainment options seem to contain an inordinate amount of diabetes-related aspects of one type or another. Today, then, I’m going to share three, with just a few thoughts on each. Yeah, it’s a hodgepodge; it’s what happens when my own diabetes self-management is truckin’ along at a steady pace without anything major to write about.

• Kathryn and I have been spending some quality time in the evenings watching the second season of a Showtime series on DVD. “Nurse Jackie.” It’s a dark medical dramedy, and we’re highly entertained by it. This season one of our favorite nurses on the show, Thor, has issues with his diabetes, his blood glucose, that interferes with him successfully performing his job. We find out he has a fondness for sweets — loves cake — and that he has a prosthetic eye because he lost an eye due to complications from diabetes. It just so turns out (and I read this only yesterday) that Stephen Wallem, the actor who plays Thor, actually has diabetes. His sister urged him to include the diabetes in the storyline, and he was able to convince the writers to do so. It also turns out that Wallem really did lose an eye to complications from diabetes, and the prosthetic, I’d guess, wasn’t a prop.

• I’m about three quarters of the way through my second David Baldacci novel. His second novel, too, actually; I decided after reading Absolute Power on a recent trip that I’d read more Baldacci, in the order of publication. Which means I’m reading Total Control now. Despite the title, it’s not about diabetes and blood glucose issues. As I was reading late into the night a couple of evenings ago, though, a character turns up in an investigation, already dead, suicide (allegedly). Turns out cause of death was insulin overdose. The guy drank too much one night and injected the insulin into his thigh (a common place for diabetics to inject, says the author). Why he may have done so is integral to the plot… Maybe. He committed suicide because he also discovered he was HIV-positive. I’ll know in a few days… maybe (no one tell me the ending!).

• This morning while browsing the news on my phone, a New York Times article caught my eye. It bummed me out. Two-thirds of those of us with diabetes, “a disease with some of the strongest evidence-based guidelines available, continue to have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels.” I’m not going to editorialize on this; I just wanted to introduce the topic of this piece to anyone who might not have happened across it, and to suggest that after the article, you browse the comments. It’s an interesting discussion.

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