Sunday, April 6, 2008

Diabetes+Hollywood=Bad Combination

I know you've heard about Halle Berry's confusion over her own diabetic diagnosis. And thinking about that led me to thinking about how basically everything in Hollywood is unreflective of real life. We all know that Hollywood tends to get a lot of technical details wrong in the movies. And I think it's true that people tend to be most upset at times when the movies get something wrong that we personally know about. Just ask my husband the meteorologist about the "weather facts" in Twister and watch the sparks fly.

So here are some of my thoughts on some of Hollywood's portrayals of diabetes:

1. I was watching reruns of One Tree Hill recently...(did I just admit that? Online? Where the whole world can see? Ouch.) ...And during the school-shooting episode, there's a girl who supposedly has diabetes. Within an hour, she goes from just fine to looking like death, and one of the main characters says, "Oh my gosh, you're diabetic. Where's your insulin?" to which she replies that it's in her locker...

I find this irritating because it seems like people always think that when a diabetic is feeling bad, they must need insulin. ESPECIALLY when there is an emergency that comes up quickly, like within an hour, it's usually LOW blood sugar, not high. Just to be clear, when I have low blood sugar, if you gave me an insulin shot, it would probably kill me.

But people always think they know how to treat diabetics. Do persons with other diseases get preached at the same way diabetics do? Like when I had a friend who chronically drank to get drunk who said that she saw me having a cocktail at dinner and was concerned about me, since everyone knows diabetics aren't supposed to have alcohol. Huh?

Or the famous stranger-in-the-restaurant or friend-of-a-friend who learns you're diabetic and then yells at you that YOU SHOULD NOT EAT THAT CAKE IT WILL KILL YOU NOW. These types of situations are tough. Which brings me to my next movie moment:

2. Steel Magnolias. I only saw this once, and I don't even remember if there are any blaring inaccuracies like treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with insulin, but I do know that this has struck fear into the hearts of everyone who saw it and who learned that I was pregnant in 2005. That just isn't good. I get that Hollywood isn't supposed to be realistic, really, but it sticks in people's minds because it's the only example of a diabetic pregnancy that they've ever heard of. And it's a bad one, not only because of how things turn out for, what was her name? Shelly? But because it is NOT something that is likely to happen, especially to someone in good control with NO complications...like me! But speaking of treating hypos...

3. Did you ever see Panic Room? This is a somewhat small detail in the movie but it strikes me as the most ridiculous diabetes error I can think of: The mom and daughter are stuck in the panic room in their house, burglars trying to get them or whatever, and the daughter is having a low...and they freak out because there isn't any food in the room...only ketchup. ONLY KETCHUP? OH NO! You know, if I ever had to be stuck in a room with only one edible substance during a hypo, BRING ON THE KETCHUP! That stuff has a super-high sugar content, which is exactly what is needed during a hypo...forget what you heard from that guy who told you I can't eat cake.

So yeah, I know these are only a couple examples, and I know Hollywood isn't necessarily supposed to reflect reality, but...come one! I could go on, but I'm aware of my tendency to be long-winded, so I'll spare you. Also? I'm still a bit tired, so I'm trying to go to bed soon. But I probably won't, because Iron Chef America is on tonight. Allez cuisine!

See you tomorrow~

6 comments:

Jimmie said...

I know it's hard to believe, but I have never seen Iron Chef America (and I'm a Food Network-addict!). I know, I need to...

Anyway, her name was Shelby, and I *love* that movie, though I can totally see how it could get annoying when people think it reflects real life. :-)

Susana la Banana said...

We *heart* Food Network too!

And you know, now that I think about it, it seems like we watched Steel Magnolias during your wedding weekend, although for some reason I don't remember actually *watching* it!

And everyone I know who's not a diabetic tends to love that movie...but it's not so much fun for me. It's too dark and depressing for a diabetic in her reproductive years, especially when I see women on internet baby and kid boards saying things like, "Hi, I'd like to have a baby, but I'm afraid I'm gonna die like what's-her-face on Steel Magnolias." And yes, I really have seen that comment before, and several others in the same vein.

Not the movie's fault and all, but still. Depressing. Ya know.

Elin said...

I find it enough to watch that movie once every ten years or so, but I do remember they treated a low with orange juce... Talk about Hollywood getting facts wrong... have you seen They Day After Tomorrow??? ...

Ana and Emery's Mama said...

This post is hilarious! I have no idea if it was intended to be so funny, but I was rolling. I love it!! You need to correct inaccuracies more, I find it riveting. I do love getting my diabetes education from someone with wit.

Can you think of any accurate accounts of diabetes on TV or in the movies? Just curious.

Miss you guys. Megan

Jimmie said...

Yeah, we were gonna watch it that weekend, but the power went out...I think we got about 10 minutes of the movie in, and that was it!

Donna said...

The first time we saw Steel Magnolias, I didn't know enough about the movie to know that Shelby had diabetes until she started having that low in the beauty shop. Then I knew what was happening before they even said it. Been there; done that. I think Julia Roberts' character needed an insulin pump in the worst way.

I made it through 2 pregnancies with diabetes & had healthy kids & I'm still doing okay 21 years later. I think Hollywood just likes to show the extreme of everything. Gets a little annoying, huh?

BTW - My family refuses to watch Steel Magnolias because of all the nightmares they had after seeing it that first time. Scared my kids to death! Thanks, Hollywood...