January 12, 2012

Why I Won’t Be Watching “Are You There, Chelsea?”

Last night, I decided I would check out the new show “Are you there, Chelsea?” It comes on right after “Whitney,” one of my new favorites. As I watched it, I was thinking that the humor was really dull and the subject matter not all that great either. However, I’ve thought this about other new comedies and then fell in love with them. Take “Whitney” for example. I didn’t really care for the first episode; but if you haven’t watched the episode where she goes all “Uh-huh, you know what it is. . . ” on her boyfriend on the basketball court, you haven’t lived.

I decided I would keep “Are You There, Chelsea?” on and keep an open mind. Then, one of the characters began talking about how her mother got diabetes after eating some cupcakes. She then made a joke about how she ran off with her diabetes doctor and it all worked out ok because he was able to catch it early, before she “lost her feet.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard comedies make “jokes” like this about diabetes. But it’s been a while since I’ve heard one this blatant and stupid. When you have a Type 1 Diabetic mother who has had the disease for over 30 years, it’s no laughing matter. In fact, I can’t think of a single person on the planet who thinks that having to get your feet amputated is funny. It’s not.

What also drives me insane is that these so-called witty comedies perpetuate the myth that sugar causes diabetes. It doesn’t. Diabetes is an aut0-immune disease that attacks the t-cells that make insulin. Sugar has nothing to do with it.

My Mom has adult-onset Juvenile diabetes. She got gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with my sister. It never went away. She is constantly attached to an insulin pump and a sensor that beeps when her blood sugar starts to drop or rise. She hasn’t slept through the night in years because of her sensor. She has had blood sugars so low that she has woken up to find herself in the hospital, or unaware of what she was doing. One time I came home from school to find my Mom unconscious due to a low blood sugar. It is a serious disease and is no laughing matter.

I had just a small taste of what my Mom’s everyday life is like when I was pregnant with Sassy and had gestational diabetes. I have never been more miserable. It gave me a whole new respect for my Mom and what she deals with every day. It gave me an entirely new appreciation for how much diabetes is a constant part of your life when you have it. Your fingers start to hurt from all the pricks. You have to think about everything you eat and drink all the time. There is no escaping it, not even for a minute; which makes me wonder even more why comedic writers find diabetes so very funny. It’s not funny at all, and perhaps they should find better writers for these shows if all they can come up with is tired “humor” about maladies that affect people’s everyday lives.

This is one show I won’t be giving a second chance.

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