[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
[Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

[IP] A Survivor Show we could all relate to

This article appeared in the Detroit Free Press this morning...
    Susan Ager: Real ailments might be good for 'Survivor' 
May 8, 2001
>This summer, producer Mark Burnett is staging his third "Survivor" expedition 
somewhere in Africa, and I am ready.I do not qualify under existing 
standards. I am neither a babe nor a tough mama. I cannot swim except on my 
back in calm water. I can run, but only about 1 1/2 miles before punking out. 
And, I wear at my waist 24/7 an insulin pump that keeps me alive. I am a 
diabetic and I am proud. I've survived diabetes for almost 38 years and can 
surely survive it for six weeks in Africa, too.Which makes me wonder why this 
time Mark Burnett shouldn't seek out people with chronic challenges like 
mine. We may not be able to wrestle down wild pigs, but we have other 
survival skills.We outwit our impairments every day. We flex and adapt. We 
outplay the game of life with the zest of those who fear losing it.And we 
outlast the dire prognoses our doctors gave us.The drama in Gluco-tabs
Wouldn't we make great TV? And you wouldn't have to remember our names. We 
could be the diabetic woman, the guy with MS, the nearly blind woman, the guy 
with asthma, the one-armed fellow, the woman with arthritis, the man with the 
artificial heart.Perhaps 18- to 24-year-olds would not be the biggest 
audience for this run of "Survivor III." But imagine the cheering sections 
each player would inspire! Imagine the debate among diabetics about how I, 
for example, manage my disease. And no surgeon general could do more than we 
would to educate Americans about diseases that face them, too.Would-be 
survivors already sign away their rights to sue if the show compromises their 
health. We would, too. The rules wouldn't have to change at all except to 
allow us to carry in our life-support supplies, whatever they are.That means 
I'd bring with me my insulin and pump and blood-testing gear, and a stash of 
white Gluco-tabs, which I chew when my blood sugar falls dangerously low 
after too much exercise, say, or too little food -- a daily risk on 
"Survivor."Each tab contains about 20 calories and tastes like sweet orange 
chalk.The Gluco-tabs could trigger dramatic scenes. A hungry, listless player 
could pilfer and binge on my Gluco-tabs to gain an energy edge for an 
immunity challenge. Skeptics might challenge every Gluco-tab I chewed, and 
search my bag to see if I were hoarding extras for my allies.Suspicion would 
thrive in our camps. Did the guy with MS really need to rest this morning or 
was he just being lazy? How come the woman who can barely see was able to 
spot the banana tree before the rest of us?Why can't the rest of us take pain 
pills for our aching backs?Our diseases would distinguish us, but unless the 
producers are idiots, our diseases wouldn't define us.Our personalities would.
Finally, of course, boredomLet me generalize that people with chronic 
ailments stand up straight, speak loudly and carry big sticks. To be meek is 
to fade quickly.Among us we could keep you entertained for many weeks. You 
would argue over lunch about whether it's worse to lose a leg or struggle to 
breathe. You'd complain that some of us whine more than our conditions seem 
to deserve. "Hell," you'd brag, "I could live with (name disease), no 
problem."Then, I'm afraid, you'd get bored. Chronic disease is boring, even 
to those who have no choice. And in the end, the million bucks one of us took 
away might win us comfort, but it wouldn't win us health.Contact SUSAN AGER 
at 313-222-6862 or <A HREF="mailto:email @ redacted">email @ redacted</A>
- ----------------------------------------------------------
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml