Midnight Three & Six
This link will bring you to a New York Times op ed documentary called 'Midnight Three & Six.' The video is about 11 minutes long. If you haven't seen it, go ahead and watch. We'll be here when you get back.
In a nutshell, this is a strikingly produced documentary depicting one family's experience with type 1 diabetes. This family's experience has been scary for them. The daughter, Grace, experiences hypoglycemia unawareness. She has lost peers to the disease. The family is genuinely afraid that Grace will die from her diabetes. They are vigilant. They are anxious. They are overwhelmed. The long silences and dim lighting speak volumes about this family's experience.
Take a moment and go back to sample a few comments if you haven't already done so. Perhaps you've also seen some commentary from the diabetes online community. What concerns me are the negative comments from other people and families living with Type 1 Diabetes. There were comments from people who never check at night asserting this hypervigilance was uncalled for; ones from people who found fault with the depth of the family's fear; ones from people who believe a CGM will solve all the household's problems; and ones asserting that diabetes isn't really that bad and that these people should get over it and move on with life. There are concerns that this film does not accurately depict life with diabetes. Maybe you thought some of the same things.
To me it seems important to remember that this is a filmed snapshot of a real family and their very unique experience with this disease. The number of deaths this family has experienced from Type 1 diabetes is alarming. If I knew 4 kids who had died of diabetes in the past 5 years I might never sleep again. The mom tells us that Grace's blood sugars are unpredictable. I'll take that to mean 'more unpredictable than normal' and go on to note Grace's age of 15 which comes with its own very unique set of challenges. They are, like the rest of us, doing the best they can with the information, skills and help they have available to them.
Do we live with diabetes exactly like this family does? Does this film accurately depict the details of how we cope with this disease? Of course not. But their life is not foreign to me. I jumped every time the mom's alarm clock rang because it makes the same sound as mine does in the middle of the night. My daughter drinks Clifford juice boxes too. Grace's concern about stopping to check her blood sugar while being filmed made me smile since I'm sure my daughter would have asked if it was o.k. too.
I wonder what kind of commentary would come my way should a documentary be made about our life with diabetes. I'm sure there are ways we do and think about things which differ widely from others' perceived 'right way.' We're not perfect. But we, like this family in Texas, have been handed the impossible job description of 'acting pancreas.' No film could ever depict the multitude of ways people end up acting and feeling when the diabetes diagnosis is handed over or in the years that follow. I can only guarantee you that nobody is perfect at it. We can only do our best.