Inserting Type 1 Diabetes into Literature

We rewrite some modern-day classics to bring diabetes into the plot.



Do you ever feel disgruntled that people with Type 1 diabetes don’t show up more often in fiction? We at Insulin Nation have decided to right (write?) this wrong by inserting Type 1 diabetes into some well-known works of fiction. We think the addition of insulin really opens up a whole new dimension into these classics:

shutterstock_210792889_harry_potter_300pxHarry Potter and the Order of the Endocrinologist

Harry felt his forehead pounding. He tried to focus on his Defense Against the Dark Arts homework, or at least on whatever Ron and Hermione were bickering about now, but the headache was getting worse, and now he was feeling nauseous. He put his head in his hands and rubbed the scar on his forehead.

“Harry, are you okay?” Hermione asked.

“You look a bit green,” Ron said.

Their concern seemed to irritate Harry, and he felt himself beginning to sweat. “I’m fine. It’s just my scar. Maybe Voldemort’s up to something, trying to read my thoughts.”

Ron and Hermione gave each other a look. Hermione pursed her lips.

“Harry, when was the last time you checked your blood sugar?”

“Dunno. After Quidditch. Why?”

Hermione sighed. “That was hours ago. Accio meter.”

Hermione flicked her wand and Harry’s meter floated over to the table.

“My blood sugar’s fine, Hermione. It’s probably Volde…”

“That’s what you said last time. Remember?”

“Hey Hermione, do you think you can order up some pastries, you know, just in case Harry’s low?” Ron unconsciously smacked his lips.

“Honestly,” Hermione sighed.

shutterstock_65311099_romeojuliet_300pxRomeo and Juliet and Diabetes

ROMEO
Lady, by my blessed A1C score I swear

JULIET
O, swear not by thy A1C, thy inconstant blood,
That ebbs and flows in sweetness from morn to eve,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

ROMEO
What shall I swear by?

JULIET
Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy insulin,
Which is the god of thy idolatry,
And I’ll believe thee.

shutterstock_246597451_fiftyshades_300pxFifty Shades of Test Strips

I sit down at the lunch table, trying to subtly smoothe my outfit. This was supposed to be an office job interview, and now this arrogant and well-dressed man has decided to drag this out until lunch. Does he want to see me eat? Is that part of the job?

I can eat without any crumbs on the tablecloth, I say silently to him as I notice him eyeing me. His steely gaze holds mine for a beat too long, leaving me feeling strangely flushed. Then his eyes dismiss mine as he pulls out a small, black leather case and begins pulling out several gleaming instruments. I look around the restaurant to see if anyone else has noticed.

“I like to exert total control in all things,” Christian says, examining his manicured fingers intently. He turns his hand left and right in the light before extending a long finger and holding it to one of the devices.

I feel a small jolt. “What was that?” I ask, ashamed that my voice sounds so husky.

“My meter,” he says, frowning at the drop of blood on his fingertip. He delicately balances the droplet on a small strip, then brings the finger up to his cold, yet warm, lips. The machine before us beeps, and he flashes a mirthless smile. “100 mg/dL. Perfect. Shall we order?”

shutterstock_180144761_lotr_300pxThe Lord of the Rings and the Needles

The assembled fellowship examined the small ring that Gandalf had placed on the elvenwrought pedestal. Despite its relatively dull design, it seemed to gleam, as if with an inner fire, and its shine caught the dappled sun that softly fell through the trees of Lothlorien.

“Behold, Isildur’s Bane,” Gandalf announced. “I believe this is the Ring of Power described in the days of yore, and that our only hope to destroy it is by casting it into Mount Doom, which lies deep in the land of Mordor. Who will be the ringbearer for this quest?”

“I will,” Frodo heard himself say. “It was Bilbo who found it, and it seems fitting that a hobbit should end it.”

Gandalf beamed. “Brave and foolish Took! But you must know that wearing this ring will wreak havoc on your blood, making an organ within you cease to function. You will be asked to endure countless pinpricks and the balancing of medicines in your blood that even the wisest cannot yet do without error. And then there is the matter of the special diet.”

“You mean my master can’t have second breakfasts?” Frodo’s companion, Sam, spoke up.

“I mean that and more,” said Gandalf.

This post was inspired by a recent online Twitter chat on diabetes and literature.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.