I watch a lot of bad TV–but my guilty pleasure this summer was Chasing Life. It was a show about a 24-year-old journalist (Oh hey, sound familiar?) who found herself getting sick–(still familiar)–and realized she had leukemia. (Oops, you’ve lost me.)
And while there were some things I could relate to, there were others that just left me screaming at my TV.
Like how she was continuously in denial about needing treatment. Let me ask you–honestly, if you’re told you have an immediate cancerous threat to your entire body do you like just…sit on that for a few weeks? At 24? When you’re otherwise healthy and able to recover with the right treatment? Has this girl never been sick before in her life?
And then towards the end of the season she was in the hospital for like…TWO DAYS before having a panic attack and trying to escape.
Girl, I have been in the hospital for ten days at a time where I was unable to wash my hair. You want to talk about feeling like you want to escape? Two days isn’t even a long enough time for me to settle in to a hospital setting. That’s like a micro-trip. That’s like an extended emergency room visit. And that oversized, well furnished hospital room? With an extra bed for a guest to sleep on?
I haven’t seen a hospital room with an extra cot since I was in the pediatric ward.
Still, there were some situations I could relate to. Like the concern over when to tell friends or coworkers when you’re sick. And not wanting to quit/leave/suspend your job for a particularly brutal flare-up or treatment. But most of the time I guess I just liked seeing a character my age who had bigger fish to fry than an unpaid internship.
Still, it would be even cooler to see a regular character on a young adult show that had a chronic illness that wasn’t terminal or immediately life threatening. Just progressive and something you have to deal with on top of unpaid internships and cheating boyfriends and fall outs with your best friend.
There was an article in the Washington Post written by a girl who had POTS, furious over the new show Red Band Society about teenagers living in a pediatric cancer ward. I’ve seen the trailers for the show and am actually looking forward to it. I mean sure, she’s right, Hollywood doesn’t accurately represents the lives of people with chronic illness–but hey, I’m at least glad they’re finally trying. Is that a shitty thing for a chronic illness advocate to say? Probably….but like I mentioned, I watch a lot of bad TV.
EDIT: Just watching the first episode now of Red Band. Wow, it’s pretty bad. Even worse than described. Really bad dialogue. Hysterically inaccurate hospital sets. Just…hilarious. It’s like if someone mixed Glee with General Hospital. They start off by saying “at least in the hospital you have some freedom” and yet none of these kids are hooked up to IV’s, no one got heavy heart monitors on. I think one kid has some kind of lung disease but he’s just moseying around like his oxygen isn’t at 40%.