“The Blood is Wrong”: Live on Air
I love it when public personalities come out and talk about their diabetes. Not just when celebs with diabetes make a friendly gesture to others who share their condition (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Bret Michaels, you’re doing a great thing by helping a young fan who, unlike myself, never got to enjoy Look What the Cat Dragged In on cassette).
I’m talking a not-quite-as-well-known media personality. A talk-show host on WKXW-FM, better known as New Jersey 101.5. For those of you (probably all of you), who don’t know about NJ 101.5, it’s a New Jersey-based radio station that features primarily a talk/call-in format. Hosts are given lots of latitude with what they can discuss, and the cheesiness of the operation is what gives it its charm. Being New Jersey-centric (not New York; not Philadelphia), it gives the hosts a rare chance to bond and relate to the audience. At times, they really open up into their personal lives.
On January 3rd, during the first show of the year, Jeff Deminski, co-host of the Deminski and Doyle show, comes on the air saying he’s “feeling kinda funky … a little odd … a little off.” He goes on to tell the listeners that he has Type 1 diabetes, and that he knows his blood sugar is either low or high – but can’t really tell, then goes on to inform listeners what each extreme feels like, what normal ranges are, and so on.
I remember listening to this segment live over-the-air and being captivated. However, the Deminski & Doyle Fan Podcasts blog has captured the audio of the segment (and the entire show, actually), and rather than transcribe the show, you can listen to it here, courtesy of that site: (the entire audio clip, hosted on MediaFire, is about an hour long but only the first few minutes, starting at about the 45-second mark, are relevant to this discussion).
Before leading into the topic of the hour (The Angriest Place in New Jersey), the host decides to host an impromptu contest, one that’s clearly not one that’s endorsed by the station. Callers would guess Deminski’s blood sugar, and the one coming closest would win five bucks. Apparently, it’s not the first time he’s held this contest.
For those of you playing along at home, the show begins at 2:00 pm and runs through 7:00, so it’s probably just after the hosts eat lunch.
While listening to this, I felt a bit conflicted. I enjoyed the public discussion about diabetes (anything to get real information to the masses is good news to me), but at the same time I couldn’t help but ponder whether this is really a responsible behavior for person with T1D. From the time the show begins, it takes about 8 minutes of on-air banter before he actually tests his blood sugar, and another 4 minutes (at a traffic break) before doing anything about it.
But he IS live on the air, and there are only so many options one has in these cases. Traffic reports and commercials are on a strict time schedule, and the station’s format doesn’t lend itself to playing music.
Was is this a good idea – to depict the self-treatment of diabetes in this way? Is any mention or description of diabetes, as long as it’s factually correct, a good thing? Does it even matter?
I enjoyed it.