If you missed it, last night the tv show Black-ish finished the year with Season 4, episode 9 entitled “Sugar Daddy. ” Although I had originally missed it, two of my friends told me that I needed to watch it. In the episode Dre, the father in the show, is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes while visiting his doctor and we get to see some of his initial reactions to being diagnosed.

I just finished watching the episode and here are my inital thoughts.

Black-ish gets a few high-fives.

The opening: I completely loved the fact that socio-ecominic issues were discussed when it comes to the high rate of type 2 diabetes within African American communities. It isn’t all about genetics (I’m living proof of that). There is too much (mis)information circulating about diabetes within black communities that only links the cause to genetics and avoids other serious causes. But Black-ish opened up with them: lack of access to healthy nutrition, safe conditions to exercise, and financial means for treatment.

I have to admit that I watched the show with a bit of hesitation, but the opening grabbed my attention.

The Symptoms: They explained the classic symptoms nicely. I wish I had known what the symptoms were before I was diagnosed. It would have saved me in so many ways. The show briefly covered thirst, urination, hunger, fatigue, and male sexual dysfunction. I would like to point out that sexual dysfunction is routinely discussed when it comes to men, but as Robbie McCauley said in her play “Sugar” women also have that complication but no one is talking about.

The Cure Crowd: I laughed out loud when they included “the cure crowd.” That’s what I call it because whenever I am in a crowd, there is ALWAYS someone in the mix that knows someone who knowns someone who knowns a person who has the cure for diabetes. If I had a dollar for every time I got into a much-too-long chat with someone about the cure for diabetes, I would be on my way to having a million dollars.

I hate that there isn’t a cure and I hate that these people remind me that there isn’t a cure because I usually end up saying “THERE IS NO CURE, THERE IS ONLY MANAGEMENT” until I turn purple in the face.  I give Black-ish a few cool points for including this experience. I am sure most people living with diabetes has had an encounter with “the cure crowd.”

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Acceptance: We witness Dre going from denial to acceptance and it even includes a dream where he has died from not managing diabetes. Welp, I’ve been there and Black-ish does a fairly good job of touching on some of the emotions (in 24 minutes you can’t cover it all).

Checking Your Blood Sugar: Let’s face it, I don’t know ANYONE who is excited about checking their blood sugar. Pricking your finger and drawing blood to put it on a strip is not fun. It’s something that we do. We suck it up, get over it, get through it, and move on with the rest of our day. Dre finally comes to terms with having diabetes “for the rest of my his life” and allows his wife to prick his finger. Although I find it disgusting that he licks the blood on his fingers, I saw a poll on the world wide web asking if you were a WIPE IT or LICK IT person. Dre is a “lick it” person and he is not alone.

Passing Out Is Common: I had no idea how common passing out was among people who are living with diabetes until I broke the silence and told my story. I passed out in the bathtub while living alone. Dre passes out at a party. His blood sugar was low. My blood sugar was high. I share this so you know that managing diabetes is a challenge and passing out can happen on either end of the spectrum. Everyone who manages diabetes has a little bit of super powers tucked away inside them because they have to do everything everyone else is doing AND take over completely or in part for a vital organ. We are some outstanding people!

For my final comment after watching it the first time (I am sure that I will watch it again a couple more times ) is this…

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: When Dre and Rainbow (the husband and wife) sit down at the end of the show and have that “come to terms” moment and he acceptance that he has to manage his diabetes carefully, the two have a fruitful conversation. However, someone very interesting happens. After Rainbow puts the strip inside the glucometer, their conversation begins and doesn’t end in time.

Listen to me carefully…

Once you put the strip inside the glucometer you have about 10 SECONDS to put blood on it or you lost it.

Once the strip is inserted, you’re in a race against the clock.

You CANNOT chill and have a conversation after the strip is in the machine.

The glucometer is like Audrey 2 (the plant in Little Shop of Horrors that sings “I need blood and you’ve got more than enough.”) You have to feed the meter QUICKLY.

If you don’t put blood on the meter IMMEDIATELY, you will get an ERROR.

If you get an ERROR message, you will not be able to use that strip again.

If you can’t use the strip again, you have to throw the strip away.

Strips are costly.

50 strips can cost $89.

See why I said, Do Not Try That At Home??

Moving on…

I give this episode two thumbs up. I am gonna start watching the show again to see where this storyline goes. As for now, I’m happily engaged.


*All pictures are courtesy of ABC