I was watching a show on Netflix, and in the opening scene there was a character who had diabetes. He was shaking, and sweating, and fumbling for his glucose tablets.
that's not what happened. The character was showing signs of severe low
blood sugar, and of course he treated himself with insulin. Because,
that's what all diabetics do when they are low... on TV.
As a writer, I can understand different ways diabetes can fit into a plot.
-- Syringes freak out most mere mortals
-- "Drink the juice, Shelby!"
-- Insulin vials can be spiked with a toxin, or poison, or...
some symptoms of low blood sugar, like sweating and shaking, look good
on camera. So do syringes. I mean, they are sharp, and go into the skin,
and ewwwww! Maybe writers don't realize how high blood sugar--which
really is treated with insulin--could fit into a plot, too.
example... A character at a restaurant drinks 9 glasses of iced tea
during one meal. I, ahem, actually did this a week before I was
diagnosed with diabetes. I drank nine glasses of iced tea, and three glasses of water, and I was still thirsty. Excessive thirst is, well, excessive. Excessive can be interesting in a story.
a character finished three water bottles in the parking lot, walked
into a building only to find out the water cooler is empty. Maybe there
some sort of emergency and the water is cut off to the whole building,
so the character grabs a flower vase, flings the flowers on the floor,
and drinks water from a vase.
How many different ways could excessive thirst play a role in a crime drama? Something nasty in the water? Foxglove flowers in the vase poisoned the water with digitalis?
Here's a thought, have a character test their blood sugar. Blood always looks good on camera. If you need both panic and insulin to be part of your storyline, just make the meter look like this...
HI means holy @#^% my blood is turning into pancake syrup. A possible
dramatic reaction to seeing a HI on a meter might be akin to seeing the
toaster is on fire. (I, ahem, yelped pretty loud.) That reading will
upset anyone with diabetes, real or imaginary. After seeing a HI on the
meter, and flipping out, NOW the character can fumble for an insulin
Your job as a writer is to invite your
audience to suspend their disbelief and enter into a fictional world you
created. The more reality you bring into your fictional world, the
easier it is for your audience to join you. If your character is talking
about pine trees, and pointing to an oak tree, the audience backs away
from your fictional world. Eating an orange, and calling it a banana, will do the same thing.
wrap up... Low blood sugar is treated with candy, not insulin. If a
character is shaking and sweating and nervous, they need a snack.
blood sugar is treated with insulin. High blood sugar triggers
excessive thirst. Feel free to use out of control thirst, a meter
reading HI, to establish the need for insulin. After that, go ahead with
your insulin based plot line. Your story will be more believable. Remember, the audience wants to believe your fictive world is real, so play fair and we will join you in your story.
Now, go write something amazing. I'll be watching.