Turk Has Diabetes

Dayle introduced me to “Scrubs” a few weeks ago and we’ve been going through the show at a pretty decent clip ever since – thanks Netflix.

We just reach the point in season 4 when Turk was diagnosed with diabetes. I’m not sure if “comforting” is the right word, but I thought it was cool that I put the pieces of the puzzle together before the characters on the show reached the same conclusion. Ever since his diagnosis the show has mentioned his diabetes a few times, with the occasional joke or b-plot line. While they don’t always avoid the classic stereotypes (“Why is this guy getting his foot amputated?” “He has diabetes”), there have been some spot-on moments dealing with the emotional burden of living with this disease.

From S4E6, when Turk was diagnosed:

Molly: Well, Carla calls you her “Superman,” and you love that… but diabetes makes you feel vulnerable, and you’re afraid if you’re open with her about it, you won’t be her Superman anymore.
Turk: Yeah. Devil Woman. Sorry

And S4E13, when Turk is faced with the reality of diabetes complications:

Carla: Baby. What’s going on with you?
Turk: Ever since I got this thing? I’ve been joking around about it, sneaking cookies, and hiding from it. All because I’m scared to ask myself the questions: Is it gonna get worse? Or are our kids gonna have it? Or how old am I gonna be when it finally gets me?… You don’t understand.
Carla: I don’t understand? Turk, look at me, I’m a WOD.
Turk: I keep trying to tell you this, but it’s the mirror in the bathroom, baby. You haven’t gained a pound since I met you!
Carla: No, I’m a WOD – Wife Of Diabetic.

It’s tough living with this disease, knowing what it’s really like, and not being able to fully express those emotions – especially on a nationally syndicated television show. And even if they get by on some classic, and unfortunate diabetes myths for easy punchlines I still appreciate that they can address the other aspects of living with diabetes. I’m not sure if it became a teachable moment for any viewers that the time, but if the writers knew how to properly address that specific topic, then I still have hope for the rest of Hollywood.

Also, “Scrubs” is a great show.

3 thoughts on “Turk Has Diabetes

  1. An acquaintance of mine is (was?) a writer on the show, and he has type 1 diabetes. Hence, the Turk dx. 🙂 I love how spot-on some of the references are!

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