SReprinted from TUDiabetes.org August 8. 2013,
Reality Game Show
Suppose there was a reality show for diabetics? I envision a house full of meters, syringes, pens, pumps, test strips and apple juice. You know right now, television is giving us something called big brother, summer camp, I think the bachelorette just ended, Dancing with the stars is coming back, the Biggest loser (no not my HS nickname), and Alex Trebek made a 9 year boy old cry over misspelling emancipation. So why not have a diabetic game show. Let’s call it Diabetic Wars. Here is how I think it would go.
To start with we would meet 40 diabetics, all out of control. We would deny them meters and CGM’s and we would follow them for 10 days. Now of course we would blind test all of them and record the readings three times per day. Anyone who went to DKA would be disqualified. We would judge them medically inappropriate for our show. At the end of ten days we would reveal the average Blood Sugar’s and the 16 highest would go on to the competitive rounds. The others would receive counseling, some diacrap (like free meters with test strips that cost $2.00 each) and a pat on the head before being sent home with an admonition that “they need to do better otherwise they would end up with this or that” long term problem.
Our 16 competitors would join the game and be divided into two teams. One would be called the Endo’s and be assigned an endocrinologist and the other the Seedie’s of course they would get a CDE. Both the endocrinologist and the CDE would be the best looking females we could find and they would be in skimpy bathing suits as much as possible, but always with a stethoscope around their neck.
The object of the game would be to have the lowest average blood sugar with no ambulance calls. Any time an ambulance would come out the offending player would be disqualified and judged not suitable for game play. The two houses would be filled with every kind of indulgence known to man. Marie B would provide a constant supply of cheese cake, Dairy queen would take orders every day, and Yum Brands would sponsor food choice lunch. One day Taco Bell, another Kentucky Fried Chicken, others would be Pizza Hut, Long John Silver, A&W, and Wing Street. Yum would also roll out its popular chain of Chinese restaurants East Dawning for the Far East themed week. Basically we would want a mix to tempt our hapless competitors. Of course the alternative would be a bland salad with Lo-Calorie dressing, no doubt introduced by each restaurant on its showcase day.
At the end of each week there would be a blood sugar blast. We would have our competitors do some unrelated obstacle course and the losing team would lose a competitor. That competitor would be decided by the average of all blood sugars times the number of test strips used each day for that week, with the highest hitting the highway again with our admonition that they need to do better or face horrible complications. We would all shake our head and say if only they had squeezed their blood sugar tighter they would still be with us. We would do a lot of head shaking.
We would multiply by the number of test strips in order to start putting the squeeze on the competitors. In week 1 we would give unlimited test strips. In week 2 we would cut it to 8 per day per competitors. Each week we would drop it by 1 or two until we got to or below Medicare levels. We could call this the insurance adjustment, and it would be a big factor in the game. So for instance week 1 a competitor might have an average blood sugar of say 110 (US). But use 140 test strips and another have the same blood sugar but only use 70 test strips. The second competitor would be judged a better diabetic.
The competition on the show would be almost endless. We would have the diatribe of the week (the winners) and the diabrats would be the worst team of the week. The diamaster would have the lowest score and be exempt from elimination next week and if the show seemed to be dragging we would up it too two dismissals. We would have someone we all could agree had played the game well, they had stolen some test strips from other members thus driving up their strip count and lowering theirs, and they would have a great one week blood sugar.
We would do community outreach, educating the public and the competitors about different diabetic care, diabetic technology and diabetic reasoning. Like why is LO-Mein so hard to cover or judge with a carbohydrate count but spaghetti squash is such a better alternative. My sense is that this would play out over an eight to ten week period. We would have diaranch which would look a lot like the biggest loser ranch. Also each eliminated diabetic would get diacrap and they would say how important the show had been in their lives and how they did not want to leave the ranch. We would of course check in with them 12 weeks later and see if they were able to follow through with the important lessons of the ranch. Eat healthier, exercise more, swim laps, and most important always keep their _____ meter handy, the blank meaning the meter sponsor for the show.
Now networks will do this because of revenue. First of course Yum brands will pay to highlight their healthy alternatives menu. But imagine the revenue from pump, meter and insulin manufacturers. We could sell air time for low sugar gum, and diabetic footwear. None of this stuff is advertised today so the networks will be getting positive revenue from new sources. We would hang our head in sorrowful thought as we contemplate Medicare test strip limits, and insurance company dislike for our disease. We would usher in insulin, meter, home A1c Testing kits, and adult dia-diapers, a brand new category of advertising revenue.
So see my show will work. What changes would you make to improve the show? If we all get together I smell an Emmy in this mix.