Skip to main content

Thoughts on Red Band Society

Have you heard of the new show called Red Band Society on Fox? Let me give you the run down. It features several kids who "live" in the hospital, including two cancer kids, a kid with cystic fibrosis, one girl with a heart problem, one girl with anorexia, and a boy in a coma.   I wanted to give this show a fair chance. I mean, any press regarding sick kids should be a good thing, right? Maybe a show focusing on children with illnesses could help our society be kind to people dealing with illnesses and treat them with compassion. Maybe people would stop walking on eggshells around kids with diseases. Who knows, maybe something good could come from it. However, after watching the show for several weeks, I have come away fairly disappointed in its execution for several reasons. 

1. The boy with cystic fibrosis is a very poor representation of CF patients. He is supposedly in the hospital for a tune up, but you never see him receiving IV antibiotics, doing breathing treatments, sleeping from pure exhaustion, doing PFTs, throwing up or feeling nauseous from the IVs, or coughing like a 60 year old chain smoker. He's supposed to be on the transplant list for new lungs, yet he seems to have no trouble moving or breathing, and he's not receiving any sort of oxygen. On top of that, he smokes weed and does a poor job of taking care of his body, a huge no-no in the CF world and an even bigger problem if on the transplant list. 

2. The hospital looks like a four star hotel. The rooms in the hotel--I mean, hospital--are HUGE. When I'm in the hospital, I barely have enough room for a bed, a chair, an IV pole, and the required bike and mini refrigerator given to CF patients. The rooms in the show's hospital are spacious and nicely decorated, tailored to the kids' specific tastes. Nothing looks like the sterility of every hospital I've ever been in. 

3. The kids in the hospital are able to do whatever they want. They are able to escape the confinement of the hospital, no questions asked. Or, they can sneak off without causing a commotion. They have very few rules and are very much so in control of their surroundings. In reality, when you're in the hospital, you're being checked on constantly. Someone is always coming in to run a test or take your vital signs or make you do something you don't want to do. You don't have the freedom to roam or to run away from hospital life.

4. All the kids featured on the show are friends and seem to like being in the hospital. Let me tell you, I have never made a friend in the hospital. For one, I'm not allowed to have contact with any of the other patients. As well, everyone in the hospital is SICK. We don't want to make small talk with other patients or hang out in the "hotspots" (which don't exist). No one enjoys being in the hospital, and most people who are in the hospital don't feel well. The goal of being in the hospital is to get better and get out as fast as possible. 

I had high expectations for Red Band Society because I know what it's like to be in the hospital, and I felt like the show had great potential to bring awareness to the hardships of living with different illnesses. Unfortunately, it has fallen flat in my books. If you are watching the show, get involved in the lives of the characters like you would for any other show, but take the overall portrayal of the hospital with a grain of salt. Trust me, being in the hospital is significantly different than it may seem.


Popular posts from this blog

CF Walk Letter 2018

Dear friends and family,
I hope this letter finds you doing well! My life looks pretty different this year from last year. In May, I graduated with my master’s in communication sciences and disorders. I started working as a speech-language pathologist in June for a company called SpeechCare, and in July, Eric and I got married. That was a very busy couple months! I love my job; I work mainly with adults with intellectual and/or social disabilities to help improve their communication skills. My clients bring me so much joy! I love being able to help them communicate better with others. Eric and I are also loving being married. Living with Cystic Fibrosis has taught us to never take the time we’re given for granted, and we are making sure we soak up all the moments we’re given and go on plenty of fun adventures. 
My health has been a bit of a struggle in the past few years. I had a round of IV antibiotics in May and then again in September and January. I will be starting IVs within the ne…

The day that was yesterday

Wow. What a day yesterday was. Here’s what happened:
At around 4:45, my hand became numb and tingly. Because I’m a knowledgeable SLP, my first thought was “oh my gosh I’m having a stroke”. Although the numbness was my first (and only) symptom, it was so bizarre how my hand just all of a sudden lost feeling in it. About 5-7 minutes into the numbness sensation, it started traveling up my arm and reached about midway up my forearm. Due to my history of a PE and being on Amicar (a blood clotter) right now because of a lung bleed, pretty much the only option was to go to the ER. I called CF clinic, and they confirmed that I should head over there. The ER is the most disgusting place, especially in the middle of cold and flu season. They also apparently have never heard of CF protocol because I had to demand to be put back in a room immediately and for everyone who came in my room to be gowned, masked, and gloved. From the beginning to the end of the 5 hour ER stay, it was pretty disastrous.…

Thankful in the hard times

With a disease like cystic fibrosis, it can be easy to get lost in all the pain, fear, and frustrations and lose sight of what we have to be thankful for. This year has been rough. I started the year with a blood clot, quickly followed by increasing worry about the state of health care in America, all while losing a significant amount of lung function and dealing with way too many lung bleeds. However, no matter how hard the year, I believe it’s always important to reflect on the many blessings we have been given. It’s too easy to wallow in self-pity and pain otherwise. So this post is dedicated to just that—thanking God for all He has given me. 
I’m thankful for... My new husband ❤️. As I’ve said before, many CFers wonder if they will ever find someone who will choose to love them day in and day out with all the stresses that come with cystic fibrosis. Being the spouse of someone with CF is not for the weak or faint of heart. My husband has taken a crash course in medical terms, health…