Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Steel Magnolias" examined medical challenges (juvenile diabetes) to one woman among a group of friends in the old South

The 1989 comedy drama “Steel Magnolias” also got mentioned in “Brotherly Love” and it looks like I rented it over ten years ago. The film is directed by Herbert Ross, written by Robert Harling, and distributed by TriStar Pictures (Sony).

The plot concerns a social bond among some women in the south (Lousiana).  But the biggest part of the plot concerns the medical course of Type 1 diabetes by Shelby (Julia Roberts). She is determined to have children, and after giving birth a kidney fails, resulting in dialysis and then a kidney transplant.  But eventually she dies of infection exacerbated by immunosuppressive drugs.

The other “magnolias” are played by Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis.

In 2001, I worked with someone who lost his wife (who was only 36) to complications of Type 1 Diabetes;  she had undergone a kidney and pancreas transplant and a leg amputation and had been swollen by immunosuppression.  She died right after 9/11, having been put in a medically induced coma and never knew what had happened.  Sometimes Type 1 Diabetes is a bad scene.

There is a childhood vaccine under investigation to prevent Type 1 diabetes, which may follow infection with cocksackie virus B1, which normally causes only a common cold, but provokes an autoimmune reaction in people with certain genetic susceptibility.   Nick Jonas was diagnosed at age 13, and his management of it is described here

Picture: French Quarter, New Orleans, mine, Feb. 2006, after Katrina 

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