Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Betes - The Patient Voice . . .

Two weekends ago I attended The Betes Organization’s event, "The Patient Voice".  I went on behalf of (and with assistance by) DiabetesSisters, and I was excited to see other members of DiabetesSisters and of the DOC.

But, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I’d “get” the event itself.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved and supported the idea of the event, which was to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers.  I watched Marina’s interview on TuDiabetes and was blown away by her passion and enthusiasm.  But the thing is, although I do have intermittent sparks of creativity, overall I don’t consider myself a very creative person.  So I was concerned I might not connect with the puppetry.  I was afraid the whole thing would kind of go over my  head. 

I could not have been more wrong.

The first performance piece involved a heavy box and The Betes (hand)puppet.  From the minute Marina took the stage, I was drawn right in.  I laughed.  I nodded.  I choked back tears.  I sang along with everyone in the room.  That sounds corny, right?  But somehow, it wasn’t.  We all sang together about the weight of carrying diabetes (a la The Beatles) and it was amazing.  And this is coming from someone who DOES NOT sing.

The second half was part of a new piece being created entitled “The Elephant in the Room”.  It deals with complications.  Emotionally, I didn’t react quite as deeply to this piece, probably because I haven’t really dealt with any complications (yet).  But it still resonated with me quite a bit.  Complications are a thing many of us don’t even want to thing about, much less openly discuss, so to see work being done the change that and the open the doors?  It was wonderful.

During the discussions that followed, I came to understand that these pieces seemed to touch different people in different ways.  Patients, healthcare providers, caregivers - what we saw meant different things to each of us.  But in the end, I believe we all were impacted by what we saw on stage and I think each of us left feeling a little bit closer to one another.

And in the end, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?


  1. Sheryl and I have been proud over the years to support 'the Betes Organization' and I am so glad you enjoyed The Patient Voice event. I have found Marina's performance's to be amazing. I see you are also a convert.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of March 28, 2016.

  2. Karen, I really value this post because it helps me to better understand how THE BETES work might initially make people confused / wary, and that those worries are unfounded... also, looking at your baking and cooking, you're definitely creative.
    There's a lot of misunderstanding in our culture on what creativity is. There is this odd wide sense that creativity is unattainable, or something really abstract... Brene Brown identified the root of creativity: and that's allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to be open to your own emotions and connection with others... that this openness is the source of creativity. And this is what our work seeks to do! So yes, we all absolutely have the inner-capacity to be creative- for some reason, our culture allows people to forget that.

    What also deeply touches me about your writing is that what you have described here:

    "I laughed. I nodded. I choked back tears. I sang along with everyone in the room. That sounds corny, right? But somehow, it wasn’t."

    This is simply and purely, the power of good theater. I've spent many years and thousands of hours working on my artistic craft as a theater artist... so this to me is a deep compliment. Thank you, and it is an honor to me to share this with you.

    What we are doing with BETES is bringing artistic and theatrical skill and power to help people better process the lived experience of diabetes, and eventually, other chronic health conditions. We do this by gathering stories, understanding these complexities, working with a leading medical psychologist, and continually shifting and shaping our work to serve the needs of our beautiful D community.

    so, thank you, for being with us, for allowing the work to move you, and for taking the risk and jumping in :)

    Health Care is a Human Story

  3. Thanks for sharing! It sounds like it was a really good event to attend.


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