Nurse Thor


A few dumb things some chuckelheads said, but that’s to be expected because portrayals of T1D on tv are notoriously inaccur——ohhh.

Pre-nursing school instructor strongly urge class watch Nurse Jackie for learn good role model emphasize how treat whole human instead of follow rules. Bigfoot game for tv; jump in both feet.

One scene diabetic Nurse Thor low BG during ER procedure. Jackie scold something like you need to eat on time! Bigfoot kind of roll eyes. Riiiight. NPH. Whatever, sure this fine show but total duhhhhh re diabetes like a NURSE on NPH wouldn’t know to EAT some fucking FOOD? Guess just business as usual like that stupid stupid DO NO HARM. Hmmph. And if Nurse Jackie soooo great, why Showtime not hire ACTUAL DIABETIC PERSON fact-check the diabetes portions of the show?

Another scene: a dirty-crazy neighborhood guy passes out in front of Nurse Jackie’s hospital; turns out this gentleman “times his insulin” for maximum pass out in front of hospital for attention. Bigfoot roll eyes again. Riiiiight. Kind of start dislike show but Bigfoot very dutiful student so keep watching.

AND NOW! Season 2 Episode 3, Nurse Jackie discern Nurse Thor secret blindness. Previously scold Nurse Thor for eating snack cake. Thor whine But cake is so good! And Nurse Jackie You’ve already lost one eye! Bigfoot think oh my gah! This show is so, so shitty! I can not believe a professor of nursing would recommend it! And THEN before Bigfoot able slam shut laptop, Thor remove faux eyeball, hold out for Nurse Jackie inspection. Nurse Jackie smile as if say now isn’t that the darndest thing? Bigfoot not need sit through this shit. Bigfoot have library book & new Martha Stewart Living magazine w. cucumber coconut salad recipe, and Dexcom double blood drop icon within 1 hour anyway.

But instead of read paper literature, flip to DOC. Season 2 Nurse Jackie probably…2006? 2008? Probably able find some outrage DOC persons complain stupid unrealistic diabetes Thor storyline but instead find this. Uhhhh. Oh. Pardon Bigfoot. Actor Stephen Wallem portray Thor have T1D real life. Really lost eye.  Really lost eye because diabetes. This actor mission make realistic T1D person on show as well as perform on so famous show. Uh. Oh. Really? Oh. Sorry. From Diabetes Forecast magazine post:

Over three seasons, the dark comedy has believably addressed issues like having an insulin reaction on the job (and then getting in trouble with a higher-up who’s clueless as to what’s going on). Each one has been inspired by Wallem’s own, often challenging experiences with type 1, including the diabetic retinopathy that left him blind in one eye, at the age of 31.

Dang. Def. keeping in mind YDMV & in this case “Y” stand for “our.” ODbetterV. Guess keep watching?

Cool PSA from SW, PWD.

Zillion Nurse Thor Nurse Jackie clips.

Stephen’s diabetes blog.



  1. Scott K. Johnson · May 30, 2013

    I don’t know – even though he’s T1D in real life, it doesn’t sound like he/they did a good job of portraying diabetes. Or at least not the kind of diabetes I’d like to see on TV. Why does it always have to be so dramatic? Oh yeah… television. Le sigh…


    • Katy · May 30, 2013

      His real diabetes *is* this dramatic!


  2. Nicolep · May 30, 2013

    I totally think you’ve got to YDMV for this kind of stuff. I actually thought the insulin reaction in Steel Magnolias was spot on – that’s precisely what happens to me when my bloodsugar dips dangerously low. “Talking in tongues, aggressiveness, sinking in seat…” All of it. Whereas some of the stuff on Nurse Jackie is nothing like my diabetes at all. I am really, really surprised that he is actually a type 1.


  3. First off, let me say that I think “Bigfoot Child” is hilarious! I found this blog by accident…Second, I can’t help but respond to the above replies about Thor’s diabetes not being portrayed well, etc. His experiences are all based directly on my own. I am also a national spokesman for a diabetes awareness campaign in which I am blunt about how I personally have struggled with my personal care of the disease. I have made many dire mistakes along the way, and have paid for them. So, this is MY experience. I am an individual as you all are, and just because your experiences do not match mine, it’s sad to me that some of these comments choose to invalidate them. I’m extremely proud to play an honest character who struggles with his disease, and the creators of the show have been terrific about always using my input when writing Thor’s diabetes into the storyline. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I personally want to be dealt with as an individual when going into a doctor’s office, and not as a “disease”. There are many things we obviously all share as diabetics, but I’m still an individual and some of my struggles may play out differently than yours.

    I’m grateful that Bigfoot Child at least made the effort to do some more research on me in retrospect 🙂 Keep up the hilarious writing! Lord knows that I don’t think I’d have made it this long without gallows humor on my side!


    • Katy · May 30, 2013

      Wow! Mr. Wallem! Stephen! Nurse Thor!

      I obviously didn’t expect to see you here!

      I guess I am coming from a position of desperately trying to believe nothing very bad will ever come of my son’s diabetes, and wanting very much to believe anything bad happening to a diabetic person on a TV show is related more to the show’s inaccuracy than any actual science.

      I was SHOCKED to find out that your removable eye is FOR REAL and not just a ramped-up dramatic prop, and HAPPY to find out that you are a real T1D person and that you made Thor’s D-story line happen.

      But I WISH T1D could be portrayed on a TV show as just a carb-counting/tubing snag hassle, with nothing actually bad ever happening to anyone.


  4. nicolep · May 31, 2013

    Nurse Thor! 🙂 I didn’t mean to invalidate your experiences, but I think that’s kinda what you did in talking about the portrayal in Steel Magnolias, which is much closer to my own diabetes experience. Those aggressive seizures actually happen – I have a healed broken wrist as evidence… It’s always surprising to me how much diabetes varies person to person. I love that you found your way here, because Katy is one of my favorite bloggers…


    • nicolep, it looks like we have both learned something, then. I could have phrased my comments about Steel Magnolias differently. When the film came out, it was literally the only mainstream portrayal of a diabetic reaction. Most diabetics I know do not have a violent reaction to low blood sugar; quite the opposite. So, my frustration came out the fact that there were so few representations of what it’s like to be diabetic, and at the time that was the SOLE example. So I definitely did not intend to invalidate anyone who had a similar experience to the scene in the film. I’m grateful to hear about your experiences!

      Needless to say, I took issue on here because I personally am playing a character based on myself and using my own experiences, only to be criticized that it’s not realistic and that it’s “surprising” that I am a T1 diabetic….I’m also not in any way attempting to say that all diabetics deal with the same issues Thor does, or that you can’t lead a healthy life as a diabetic. Thor is just one character, and his (and my) stories by no means represent ALL diabetics. My passion comes from wanting to show all aspects of handling the disease (though my hands are tied as far as how deeply the writers want to go into it, unfortunately). I don’t think I’m alone in the frustration of uneducated people not understanding how serious the disease can be. So, by using my own struggles in Thor’s story as well as in my awareness work, I’m trying to turn my serious mis-steps into something positive, with humor and honesty. There are still so very few representations of diabetics in film or on TV, so I very much applaud Showtime for embracing this aspect of Thor’s life.


      • NicoleP · June 3, 2013

        Indeed. The variances in diabetes life and experience is kind of astounding. I probably could have picked a different way to say “that’s not my diabetes experience at all…” because it hasn’t been for the most part, and I apologize for coming off like a jerk. The fact that you’re taking time to engage here is also pretty cool and appreciated. You’re definitely not alone in feeling frustrated by people’s total cluelessness regarding diabetes life. Funny thing? It’s nuanced enough and different enough person to person that we’re having this conversation between people living with the disease – I guess it’s hard to ask people who don’t live with it to understand… LOL.


  5. pawslovediabetes · May 31, 2013

    First of all, I LOVE Nurse Jackie…. love love love, great show. First started watching before my diagnosis so I think that some things went unnoticed by me in that regard. I love that you are always willing to point out your own errors and I am glad that you did your research- I didn’t know we were dealing with a PWD in ‘real life’ as well as TV life. It is refreshing to bring it to the public eye, I know that often when I get stopped in public (because of my glorious Judah of course) and people find out he is in fact a diabetic alert dog they assume this means that I don’t take care of myself therefor my diabetes is ‘that bad’ that I need a Service dog. Ugh… Honestly, T1D is always ‘that bad’ it just so happens that the tool that works best with my lifestyle is a service dog (along with a pump, meter, glucose tabs, crackers, juice, medical alert bracelet, etc. etc.) I work pretty damn hard to try and keep my D from running rampant! Awareness, education, I can’t say it enough!


  6. Katy · June 3, 2013

    I’m still on Nurse Jackie Season 2. Last night I saw Nurse Thor eating plain Wasa bread, while he looked longingly at Zooey’s frosted/sprinkles doughnut. I thought YEAH RIGHT again, forgetting that Nurse Thor’s diabetes parts are not fiction!

    But why would Nurse Thor eat Wasa bread if he doesn’t like it? It’s just carbs. It’s not like it has any benefit.

    Surely THIS was Showtime’s own idea—the outdated choice of D-snack. I feel like Real Diabetic Nurse Thor would be eating lowfat string cheese, or a boiled egg white with salt substitute, or another zero/low carb snack…while gazing at the colleague’s doughnut.

    In conclusion, I think Stephen Wallem himself must actually *like* Wasa bread and wanted some, but his neighborhood grocery store stopped carrying it, and he knew the show would let him take the leftovers home.

    Or my other conclusion: there is some benefit to Wasa bread as a snack for diabetic people that has not yet been revealed to me.


    • Katy…I of course wish with all my heart that nothing bad ever does happen in connection with your son’s diabetes. I wish that for all of us! Thor is just one character, and again, his experiences are based on my own. Having diabetes comes with a ton of challenges, and to not portray the struggles but just the “happy” part would be completely dishonest. So in my opinion, for TV to only show “nothing bad ever happening to anyone.” who is diabetic is not realistic. As I said in my recent reply to Nicole above, I’ve tried to use my story to enlighten with humor and honesty and maybe help another diabetic take care of themselves better than I have in the past. I’m thrilled by the amount of email, Facebook, and Twitter messages that come from diabetic fans of the show who are grateful there is a character they can relate to.

      As far as the Wasa question, no, that was not Showtime’s idea. It was mine. Wasa Rye Crisp has 5 carbs, and the suggestion comes from Dr. Richard Bernstein’s THE DIABETIC SOLUTION, which is a fantastic resource, though not necessarily a fit for everyone. The writers asked me what might be a funny choice for something Thor might try to curb his horrible sweet tooth, something that would be a comic substitute to a donut or cake.

      Needless to say, you don’t have to agree with or like how my character is portrayed. I guess I just respectfully ask you to consider that I and the show actually do put some thought into it. I’m a little disheartened that your posts seem a bit sarcastic and hostile.


      • Katy · June 3, 2013

        You are right—I am hostile and sarcastic. And making my normal personality even worse is that I’m in an awkward phase of coming to terms with reality. I want to cling to the popular but untrue “Well Controlled Type 1 Diabetes is the Leading Cause of Nothing” school of thought.

        But I love Thor. I don’t mean to dis Thor–or you. Thor’s appearance in each episode is thrilling. I love that diabetes is a significant part of the show, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I barely notice Nurse Jackie’s drug addiction.


      • cbwinchild · June 3, 2013

        WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA!!!! With all due respect, Neither Katy nor her posts are hostile or sarcastic! She just has the breasts to be incredibly honest. When Katy writes something, it is *exactly* what she thinks. She doesn’t bullshit any of us. But, more important, she is not being cruel or smarmy; she is simply working out her thoughts. I’ve seen it a thousand times.

        On another note, I grew up with a very 1970s mother who subjected me and my siblings to Wasa bread at a young age. If I *could* eat Wasa bread now (I have a totally different chronic disease that makes eating complex carbs impossible without consequence), my preferred method would be light rye with a good smear of butter. Unfortunately for me, the last time I ate Wasa bread this way, it caused me searing nipple pain. <— 100% true.

        Keep it up, Killilea! Your honesty is farging hysterical.


      • Nicolep · June 4, 2013

        That scene actually rung totally true for me. In several ways. First, Nurse Jackie gets all over Thor for his poor choices in food (primarily because of his diabetes, but I’d think because in general cake and donuts are bad for anyone – then again so are DRUGS… LOL) and I know the pressure that creates in one’s head – not wanting to eat food that might bring on the food police in public, at work, or elsewhere… Because even though I know I can eat whatever food I want and give insulin for it – I know a) I probably shouldn’t and b) MOST non-diabetics don’t know that I can and I’m risking a lecture…

        Also, it rings true because my mother, in her efforts to keep me in good control when I was a kid, would send me off with rice cakes for snacks (sometimes plain, sometimes I’d get a little peanut butter). I totally remember how I used to look at everyone else’s food as if they had just won a million dollars and couldn’t share it with me… Also? Now, I find it funny. Rice cakes, mom? Really? Ew.


  7. Jan · June 6, 2013

    Nobody in my family has diabetes and yet I find myself a devoted reader of this blog. Initially, because Katy is friend and I care about her family, but really, honestly, because Katy could write about arbitrage pricing theory, co-op bylaws or cemetery landscaping trends and I would find it both educational and entertaining.

    From my context, this reminds me of the early Mothering Wars, or skirmishes anyway, where the stakes are very high, but the circumstances are all entirely individual. At the end it seems like communication is key and that ultimately leads to understanding. Or indignant dismissal. Or something in-between. But awareness all the same.

    The upshot is that because of Katy’s writing and her coming to terms with it in her very unique and distinctly brilliant, questioning Katy way, I am much more informed about diabetes. And while a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I did find myself asking a friend if, following an episode of continued lethargy from her daughter, she had considered diabetes testing. That would have NEVER happened or even occurred to me a year ago. It hadn’t occurred to the mom, either. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing, but I hope it can’t hurt….?

    So Katy and all of you, thanks for keeping it public and getting it out there.

    PS: Also, I find my 13-year-old daughter reading your page too. She hides it, like it’s something illicit. I think it’s great.


  8. Julia · June 11, 2013

    My sister is an R.N. who treats many diabetic adult patients, mostly Type 2 but quite a few Type 1s. Things can go bad very fast, if the patient has a stroke or heart problems occur. Her patients are usually older, though some are in their late twenties, a lot in their thirties. Type 1 children, just by virtue of being diagnosed with Type 1, have the same risk for heart problems as someone who has already had their first heart attack. High cardiac risk. Type 1 children should be on a moderate carb, low fat diet. Hence, although it is theoretically true that you can eat anything and bolus for it, you cannot eat anything and bolus without possible consequence in the long term. Reducing fat to 20 percent of your daily diet, possibly 30 does not leave too much room for cake, though of course on an occasional basis it’s okay. Home cooking so you can modify the carbs and fat of treats is necessary if your child wants to eat them on a regular basis. I wish there was a good cookbook written with low carb, low fat recipes for our kids. Very easy to find low carb high fat recipes. In the beginning, the endos tell you not to change the way the kids normally eat. I find that a lot of modifications need to be made and gradually, over time, we tend to make them. Regarding future complications, this is the first generation of children who are on the Dexcom or test very frequently. I think, if we are careful, and this includes diet, most of our kids will not suffer complications.


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