A resource blog for young women living with Arthritis

Farewell to the Red Band Society

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[Red Band Society Spoiler Alert! You have been warned! ;)]

Hi everyone! I meant to write this post a while ago, but have only just gotten the time to do it. Anyway, I didn’t want to let this series fade away without writing my thoughts on it. For those of you who are visiting this site for the first time, it’s important to note that I have been living with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past 23 years.

For those who may not be familiar with the show, Red Band Society is about a group of young persons with various medical conditions who all live together in a hospital setting. You can view full episodes of the series on Fox’s website here. I was surprised at how much hate Red Band Society received due to the fact that I absolutely loved this series, which was short-lived and ended in February 2015. I am not a huge TV person but Red Band Society was one show I did not miss. I think I may have cried during every single episode of this series. There were so many moments with these young characters where I found myself nodding and relating to their fears, concerns and joys too. Many persons have pointed out the flaws of this show, where doctors are hot, rooms are humongous, patients have perfect hair, Ivs are mostly absent and no one is puking. Yes, a lot of details weren’t realistic in this show, but I appreciate the fact that the creators of this show were brave enough to try something new and showcase a slice of life which is often hidden in our society. A slice of life which happens for many behind closed doors and is often not discussed in real life.

In my entire life, I’ve never related to characters on television as much as I related to the characters of the Red Band Society. From the early episodes where Jordi took one last run before heading off to surgery to amputate his leg, to watching Leo learn to walk with his prosthetic leg, to Leo’s fears about being intimate with a prosthetic leg, I was able to relate to the fears and joys which each character was feeling.

There is something extremely special about growing up with illness and finding your way in this world while dealing with illness. Many persons believe that illness is a stain on one’s life and a bleak and unhappy situation. But Red Band Society was able to show that for many youths, chronic illness is just a normal part of life. Getting diagnosed at a young age means that I didn’t have many years of perfect health. As a result, everything I’ve experienced and accomplished thus far has been with arthritis. And for me, having arthritis is completely normal and not something I actively think about.

The ending of Red Band Society showed that the futures of many of our characters were on track but still unknown – which is pretty accurate when you deal with chronic illness. Also, for many who have grown up in the hospital setting, the hospital represents a “safe” place where we can get help and be ourselves with illness. But in real life we can’t stay there forever and we have to go out into the real world with all its real world challenges. And that’s what happened with our characters – while it was amazing to have that camaraderie and support in the hospital, they also had to face up to their conditions and directly deal with their unique situations.
As the characters say in the final episode: “Some things stay perfect forever.”
“Yeah, like us. This, what we have here. I don’t care where we end up, but this is forever.”

Watching Red Band Society definitely made me feel more empowered as a young person with an illness. I don’t interact with many persons with illness in my real life, so Red Band Society was a breath of fresh air in a television landscape which does not usually showcase chronic illness. For those of you who want to watch the series, you can stream it here.

For those of you who did view the series, what did you think of it?

❤ Ms. Rainbow


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