My 600-lb Life, "Donald's Story": heavy subjects matter

Quick Take: My 600-lb Life, "Donald's Story"
The second subject from TLC's My 600-lb Life slips into a coma.

donald my 600-lb life

Review: My 600-lb Life, "Donald's Story"
For the most part, I can bash reality shows guilt-free, knowing that most, if not all, of what the producers choose for us to see is scripted or manufactured in some way. It also helps to know that these people know what they're getting themselves into by letting cameras follow them around to document and embellish their every brain fart. My 600-Lb Life is no different -- though I imagine that we're supposed to feel sympathy for the morbidly obese while TLC exposes the very real suffering and humiliation of a sub-culture largely incapable of helping themselves. Pun not intended.

And I totally would feel sorry for the 600-lb Donald Shelton and his slipping into a coma... if he hadn't been hopped up on cocaine and crystal meth. Despite a lifetime of medical complications, despite his self-acknowledged weight crisis and the ensuing progress he made in turning to a healthier life, he gave up, relapsed, got sick, and is worse off than he was before.

I guess some people will argue that he was "sabotaged by his mother," but it takes a certain kind of person to lay that kind of blame. And really, what 34-year-old leaves enough of his life in his mother's hands to sabotage? Check out the reaction from Donald's parents, and you tell me if they are capable of ruining the life of someone they love.


It's hard to even feign some sort of sympathy towards the subjects of these documentary-exposés. Despite the medical conditions that plague these individuals beyond their scope of control, I can't help but feel that a majority of these individuals are simply looking for a quick pay for their heavily overrated fifteen minutes of fame (pun intended) and may be making themselves worse simply for the attention. Cynical? Maybe, but then again, I have to wonder: Would the production team come across enough people weighing 600 pounds to be able to skip over someone for not being unhealthy enough?

By Mark D Curran

About the author

Mark is a freelance writer, student of English and Philosophy, and still has too much time on his hands. If you have any of your own, check out the blog and follow him on Twitter!!/MarkDCurran

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On: Thursday, February 9, 2012
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

This was a really difficult hour of television yet I got completely pulled in. 

I agree that Donald's drug use makes it very difficult to sympathize with him, especially as the health care system plus many friends and family members seem to sacrifice so much to help him get well. (His mother is a different case, of course, but at the least she's completely devoted her life to her adult son.) 

On: Monday, February 27, 2012
Jessie said:

The drugs weren't the reason he was in a coma he developed a disease that started attacking his nervous system . 

On: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Deborah said:

Donald had Guillan-barre syndrome caused by a flu virus.  His weight loss was hindered by that, drug use did not cause his coma.  Obviously, his drug use was initiated due to a tendency for already having addictive tendencies.  The author of this post likes to give his opinion on subjects he clearly does not fully understand.  If I wanted to listen to absurd borderline retarded remarks from an individual who clearly has no right to talk, I will go listen to my biased senile father.  Thanks Mark, you are just one of those individuals trying to get your "fifteen minutes of fame", unlike those who were chosen for this documentary based on their medical condition.  Yes, it is a self induced illness, more interesting to watch than those stricken with self- grandeur disease like the author of this poorly thought out post.

On: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Mark D Curran said:

I'm sorry you feel the way you do about my article, Deborah. You'll forgive me for not feeling guilty while you shamelessly toss around insults like "retarded." It's also unfortunate that you think bias and senility are enough to take away someone's right to speak. I'm glad you're not in a position to effect entrenched rights and freedoms...

As for issues surrounding GBS... I'm far from an expert, but I know how to do my research, and I've dug up this medical article on GBS that might make you reconsider your claim that his drug use didn't cause his coma.

"... The history and presentation of these disorders [GBS] are such that the patient is unlikely to be considered comatose.

... GBS is virtually indistinguishble from many forms of drug overdosage and should always be considered in the differentials.

Some of the more prominant symptoms of drug overdosage include central nervous system (CNS) depression which may vary from simple lethargy to coma..."


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