Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dede and Me

It's not that I like watching television, mind you. I would much rather be re-reading and deconstructing The Decameron or memorizing the peripheries and prefectures of modern day Greece. However, because of my gift of a seismometer-like ability to detect even the slightest shifting of the sociological tectonic plates of the delicate landscape that IS our pop culture, I feel is it in the our society's best interest of all that I use my talents for the good of all. So while I would love to discuss Rachel Zoe's forehead (it does NOT MOVE--EVER!) and the disturbing, flat space between Susan Lucci's breasts (to replicate this, simply remove the tray from a Mounds Bar and place between breasts--Viola! Same Effect) I feel I need to move on to a more complex discussion befitting my sophisticated readers. Today I would like to discuss "My Shocking Story: Half Man. Half Tree."

The original "My Shocking Story: Half Man. Half Tree" was aired about a year ago on TLC. If I were talented enough to put a short video on this blog I would, but you can go to YouTube to see a video. This program, which I watched from beginning to end, features Dede, a 32 year-old in Indonesia with a medical condition that causes his limbs to be covered with growths causing his extremities to resemble the roots of a tree. We see him attempt his everyday activities and interact with his children. He is forced to make a living putting himself on display with a traveling circus troupe. A doctor from Maryland is called in. He takes samples, takes them back to the US, works hard to arrange for free medical care, and finally sends word back to tell Dede the good news.
By this time in the show, my bladder was about to burst from not moving from the couch throughout the entire episode. I did not even get up during commercials to get snacks. The investment I had made in this show was too great to risk any interruption at all. I had grown to love Dede and I only wanted the best for him. Besides, if Dede could travel through life with pounds and pounds of warts upon his limbs, I could make the small sacrifice of not leaving him now. Dede was about to receive the news we had all been hoping for and I was nearly breathless with anticipation. The way I saw it, TLC and I had a non-verbal agreement. I was trusting the network to come through on the inherent, even if unspoken, promise of a happy outcome. The man went to give the good news to Dede that he could be treated but Dede was not in the village. OK, I was fairly upset, but still hopeful. They will find Dede. They will give him the good news. We can all cry together out of happiness when that moment arrives. Then, the show ended--that's right--ended, with only a short voiceover at the end, informing us that Dede had said the equivalent of , "No thanks" to the treatment. "OH NO! Wait a minute!" I shouted, falling from the couch to crawl towards the TV. "No! No! Let ME talk to Dede! I can convince him! We've been through so much together! Go, find him! Bring him to me!" I pleaded, kneeling there in front of the screen, waiting, waiting.... "Dede!"

It has taken me a long time to get over this whole event. In fact, I could not even talk about it for months and NOW I hear there is a show called, "Half Man. Half Tree: The New Developments." Oh, no, not this time, TLC. I'm not going there. I can't afford the emotional investment. Don't even talk to me about it.

If you come to the village to tell me news, good or bad, I will not be there.

3 comments:

Karen Llata said...

OMG! (do i sound 15?) I saw that too, and like you, was crestfallen when he refused treatment. I'm gonna check it out again on utube.

Bossy Betty said...

Do NOT tell me about it!

Susan said...

Your happy ending EXISTS!Dede did, in fact, get treatment and his face looks almost normal now. He is much better and does not have to make his living that way anymore!
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MedicalMysteries/story?id=5535375&page=1
also see photos of dede after 8 operations -- the warts have been removed from his face and some from his hands though his hands are still not good.
http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/popup?id=5536783&contentIndex=1&start=false&page=2

"We have a lot of room to improve the patient's condition and improve the quality of his life, improve his appearance, improve his ability to use his hands," Gaspari said.

Hospital staff today say Dede is in good spirits, has put on healthy weight and is happy to be returning home.

"Though it's unlikely that Dede will ever be free of all traces of disease, his treatment will give him a chance to go back to his village, to be with his family and friends and lead a new life approaching normal."