Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's

I’m not a person who wears jewellery, and it’s a peculiar thing to start contemplating at my age. However, I have been thinking about it fairly seriously of late, with my new-found status as a fully-fledged, insulin-dependent person with diabetes. I think it’s fairly common knowledge amongst the general public that a hypo, or low blood sugar episode, in a diabetic person can make them appear drunk. Unfortunately, it’s also fairly common for people to actually be drunk and not diabetic! So, how do you tell them apart? Many people wear a medical dog tag or bracelet which gives brief details of the person’s condition and possibly also allergies. Should the worst happen, this information can then be used by first-aiders or paramedics to ensure that appropriate treatment is given – usually just some quick-acting sugar like full fat coke or jelly babies, or glucose tablets if the person is carrying them – if the person is still conscious. Unconscious people should not be given anything to eat, as they may choke, but instead they can be given an injection of glucagon which will persuade the person’s liver to release glucose into the bloodstream.

I can usually tell when my blood glucose levels are falling below my normal range, but I have occasionally gone very low without realising. This is known as ‘losing hypo-awareness’, and it’s possible that a person can drop so low that they are unable to communicate coherently. Thus, it’s wise to wear something so that, should the worse happen, people will know how to act appropriately. Bring on the bling!

It was while I was having my breakfast at Tiffany’s
That a troubling thought crossed my mind.
A portent perhaps, a personal epiphany,
(I don’t get too much of that kind!)

It had been on my mind, but on the periphery,
But now it came clear in a flash
That I needed some bling – but maybe not Tiffany,
I didn’t have that kind of cash!

For what if, one day, I got my dose wrong,
And injected too much for my meal?
It’s an easy mistake, and it wouldn’t take long
For a low that perhaps I won’t feel!

Should I suddenly drop and lose all control,
And my powers of speech had all gone,
I’d need a way to inform any passing kind soul
That I’m insulin-dependent, Type 1.

So, bracelet or tag, I must get me some bling
So that people around me will know
That it’s not due to drink, but a low glucose thing,
And give me some sugar pronto!

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