Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Winceyette Pyjamas

I went to the optician’s yesterday. After the scare of last week's letter about the background retinopathy, I thought I should get my eyes checked out for any other problems. Good news! The optician was a very lovely lady, who was herself Type 1 (17 years since diagnosis!), so she understood my concerns and all about how diabetes might affect the eyes! She agreed with me that the background retinopathy was most likely a result of the rapid decline in my sugar levels after diagnosis, and possibly also that raised blood pressure might have played a part. She did a visual examination and said she couldn't see any signs of retinopathy and concluded that the changes had been re-absorbed since my scan - although she did say that a scan shows greater detail so there may be some minor changes still there. In addition, she said that the blood pressure medication I am on (candesarten) may actually have a side-effect of improving microvascular health - hurrah! My eyesight is only slightly worse than it was 3.5 years ago and I didn't need to get new glasses (I only use them for reading anyway). She said the slight deterioration was most likely due to my age.

The only slight problem was the pressure of my right eye which was at the high end of the normal range (measuring for glaucoma). She didn't think this was a big problem, but said I should go back for another check in 6 months time. This will be free again on NHS, as there is a medical need for it - normally you are only allowed one fee check per year. So, I was very happy with the outcome, and glad I went - that letter gave me a kick up the pants!

Going to the opticians again reminded me of my last visit there in early 2006. At that time it was my first proper eye check since I was 16 years old! I’d always had good vision, but lately my eyes had been struggling on occasions with small print and when working at the computer. I was quite shocked to discover just how poor the left eye had become, and this had been masked by my right eye compensating. The upshot was I would need glasses for reading, and the reason was simply my age – shock, horror! I was getting old! A few months later this disturbing fact was confirmed when I had to have my first tooth removed! And then, of course, I ended up in hospital with some dreadful illness. I feared the worst, that the years of not quite looking after myself as best as I could were now about to wreak revenge, so I was actually quite relieved to discover that I had diabetes and not cirrhosis or cancer.

I still feel about 30 years old in my head, and I’m not in bad shape for 50, but there are some aspects of my life that can only be attributed to greater age and ‘slowing down’! The following poem is not autobiographical, just some musings on how change might manifest itself. The last two lines are a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt which I came across today as the signature on someone’s post, and which I liked.

You know you’re getting old when your bed is far too cold,
And the ‘hottie’ that you take there’s made of plastic.
I should add, it’s bottle-shaped, and your bed’s no longer draped
With the satin sheets you once thought were fantastic!

Instead of single malt (and it’s really not your fault!),
Your nightcap is a drink that’s warm and milky.
A raunchy novel’s not befitting, so you read up on your knitting,
And your winceyette pyjamas feel quite kinky!

And perched upon your nose, as you read in your repose,
Is a pair of glasses you once thought unsexy.
And those things you thought were cool all those years ago at school,
Will more likely bring on fits of apoplexy!

But to counter all your fears about your swift-advancing years,
Are the memories of all that’s gone before.
Some were good, and some were bad, some you wish you didn’t have,
But ahead of you lie many, many more.

So, although some things have changed, and your life is rearranged,
Remember at the start of each new day,
That yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery,
But today’s a gift to treasure in every way!

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