Friday, 23 April 2010

Number of the Beast

I’ve been frequenting an American forum recently, and trying to get used to the different units of measurement they use over there. Here in the UK a blood glucose meter reading is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/l), but in the US it is measured in milligrams per decalitre (mg/dl). These produce wildly different numbers – a healthy reading of 5.0 mmol/l equates to 90 mg/dl – and it can take a little time to get used to what is seen as acceptable. To convert from UK to US readings, you multiply the US reading by 18, so I was having a play and worked out my level at diagnosis, which was obviously very high. In fact, it was 37 mmol/l which equates to…666 mg/dl! The Number of the Beast!

This got me thinking of what a beast diabetes can be at times, some days dominating your every waking hour, and even disrupting your sleeping hours. Keeping those levels steady and in range can be a tough task at times, and it can get you down when you have to consider every meal, every day, continually testing your blood, injecting insulin, and trying to perform some enormously complex calculations solely by intuition and guesstimation.

It can be a problem if you let it take over. I can’t get rid of it, but I can decide not to fear it. After all, it’s just a lack of insulin in my case. It’s called a disease, but it’s a strange one. In theory, if I could get everything right I could just inject exactly the right amount of insulin at the right time so that it perfectly matches the glucose release of my food and my liver, and there would be no problem – the disease wouldn’t exist. Well, of course, that’s not really true. A fully functioning pancreas is far more subtle than the ham-fisted injection method, and who knows what problems that disparity of finesse might present in the future? But, it’s all I’ve got to work with at the moment, so there’s little point in worrying about it. I’ll be very happy if they find a cure sometime soon though!

I know you Beast, I know your name,
You hide amid the gloom
And darken days that once were bright,
And beckon me to your tomb.

Creeping, cruel and cursed Beast,
Insidious and sly,
You think you scare me, but you don’t –
And here’s the reason why…

I don’t have diabetes,
Just a lack of insulin,
And since I can inject that,
You must see you cannot win!

So I declare you dead and gone,
You never did exist!
No monster lies beneath my bed –
Dear Beast you won’t be missed!

You don’t hide in my cupboard,
Nor lurk behind the door,
And if I turn my back on you,
Then I’ll see you no more!

I’d like you, please, to stick your head
Inside a dead bear’s bum,
And let that be a taster of
The things you’ve got to come!

Beast? Pah!

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