Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Diabetic Days of Yore

I was only diagnosed a couple of years ago and have been able to take advantage of all the wonderful advances that have been made in diabetes management, with the pace increasing all the time. Insulin pumps are becoming more widespread, often these days linked to continuous monitoring systems to establish even better blood sugar control than was possible before. Many people on the forum, diagnosed decades ago, remember how things used to be. I have even read the story of one person, Richard, who has been living with diabetes for over six decades and he recalls the early days of boiling syringes and chemical urine tests to determine sugar levels. Now the talk is of stem cell and islet transplantation, smart insulin and artificial pancreases – a long way from those difficult early days…!

I won’t forget those wise old words my Daddy said to me
As he sat down in his chair one night and perched me on his knee.
He said, ‘Son, diabetes wasn’t always so much fun,
So let me tell you how it was in 1931!’

Twice a day we’d drive to town, down to the abattoir,
Pick out a bovine pancreas and stow it in the car,
And when we got home Mum and Dad would mash that organ up,
And strain it through a muslin bag into a paper cup…

Then Dad would get some chemicals and boil them in a pan,
Adding bits of this and that with flourish and élan!
And meanwhile I would drink and drink until I had to pee,
And Mum would take a jar away, as swiftly as could be!

She’d add it to the chemicals, and if it turned bright red
Then I would have no supper and be sent off straight to bed.
But if it just turned yellowish, I’d have something to eat
Like carrots mashed in gravy, with sweet pickles for a treat!

I didn’t like the needles though, at least six inches long!
So Mum would jig around the room, distracting me with song!
And when he’d scraped the rust off, Dad would stick it in my butt,
I’d bite down on a leather strap to keep my mouth tight shut!

So, should you whinge and moan about how finger pricking’s bad,
Then pause to contemplate about the progress we have had.
We’ve gone from times when prospects for our future might seem poor,
To looking forward to the day that they announce the cure!

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