Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Influenza Extravaganza! Step this way!

As a diabetic, I fall into the extra risk category should I contract flu. The extra stresses placed on the body’s systems trying to fight off the virus can result in climbing blood sugars which, if not properly controlled, can result in high levels of ketones with the potential for developing DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) – a life-threatening condition. For this reason, I am advised to have a vaccination against the most common strains in the autumn of each year to provide extra protection. For me, under the NHS, the vaccination is provided free of charge. However, my doctor receives a payment from the NHS for every patient he treats, and since the process only takes a few seconds this can be a very lucrative venture.

In order to maximise this earning potential, the surgery tries to encourage as many people as it can to take up the offer. When I was dropping off a prescription yesterday I was quite astounded at all the brightly coloured bunting and flashy posters decorating the whole place, as though there was some huge, historic celebration planned! And so I imagined, what might the doctor’s letter be like inviting me to this extravaganza…?

The postman came, is it for me? My goodness, what is this?
A letter from my doctor, oh no! Something must be amiss!
Dare I open it, and see what fate is in store for me?
Or should I leave it sealed and stay in ignorance, fear free?

The envelope is staring up, I can’t escape its gaze!
Oh, how I wish I’d given up my wild, unhealthy ways!
My doctor never writes to me, just when the news is bad,
But no – I’ll have to open it, or it will drive me mad!

What’s this? A card all glittery? Whatever could it be?
A party invitation? And please ‘RSVP’?
What joyous grand occasion are the celebrations for?
I read on in bewilderment, in order to learn more…

‘We’re happy to inform you, after months of preparation,
The time’s arrived for you to have your new flu vaccination!
There’ll be some cakes and sandwiches, and of course a bar,
But if you intend drinking, please leave behind your car.’

I couldn’t wait! The day arrived, I walked into the room,
The disco lights were flashing, I could hear the music boom!
And party poppers threw their coloured streamers in the air,
And conga-dancing patients laughed and weaved between the chairs!

A pretty nurse came up to me and whispered in my ear.
‘Would you like to join me in my office over here?
I’ve got something to give you – I promise it won’t hurt!
And it will make it easier if you first remove your shirt!’

So willingly I followed her, my shirt fell to the floor,
I gazed at her expectantly as she swiftly closed the door.
‘Now close your eyes for my surprise, I’m sure you’ll find it fun!’
She stuck a needle in my arm, announcing ‘There! All done!’

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A month to go! Woof! What's that I can smell?

Well, the Great South Run will take place a month tomorrow so I really need to get myself in shape! This will be my third year of running the GSR with diabetes, and having run for the two big diabetes charities in the past two years (JDRF and Diabetes UK) I decided to run on behalf of a smaller charity this year. So, I have chosen the wonderful Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs UK, who train dogs to sniff out signs of a number of conditions, primarily cancer, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and Addison's crisis (a problem with the adrenal response system). These animals can be lifesavers in detecting early signd of cancer, or alerting people to potentially lif-threatening hypos - particularly in young children who may not be able to articulate how they feel - or people with poor hypo-awareness.

The charity are hoping to train 50 dogs over the next three years, so any money raised will be extremely welcome and put to excellent use! Please help if you can by clicking on the 'donate' button at the right of the screen or going to my just giving page.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wear your socks inside out!

Feet are important to everyone, and for people with diabetes extra care needs to be taken to ensure that there is no risk of damage or infection as this can be much more difficult to treat and heal than in a non-diabetic person. Personally, I was advised to wear socks without seams in order to reduce the possibility of them rubbing and causing blisters. Recently on the forum, however, I read that a person had been advised to wear their socks inside out – presumably for the same reason!

I spoke to my doctor, he’s a wily old fox,
And he gave me advice about how to wear socks.
Now, perhaps you’d expect that there’s only one way,
But apparently not, as he went on to say:
Since you’re diabetic (there’s a tick in the box)
Then you have to beware of all life’s little knocks,
So look after your feet, for they’re what help you stand,
And roam far and wide through this wonderful land!
It’s true that there’s nothing that’s so far from your mind,
For they’re much lower down than your chest or behind,
But follow my guidance and you’ll need both your boots
For perambulation and leisure pursuits!
Keep your feet warm, well-protected and clean,
And come in to see me if they swell or turn green!
Most important of all - and of this there’s no doubt –
Always remember, wear your socks inside out!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Birmingham forum Meet, September 2010

Had an absolutely brilliant day yesterday in Birmingham meeting up with fellow forum members! It was a lovely, sunny day to begin with, but sensibly we ensured we were comfortably esconced in the Penny Blacks bar when the inevitable rain descended. Really nice venue, with a lovely outlook across the canal - Birmingham has certainly improved since my last visit about 20 years ago! There was a really good turnout, and clearly a lot to talk about as everyone was busy chatting away for the next nine hours! Lovely bunch of people - thanks to all for coming, and a special thanks to Shiv who oganised it, and sheperded me back to the Megabus stop at the end!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Flock to Skipton!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately – I’ve been away from the connected world and don’t have the foresight to try and organise guest posts! I’ve been up in the lovely Yorkshire Dales visiting family and friends. The weather was superb, and I really felt quite a few pangs at having to leave all that lovely countryside when it came time to depart.

I don’t go away much, but it did occur to me how one very fundamental thing about holidays has changed forever for me since I was diagnosed. Before, the whole idea of a holiday was to ‘get away from it all’, to be footloose and fancy-free, without a care in the world, let yourself go…and a thousand other clichés that are clichés because they are true! Not any more, alas! I can’t leave my diabetes behind or forget about it, in fact I have to think about it even more as I am away from my usual routine, eating different meals at different times, different activities – all can have an impact on your diabetes, your insulin doses and of course, your blood sugar levels. I also had to get organised so that I wouldn’t forget any of my essential supplies. Extra worry at the airport in case someone challenged me about all those needles and mysterious liquids. Worry in case anything should go wrong, even though I wasn’t leaving the country – what if my pen broke or the insulin leaked or got too hot?

Thankfully, I didn’t forget anything, was waved through at the airport, had some lovely meals in lovely surrounding and with some fine people, oh! and a few colourful sheep sculptures! Here are a few pictures: