Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Hallowe'en Diagnosis

Come in, come in, my little one, the spell has taken hold!
For though the sweat drips from your brow, it seems your flesh is cold…
And sickness grips your stomach such that nothing there remains,
Your blood and urine honey sweet, and acid fills your veins!

But fear ye not, my little one, a poultice I will make
To stop the shaking of your limbs and thirst you cannot slake!
So lie down on the feathered bench whilst I prepare the charm
And soon the anguish in your mind will be replaced with calm!

Before I act to make you well, a contract you must sign,
And whilst you hold to all its rules the spell remains benign!
But should you stray but for a day, then havoc will you reap,
And it may be that demons come to take you in your sleep!

So take this spike to pierce your flesh, should e’er you wish to eat,
If you would save your eyes and heart, and long retain your feet!
The juices in this vial serve to pacify your food
Without it, live a hellish life, with foul and blackened mood!

You must perform the ritual till dawns the far off day
The curse is lifted from your kind, and only then you may
Tear up the contract, cast away the sharp and bloodied spike,
Then go out to the restaurant and order what you like!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Beware the Grape!

Advice given to people newly-diagnosed with diabetes, particularly Type 2 where no medication may be required, can sometimes be a little on the inadequate side. One forum member related that her only advice on being diagnosed was ‘don’t eat grapes’. So, why are we searching for a cure for diabetes when the solution is so simple? Instead of trying to cure diabetes we should be trying to cure people of the compulsion to eat grapes!

It seems you’re diabetic - now, I know that that’s not nice,
But there’s no need to panic, just follow my advice!
It’s quite OK to fill yourself with strawberries and bananas,
But banish from your life for good the grape and the sultana!

The world is spending far too much in searching for a cure,
Instead they should be spending it repelling grape allure!
For that’s the only rule you need to keep yourself in shape –
It doesn’t matter what you eat if you reject the grape!

I know that when you see a grape you feel a strange compulsion
To eat a bunch for every lunch – but treat them with revulsion!
Forego the humble currant and dismiss the wizened prune,
Then forget you’re diabetic, you’ll be practically immune!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Ode to a Dumpling Dear

My poem for National Poetry Day!

There lived far off, in distant lands
A maiden fair, but plump
All ripe in bloom, and comfy was
The flesh upon her rump.

She lived her life in bliss pursuit
Of puddings, cakes and pies
And heedless she about the growth
Of poundage on her thighs.

Her face rotund would smile at all
The pastry cream delights
The soup suffused with lard and oil
And sugary, chocolate bites.

And then, one day, into her life
A stranger chanced to pass
A Northerner, uncouth and rude,
Remarked upon the lass:

"My word my girl, I do believe
You've set my heart a-thumping
For ne'er have I seen such a mass
I needs must call you 'Dumpling'!"

"Yes, Dumpling Queen, my Dumpling Dear!
You've made me all a-tizzy,
I warrant that you keep a league
Of chefs and bakers busy!"

These words at first did not connect
So strange his ways and speech
What could he mean? What did he say?
A whale upon a beach?

But slowly, surely, as she thought
And pictured in her mind
An explanation formed and grew -
He wasn't being kind!

A raging fire began to burn
Within her heaving breast
That rose and fell with every breath
Her inner wrath confessed.
Her angry heart beat faster
Could her clothes withstand the test?
Pounding and rebounding
'Gainst the fabric of her vest.

And with a roar, she then declared,
"No, I shall never rest
Until the day I rid the world
Of this base, uncultured pest!"

"No more shall I be 'Dumpling Girl',
The subject of such jest!
Henceforth I shall be 'Lovely Girl'
The fairest and the best!"

She looked around, but looked in vain,
For Northern man had fled!
The sight of all that quivering flesh
Had filled the man with dread…

And as the fire within her burned
And she searched far and wide
The quantity of flesh she bore
Did inch, by inch, subside!

Each minute past saw ounces melt
And she grew sleek and slim
Diminishing the wrath she felt
Her fury growing dim.

"Perhaps this Northern man was kind
To emphasise my girth -
Perhaps his tender parts should not
Be bruised for all they're worth."

"Maybe just a well-placed knee
When he suspects it least
Will compensate sufficiently
For being such a beast?"

When next they met, the Northern lad
Could scarce believe his eyes
Could this fair sight before him now
Be the product of those pies?

He gasped at first, and then he groaned
For barely did he see
As the region that would hurt the most
Connected with her knee…

We wonder were her model looks
The reason for the cries
The high-pitched voice, the curious gait,
The water in his eyes?

No more would she be 'Dumpling Girl'
This lovely lass so light
And he would nurse his bruises
In the small hours of the night….

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Doctor will see you now...

I’ve been reading too many stories lately about people being called in to see the doctor and when they get there he’s got no idea what the appointment is for, has the wrong notes which he hasn’t read anyway, and makes wholly inappropriate assumptions or rude and thoughtless comments. Why do such people join the medical profession in the first place? Not for the money, surely?

Now, why have you made an appointment?
‘You asked me if I would come in!’
And why did we ask you to do that?
'I can’t think what the reason might have been!'

Well, let’s have a look at your records…
I see that you’ve had a few tests.
That must be why we want to see you -
To decide what to do for the best!

This test says you’ve just become pregnant!
That’s odd for an eighty year old!
I must say that you’re looking well though,
It’s the hormones that do that, I’m told!

Ah! This test says you’re diabetic!
I’m guessing you must be Type 2,
For Type 1s, it has been my experience,
Are much slimmer and younger than you!

What’s that, you’ve been Type 1 for decades?
You’re not pregnant because you are male?
Well then, please would you go, for I’m busy you know,
And I don’t have the time for your tales!

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Dangers of Left Nostril Neglect

The world of health is truly bizarre. Common problems that have afflicted mankind through the ages have engendered many weird and wonderful theories about their origins and how they may be prevented or cured. One of my favourites of the day has to be the prevention of diabetes through the practice of ‘Nadi Sodhana’ - the yoga technique of alternate nostril breathing! Apparently, the yogis have known for centuries about the ‘nasal cycle’, whereby humans favour one nostril over the other for breathing. The preferred nostril in a healthy individual apparently changes over a period of about two hours, but should one nostril exceed its allotted time significantly then dire consequences can ensue!

Breathing predominantly via the right nostril is apparently one of the major causes of diabetes! But wait, you can’t escape by favouring your left nostril, for this will put you at risk of developing asthma! Fortunately, both diseases can be avoided by learning to optimise your nasal cycle. I feel this should be taught in every school…!

Madam, please excuse me, if I may be so bold,
I’ve noticed how you’re breathing, because the day is cold!
The vapours you’re emitting cloud the autumn air,
Revealing that you’re risking things you may not be aware!

What nonsense sir, please leave me be, and let me on my way!
You don’t know me from Adam, what a stupid thing to say!
I learned to take in oxygen since I took my first breath
And I don’t intend to change my ways until I meet with death!

Forgive me madam, but you must! Or one day you might find
Your life afflicted by disease – the diabetic kind!
For you don’t use your passages to optimum effect:
The right one is in favour, but the left one you neglect!

My passages? How dare you sir! How could you be so rude?
Your language, sir, is intimate, and borders on the lewd!
Oh madam, let me clarify! I’m speaking of your nose!
For when you take in oxygen, that’s mainly where it goes!

You need to learn to use the left, and I can teach you how!
I’d like to stick my finger up – that’s if you will allow?
Be on your way you awful man, or we will come to blows,
And you’ll find trouble breathing when I spifflicate your nose!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Too old for Type 1!

A member related on the forum today how his practice nurse had insisted to him that he couldn’t possibly have Type 1 diabetes as he was too old! Erm…I was 49 when I was diagnosed, and recently a new member joined having been diagnosed Type 1 at the age of 65! No doubt this is a cunning money-saving exercise – by reclassifying the adult Type 1s as Type 2 the doctors can withdraw test strips and other medication on the basis that only insulin-dependent Type 1s need them!

Note: there isn’t a word of truth in any of the following poem!

Mr Jenkins? Your appointment has been rearranged,
And since you’ll have turned 40, your diagnosis has changed!
We know that we told you that you were Type 1,
But now you’ve got older, I’m afraid that is wrong!

Type 1 diabetes affects only the young,
And you’ve got a foot on the middle-aged rung –
On the ladder of life, I’m afraid you’re too high,
And your fountain of youth is decidedly dry!

So, because you’re too old, you’ve been reclassified,
There’s no point in complaining, though many have tried!
You’ll be very pleased to learn that you’re a Type 2,
That’ll be cheaper for us, if not better for you!

You won’t need to test, so you won’t need those strips,
And you’ll no longer suffer those low sugar dips!
We’re withdrawing your insulin, you’ll be diet-controlled…
What’s that? Don’t blame me sir – it’s because you’re too old!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Something doesn’t smell right!

As I’m running on behalf of Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs in the Great South Run this year, I thought I would pen a little poem about a typical scenario where a faithful furry friend helps his owner realise that his sugar levels are dropping low…(if you like the poem, please sponsor me at )

What’s that Towser? Please leave me be!
Stop licking my hand, and pawing my knee!
I’ve already fed you, so it’s surely not that –
If I give you more biscuits you’ll only get fat!

We’ve been to the park and played with your ball,
You chased a black cat till it jumped up a wall!
Your legs must be tired, why don’t you just rest?
Go lie in your basket, and don’t be a pest!

Go bother a neighbour and leave me alone!
Go sniff your bottom, or bury your bone!
I’m getting quite tetchy, I think you can tell –
Is there something wrong? Is it something you smell?

My goodness, dear Towser! It seems you are right!
Oh thank you my friend for detecting my plight!
My blood sugar’s low, and you knew straight away!
In future I’ll know what you’re trying to say!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Food glorious food!

One of the main problems with diabetes, putting aside the horrific and debilitating complications that it may bring, is that it affects one fundamental aspect of your daily life – eating. You may be able to get away without eating at all for a day or two, although that isn’t to be recommended, but sooner or later you are going to have to face food. With that comes the inescapable fact that everything you eat, whatever it is, needs some consideration – ideally careful consideration. Principally, you are concerned with the amount of carbs in the food, and this will then be further refined by a consideration of the type of carbohydrate and what other food types may be consumed with it. The amount of fat is a consideration, particularly saturated fat, as it is thought to contribute to cardio-vascular disease – something diabetics are already at greater risk of- plus, it will delay digestion of carbohydrate. Salt is another consideration: diabetics are advised to keep their blood pressure at tighter and lower levels than the non-diabetic public, and salt can contribute to high blood pressure.

So, there is no escaping having to think about diabetes each time you eat, if you are to succeed in keeping your blood glucose at healthy levels. Most people can live with this most of the time, but on occasion the fever grips you and you feel compelled to rebel – to eat all the stuff you shouldn’t and reassert your authority over the dastardly disease!

It was with this in mind, therefore, that I recently decided to have ‘Day of Indulgence’. I was prepared to inject whatever vast amounts of insulin were required to cover the outrageously sinful food I intended to consume, although I hadn’t really set out much of a plan about what that food would consist of. First meal of the day was a ‘blowout breakfast’ – egg, bacon, beans, fried bread, extra bread and a large mug of tea:

By lunchtime I wasn’t particularly hungry, so settled for two slices of melted cheese on toast, a chocolate cream ├ęclair and ten pieces of dark chocolate:

Evening meal was a large Cornish pasty with chips, peas and carrots, followed by another chocolate cream ├ęclair and a strawberry Muller rice:

Surprisingly, my blood sugar levels were fine throughout the day. I took measurements before each meal and two hours post meal and never rose higher than 8.9 mmol/l (160 mg/dl). This was probably due to the large amount of fat in each meal, which would have caused the food to digest more slowly. I was surprised also that, following my instincts only, I had indulged mainly by eating fatty foods rather than sweet ones – although obviously there were sweet foods consumed. I had imagined beforehand that I would want to sate my cravings for whole cakes or boxes of jelly babies, but apparently not!

This is not an experiment I intend to repeat in the near future. Despite ‘missing’ this type of food generally, I found that, in practice, it was far too fatty for my palate these days, so it looks like I have trained myself to be a ‘good’ diabetic!