Sunday, 21 November 2010

Writer's Block!

Sorry that things appear to have dried up here recently! I had an inspired start to the month with some ridiculous subject matter to work with and then…writer’s block! Grrr!!!! Actually, I haven’t been totally silent, I have been writing another blog, A History of the Forum in 100 Posts. I stole the idea from BBC Radio 4’s ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’ but it seems to be a popular method of reviewing how the Diabetes Support forum has developed over the first two years of its existence. Members new to the forum can find out what sort of things have cropped up in the past, both good and bad, funny and horrific, and old timers can get all warm and nostalgic!

Hopefully, more poetry ideas will invade my head before too long!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Eye Hospital

I went to the Eye Hospital today as a follow-up to my retinal scan a few months ago. The doctors were concerned that my eyes showed ‘diabetic changes’ so wanted to investigate further. The initial part of the appointment was very much the same as having a retinal scan – drops in eyes to dilate pupils to the size of dinner plates, wait for them to take effect, then have retinal photographs taken. Having your pupils dilate like that has the inevitable consequence of making everything seem exceedingly bright, and also makes it impossible to focus on any text smaller than large billboard size.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I realised that the waiting room was liberally spread with reading matter of all varieties – a bookshelf, stacks of magazines on a table, and an extensive range of pamphlets covering a broad spectrum of physical ailments, their symptoms and treatment. Looking around at the other patients it was clear (even through blurred eyes!) that none of them was capable of reading any of this without the aid of the Hubble Space telescope! I don’t think they had quite thought this through…!

Now you’ve had your drops, please go and sit down,
Before long they will call out your name…
You just need to wait whilst your pupils dilate
And your retinas start to inflame!

But let me just show you, for it may be some time,
Our library of books old and new!
We’ve novels and thrillers, and can’t-put-them-downs,
There’s bound to be one to suit you!

Or if you prefer, there’s a fantastic range
Of magazines to flick through and browse!
There’s fashion and cars and gardening and golf,
Or farming if you’ve a passion for cows!

If that’s not to your taste, take a look over here
At our leaflets displayed in this rack!
There’s all you need know about things ‘down below’
Or ways you might injure your back!

In an EYE hospital nurse? Have you quite thought this through?
It ought to be no big surprise
For the reason we’re here is abundantly clear –
We’ve got something wrong with our eyes!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Whipworm a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

More bizarre research findings. Apparently, it’s been discovered that people infected with certain species of parasitic worm are less prone to autoimmune diseases and allergies, including Type 1 diabetes, asthma and allergy, Crohn’s Disease and Multiple Sclerois. What better programme, therefore, for the government to conduct than to intentionally infect the populace with these wondrous colon cohabitants? Imagine the huge reductions in healthcare costs if all these conditions could be averted! Surely a small incentive to the doctors in the community would encourage them to start prescribing without delay!

Given your family history
We think that it is critical
That you consume three times a day
A worm that’s parasitical!

A worm, you say? You must be mad!
What good would that do me?
Prescribing worms, good gracious –
What kind of doctor can you be?!!

I’ll have you know, dear patient,
I’m a doctor up to speed
On all the latest guidelines
That the government has decreed!

We have to get our patients
To consume three worms a day,
And if we do then they’ll come through
And triple all our pay!

Physician, keep your whipworms,
I’m afraid I must decline…
I suggest you take them back and stick them
Where the Sun don’t shine!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pig Sushi

Just when I think I have heard the most bizarre research being conducted into finding a cure for diabetes, along comes another, even more extraordinary notion! Pig sushi definitely makes it into my top ten potential cures! Apparently, according to this New Scientist article, scientists have been exploring the potential of using porcine islet cells coated in a seaweed-derived extract to transplant into humans. The pig cells used are taken from a special breed of pig which lives only on Auckland Island south of New Zealand, which has been isolated for over two centuries and is free from any organism likely to infect humans. The seaweed helps to overcome the possibility of the cells being rejected by the host body.

I await with wonder and eagerness the ‘cure’ that will trump Pig Sushi on my all-time list of diabetes cures!

Waiter, excuse me, but what’s this dish here?
It sounds quite revolting and decidedly queer!
For I always thought sushi was made out of fish,
But what you are offering is a quite different dish!

Ah yes sir, pig sushi – a specialty of ours,
And a dish that’s possessed of some magical powers!
It’s pork wrapped in seaweed from the Sargasso Sea,
And it cures diabetes (though there are no guarantees!)

But why so expensive for seaweed and pork?
Is it served with champagne and a solid gold fork?
Do they fly pigs from China on a business class fare?
Do they pluck strands of seaweed from a fair mermaid’s hair?

Not quite sir, but almost, for the pigs that we seek,
Live south of New Zealand in a herd that’s unique…
Some say they are tended by mystical elves,
And they don’t need a plane as they fly here themselves!

Well it sounds like a meal that is fit for a king!
Whoever could imagine such a remarkable thing?
Bring it at once! I can’t wait to be cured!
And there’ll be a large tip, of that be assured!

Monday, 1 November 2010


Unfortunately, there are a lot of very poorly-informed people around who are in positions where they can wield their power to make life difficult for us. Recently, a member of the forum recounted how she had gone for an appointment with a Job Centre official who proposed that, since using insulin might be a barrier to obtaining a job involving driving, why didn’t she stop using it and try diet and exercise instead? I’ll leave it to you to imagine the collective response of other forum members to this ridiculous and dangerous suggestion! Did the official think that using insulin was a ‘lazy’ way of managing diabetes? I despair!

Yes? Who’s next please? Ah, come and sit down!
It’s just a few questions, so no need to frown!
I’ve had lots of training, so you’ll be in good hands,
I’m well up on vacancies and market demands!

It says on your form you’re diabetes, type 1?
Can you just let me know how long that has gone on?
I know all about it – the same as old Uncle Bob,
But it never stopped him from getting a job!

Or was his type 2? Well, they’re pretty much the same –
They’re both diabetes, so what’s in a name?
But you’re using insulin to keep levels low?
Uncle Bob never used it, as far as I know…!

So why don’t you try? Give the insulin a miss?
You need to try harder – much harder than this!
Uncle Bob, I recall, only took the odd pill,
You could do the same, you just need the will!

What’s that? Oh that’s nonsense! Of course you won’t die!
You’ll never find out if you don’t even try!
If Uncle Bob could do it, then I think so can you,
Or I’ll cross you off our list without further ado!