When talking about everyday words that, given context, can also be rude, George Carlin once observed: “You can prick your finger, but don’t finger your prick!” This is a story of how pricking my finger could potentially have saved my life.
And has also become a colossal annoyance.
It begins about a week and a half ago. And somehow I got a small cut on my little finger. A tiny prick, if you will. I don’t know how, I didn’t even notice it when it happened. But over the weekend, I saw that it had become infected. Annoyed, I booked an appointment with my GP and took time off work to see her and get some antibiotics.
So far, so good.
While I’m there, my GP says “Hmm, it’s been a while since you last had some blood tests. And it’s a bit unusual for someone so young to be getting bacterial infections.” Someone so young! Lady, I thought, 36 is NOT young! “I want you to go and get these blood tests tomorrow,” she says. So I take some time off work the next day, and give two beautiful vials of my cherry-red life juice to the pathology nurse.
Later that day, my GP rang and told me to come see her as soon as possible. My blood glucose levels were at 16.6 mmol/L – a healthy person’s should be roughly between 4 and 5.5 mmol/L.
So yes, dear reader, I’m a Type 2 Diabetic.
Many people, upon hearing such news, would be distraught. They might be overcome with emotions – anger, fear, sorrow. But not me. To me, this is all just one giant annoyance. An inconvenience. Terry Pratchett used to describe his Alzheimer’s as an “embuggerance”, and that’s exactly what this diagnosis is for me.
And I can afford to be annoyed by this – I’m fairly lucky (if luck can have anything to do with it). I’m not showing any real symptoms (My GP’s exact words: “How you’re not feeling absolutely awful is beyond me!”). And of course, there are far worse illnesses to have than diabetes. With significant changes to diet and lifestyle, and some medication, I can beat this. I went on a health kick several years ago and dropped nearly 10kg. I’ve seen various specialists already, with appointments to see more in the near future including a diabetes educator and a dietitian. But I also have two key weapons in my arsenal: the ability to turn on the willpower and determination when I set my mind to something, and a freaking amazing support network of friends and family who can encourage and assist me. And a surprising number of them have kicked sugar in the balls. So, keto or near-keto friends, I may be asking for low-GI suggestions in the future!
Like I said, I’m seeing various experts, learning things and making plans on an ongoing basis. But for now I’m taking Metformin (the standard first-line diabetes drug that lowers blood sugar and increases sensitivity to insulin), monitoring my blood glucose levels will a wicked cool little gadget, and significantly reducing my portion sizes while increasing my amount of exercise. See! an embuggerance.
So, I guess the moral of this story is don’t get fat, be active, watch the sugar intake, and have regular checkups with your GP – even if you feel fine. And remember: you can finger your prick, but you should also prick your finger!