Maybe it’s a phase I’m going through but I seem incredibly busy, it’s dangerously close to that irritating phrase beloved of retirees, Ooh, I don’t know how I found time to go to work. So it is for me at the moment. I have blogs lined up ready to go then something happens – like The Eagles concert and I feel compelled to write about it. And now my diabetes review which I feel the need to write about all be it for different reasons. Silly I know but it means I haven’t told you about going to the Test match, or my jazz classes, the latest meeting of Yorkshire vineyards. Why am I writing this? Well, because, as indicated, I’ve just come back from my yearly review of my diabetes. And it was bad, bad, bad, bad. And I need to write as therapy. I need to make light of my misery. I haven’t written anything about my diabetes for probably six or more months because obviously it’s not a problem, right? Wrong.
And the reason the review was so bad? Well this is my first check up since we got the dogs. Why did we get the dogs? So I would take regular exercise, in all weathers type thing and this would then improve my readings blood sugar-wise. That was J’s (my very own diabetic nurse) mantra to me on the last visit – exercise, Peter, exercise that’s the key. Well, excuse me but it doesn’t seem that is quite the facts of the matter. Not the way things have turned out at all. I’ve had 9 months of walking the pups for an hour every day and the bloody results have actually got worse. Oh bugger, how’s that for a kick in the teeth self-esteem wise?
No pleasantries, no – you look healthy, from J or, that’s a nice tan, (people have commented), but then she’d seen the graph and so had I, the sharp upward zigzag boded ill. So how do you think you’re doing she asked in that manner designed to get the client to bring up the bad news – well I’m buggered if that graph is anything to go by – I didn’t say it but that’s what I thought. I said ‘not good judging the graph’. J made a belated attempt to cover the graph on her computer screen, but how do you think you’re doing? And that’s when it all came out.
OK, it is just possible that I have allowed the exercise to take my eye off the ball and I have become a bit complacent about what I eat. You know the kind of thing – it’s OK for me to eat this whole bag of boiled sweets and three Mars Bars because I’m getting plenty of exercise. Do you walk vigorously or stroll J asks me straight away. There are no compliments by way of warm up. No, oh, well done you for following my advice, that’s great. I do stroll a lot but I’m not telling her that. It varies depending on the walk I say and that’s all you need to know. Sugars, Peter, ah, is that a new mantra I hear heading down the track? What do you eat daily in terms of sugar, J asks? I reply that I eat one bun a day with my coffee.
This is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts, otherwise known as an outright lie. I can’t give this – the bun – up because this is what we have (actually only me) when I sit down with my beloved Mrs Summerhouse, making it sound like morning coffee (and bun) is the only time during the day when we meet up and that to give up my bun would somehow undermine the very essence, the very bedrock of our marriage. It’s only one bun I whine. That’s not trying hard J says straight off. Well fuck this for a game of soldiers, I’m not having her tell me how hard I’m trying even if I am lying through my teeth. After all I could have been telling the truth. No wonder I am indignant.
I’m angry now that, based on my lie, she is accusing me of not trying very hard. I dig my heels in. I’m not giving up my bun, I hear myself say. It’s my only pleasure of the day. To give up my bun (not to mention the odd slice of cake, a few biscuits, croissants, etc.) would be like cutting off my right arm. I didn’t actually say this last bit out loud but I thought it. You think I’m being a bit dramatic? A bit childish? No, good, neither did I. But J outflanks me again. Do either you or your wife bake? She asks. My wife does I say, feeling even more like a very low form of pond life. Excellent, she says and goes off to another office to find a magazine (the very one in this blog – dratted thing) about healthy eating for people with type 2 diabetes. Oh joy, can it get any worse? Well, yes, actually it can.
For the next month I want you to cut out all ‘obvious; (her word not mine) sugars – I presume she means the two pound bags of Tate and Lyle I pour down my throat daily – and come back in a month and we will see if you need to go on insulin. For some reason that I have never quite been able to fathom I have a dread of being, here’s the phrase, ‘insulin dependent’. If this happens to me then I know that my life, as I know it, Jim, has come to an end. I wheeled out the ‘there are no facts in diabetes, only opinions and they differ’ line. Jacqui stares at me, her dark eyes bottomless pits of disdain and disgust. I decided not to pursue this line of defence any longer. So, lacking anything further in the ‘I can’t possibly do that’ line because God never meant it to be so, or my last nurse said it was alright to eat chocolate (she did actually although when it a last ditch effort to claw back a little self-esteem, J told me she would like to meet this nurse and give her her opinion on the matter) I give in. OK, OK, I give in. For one month no ‘obvious’ sugars, my sarcasm /irony lost on J. And there it stands, starting from today. You will have to read the next diabetes blog to see how all this worked out but I have to say, after the blow I’ve suffered today I am not optimistic.
You know it’s sad that all my carefully laid plans for a healthy retirement have gone awry. At the time it seemed fool proof – retire, get dogs, walk dogs, get exercise, reduce blood sugar levels, take control, be happy camper. Well, maybe not the last one but all the rest and now here I am feeling a little bit low in the self-esteem department. Retirement, I felt sure it was going to be a perfect life.
PS.I always fall out with my diabetic nurses sooner or later as they interfere / offer constructive advice – take your pick. The harder they push the more I dig in my heels, some people are like that. The best course of action is to repeat – your choice, your choice. In retirement I haven’t changed.