Well bugger me with a fishfork. I’m diabetic.
So the health check (see previous post) wasn’t a waste of time after all. The doctor did indeed want a chat but the usual small talk about football and the weather was snuffed out within the first minute and we were down to business. I knew something was up. He had his serious face on. “We’ve got your results back and there’s something we need to talk about”.
I just stared at him. A thousand things go through your head. Well they would wouldn’t they. Perhaps the tests had picked up my proposed voting intentions for the election and he wanted to convince me Cameron wasn’t such a good idea.
In the way that modern doctors do, he turned his computer monitor towards me and pointed at some data. I nodded and uttered the odd “hmmmmmm” and even an “I see at one stage” . But I wasn’t really taking it in.
“So……” he looked up “there are enough clues to indicate……”
“Type 2 diabetes”
To be honest I think I knew something was wrong. My slightly high blood sugar level at last year’s health check; occasional numbness in feet and hands; late night Galaxy comfort eating; slight trembling while cutting the grass and rushing indoors to devour anything (but mostly bananas and chocolate) as quickly as possible to feed the sugar lust of my bloodstream.
The rest of the consultation was a bit of a blur. There was talk of more blood tests; feet checks; opticians; diet pills. Looking back (and it was only three days ago) I still cannot remember too much about it.
And so I emerged from the surgery into the car park a different man. I was officially ill. Not that ill. It’s not cancer for the love of God. But for this jug eared Jock who’s enjoyed the high life for 45 years it was quite enough for the moment thankyou very much.
I had such conflicting emotions. On the one hand I was glad something potentially harmful had been spotted and could now be dealt with. On the other hand there was the horrific and numbing feeling that life was not going to be the same again. Ever.
For a few minutes I just sat in the car and felt very very lonely. Now I know how young mums feel when they are ejected from the maternity hospital into the cold and windy outside world with their new arrival. You leave a building with something you didn’t have when you went in. It was a very strange emotion.
I arrived home with the ‘everything you need to know about diabetes’ party pack of leaflets and pills. I sat at the kitchen table and put the kettle on. And then it started to kick on. My God could I still drink coffee? What about semi skimmed milk? What should I eat and drink from now on? My instant reaction was a mix of confusion and caution. I read all the information, took none of it in and tried to read it again. I went on the diabetes.org.uk website. I found the search box and typed in ‘miserable middle aged Scot needs comfort and reassurance’ but it drew a blank. Damn.
So what’s the fallout of all this? Well I have to lose weight (14 stone to 13 stone) and fast. I am taking diet pills called Orlistat. They look very pretty and are a charming duck egg blue colour. That beauty is matched by the sheer horror of what they do to your body with side effects so hideous I cannot reveal them in a family blog.
A new lifestyle is what’s needed. Some fine tuning of the diet; some major tuning of alcohol and on it goes. For life. There is no cure.
If I have to do something I do it properly so I have taken to the new way of living with enthusiasm and gusto. I am already losing weight and that is by cutting down on the ale and those naughty but nice in-between meal snacks. You would be amazed how they add up.
All in all I’m feeling OK now. One day at a time and all that. Support from my wife will be critical to all of this. She considers it a wake up call for us both. So far I’m losing weight quicker than she is and that’s not going down too well. Let battle commence!
Oh there is some good news. As the son of Yorkshire/Scottish parents saving the odd penny here and there is in my genetic make up. Therefore I was delighted to hear that prescriptions will be free from now on. Every cloud….
So if our paths do cross you’ll not see any real difference. I may be slightly thinner, resist that second pint and when it comes to that enormous portion of sticky toffee pudding and whipped cream I’ll quietly decline and be found gently sobbing in a dark room.
More on this eye-opening and revelatory journey to follow as and when. You may be interested to know that it’s National Diabetes Week on June 13. For once I won’t throw the leaflet in the bin. You shouldn’t either.