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  1. And I ask did I get here?

    Tuesday, 27 September 2011

    I have Statcounter on my blog. And a very handy little thing it is too. It lets me know all sorts of interesting things, like where you're all reading from and all sorts of other fascinating bits of data, allowing me to feel a bit like a spy. Or a stalker. Whatever's your poison, I suppose. 

    One of the interesting bits of data it tells me is what search terms brought people here in the first place. Some of them are slightly more bizarre than others. For your delectation, some of the more puzzling ones include:

    Man screaming in fear - erm...ok.

    Really thin pancakes - those things that people call crepes when they're being poncy, but normal people call pancakes? 

    Timber logs being taken away - I really have no idea how this one brought someone here.

    Phillip Schofield and his little friend Gordon the Gopher - ....sure.

    All human beings talk about the weather. Yes. Yes they do. And if you're in Calamity Jane you might well sing about it.

    Wonder Woman is a babe.  No arguments here.

    Sexy girl surfing hot underwater hd - Again, no idea with this one.
    Cotton wool head and legs like lead - I hear you, friend. Been there. 

    Scary oranges - Yes, I hear they're utterly terrifying.

    And possibly my favourite - 

    Pigeon going to work

  2. Getting armed and ready

    Monday, 26 September 2011

    Let's just get this said right off the bat - diabetes sucks. It isn't any fun, and it's not something we ask for. I'm riding at a 'lovely' score of 14.8mmol/l (266) as I write this - I'm not exactly in the best mood, as you can imagine. However, I'm trying to put a positive spin on things as best I can. 

    I read the '15 measures' article from Diabetes UK the other day, and had to stop and think some. If you've not read the article (which I suggest you do, if you haven't), the basic premise is that there are 15 basic health checks that people with diabetes in the UK should get every year. What was rather horrifying was the statistics provided of the sheer thousands of people who were failing to access basic tests to help educate and prevent complications. Education and basic tests are far more cost efficient than treating complications later down the line. Really, there is no excuse not to be offering these checks to people. 

    I'm lucky. I really am. I've been offered, and taken up several diabetes education courses. Of course I'm pro-active about my health and my diabetes education. Not everyone is. But through asking, and I mean simply asking - I didn't have to beat down any doors - I've accessed carb counting courses, courses for 'newly' diagnosed people and pump training. I am aware how lucky that makes me. Not every area offers these things. On the whole I've never had to fight for my test strips. I pray that never changes. Through being educated, and given the right resources, I can know that my sugars were at that 14.8. I know how to correct and what to correct by, rather than leaving it up there. This has to be a good thing, surely? This is the application of preventative measures! This is how you enable people!
    On the flip side,though, the problem with having all these checks done is that sometimes the results tell you something you really don't want to hear. I reference you back to the whole 'chubbygate' situation. I didn't want to hear that. It hit a raw nerve for me. But my consultant wasn't to know how my weight has been an issue for me for pretty much as long as I can remember. And I'm trying to do something about it. You bet I am. It's not easy though, and I'm sure many people out there can relate. 

    It's not just chubbygate though. I've been going round and round in my head about how I was going to bring this one up. I don't want to make something out of nothing, but it got to me. This is going back over a month, to the end of July. I had just got back from working a week long event as part of my job. Believe me when I say I was tired when I got back home. I found a letter waiting for me at my door, which I knew from looking at the envelope was from the retinal screening service. I wasn't worried to open it - the rather lovely young woman who'd taken my pictures had said that it all looked fine at the time.

    The letter was saying something different. Minor background changes. Apparently nothing to worry about, and nothing that required anyone doing anything. We'll see you in a year. 

    I would very much like to meet the person who reads that letter and doesn't worry. I'm sorry, but they're not human. I was tired, it hit me from nowhere. I dumped my bag at the top of my stairs, lay on my bed and started crying. Was I going blind? Was this my fault? I'd only been at this whole diabetes game for just over two years, and I was already getting this letter? The one I wasn't hoping to see for another ten, fifteen, twenty years, if ever? Had I done this to myself? Could I fix it?

    Well, of course, I got past that eventually. And do you know what? Being upset was ok. I keep telling myself that. Staying that way, though, is just self pity. And no-one likes that person. I certainly don't. I've since been for a standard, 'real-person' eye test. Part of that was the non-drops version of the retinal photograph. I talked to my optician about what I'd been worrying about, and he talked me through everything. Seems that if it were his own eye, he wouldn't have been concerned; it's the sort of thing that can disappear as quickly as it came. Turns out I needed to get glasses for cinema and driving, which I wasn't expecting, but what can you do? Most of my family wears glasses (or should - but I won't go there), and it wasn't like I was completely shocked. That's 'real-person' stuff, and nothing to do with me and my D. 

    Getting that letter, and 'chubbygate' were a real punch to the gut. I didn't want them, and I didn't really see it coming. But in the long run, I'm probably the better for knowing. You can't see your way through the darkness, and you can't work with information you don't know. It hurts, and sometimes it feels personal, or like people are rubbing salt into the wound, but I've been thinking and asking myself lately whether I would rather not know these things, and carry on blind, or know where I stand and what I'm working with. Personally, I'd go with option B. So to anyone out there who might be reading this who isn't getting all their '15 measures', please do yourself a favour. Make some calls, knock some doors down. Be your own advocate and your own enabler. Get what is rightfully yours to inform yourself and arm yourself against a disease that, let's face it, sucks and isn't going anywhere. We need all the tools available in our arsenal, so let's make sure we get our hands on them.

  3. Victory is mine!

    Thursday, 15 September 2011

    And we have a WINNER!

    Oh yes, oh yes, ladies and gentlemen. It is Thursday 15th September, and today, I got rid of the sharps bins! 

    As I put them out on the doorstep last night, I was starting to think that it would never happen. I was convinced that when I checked if they'd gone before I went to work, they would still be there. But, lo and behold, they had gone. I didn't quite believe it, to be honest with you. My landlord (perfectly understandably) didn't want to leave a huge bag like that on the doorstep all day, so I said I would bring it back in if it was still there when I checked. But when it wasn't, I thought maybe he'd taken it back inside. But oh joy, oh wonder, when I got back from work, it was no-where to be seen!

    Hopefully this is a sign of better things to come. You can, however, rest assured that I plan to write to my council over the shockingly rubbish service I got off them up until this point. In happier news, though, I would like to present the ultimate solution to finding something the right size for a travel sharps container. I've found it darn near impossible to find something big enough to fit an inset in. But then it came to me...

    Miniature Pringles cans! Throw a handy roll of LX tape into the mix and you've got yourself the perfect disposal vehicle. Plus - Pringles! What's not to love?

    Score one for me, and score one for just common sense...

  4. The Legend of the Sharps Man

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    It's like some diabetes urban legend. Say his name four times into the telephone, and he might appear to you that night...

    Sharps man...

    Sharps man...

    Sharps man...

    Do you dare say it one more time?

    I did.

    See the terror! Hear the horror! It's a tale that will leave you trembling with fear!

    Or just deeply, deeply annoyed. For me, it was the latter. 

    Something I've heard over and over again from other D-friends is the trouble they've had getting rid of their sharps bins. I've had some trouble myself, but in two years, I had only had to sort out one collection...

    until now. (Can't you just hear the dramatic sound effects?)

    Not because I don't fill up sharps boxes - because I do. I just don't like to call for mine to get picked up with just one box, so I save them up to try and make fewer collections. 

    I know some people can hand in their boxes at their GP's surgery. Some people can hand them in at the chemist. Some people have to take them to hospitals. I've heard all sorts of different variations. For me, I have to have mine collected by specialist waste management. Which I have to arrange via the council. 

    Now, the last time I tried to sort this out, I called up the council to arrange a pick-up, expecting to leave my boxes on the doorstep, and for waste management to come and collect. Oh no, no, no. Can't do that. Health and safety, don't you know? Well ok, fair enough. What am I supposed to do then? Well, they collect between 7am and noon, you'll just have to listen for the doorbell. 

    Well there are several things wrong with that. Firstly, I have to be at work. I have to keep my holiday days for using to cover my MA classes. I can't be using them for you to collect sharps! Secondly, even if I was prepared to do that, I can't. I live in an attic flat of my landlord's house. I have no access to the front door for entry and exit, and I can't hear the doorbell. So I can't do that. So last time, the Sharps Man and I arranged for me to take my boxes to work, and he would walk over and pick them up. I work in the city centre, and not far from the council offices. Which I appreciated him doing, and that was fine. Everything was lovely. And since he was doing me a favour, I decided I would save up my boxes until there was a reasonable amount, to save him trips. So I have three 5 litre bins that I've used since I started pumping, and three 1 litre bins. That's 18 litres worth of sharps, which I carried over to work, and then made my first call.

    Sharps Man!

    This first time round, things seemed straightforward enough. I called on Thursday (18th August), and he said he would come and pick them up between 10:00 and 14:00 on Monday or Tuesday. Everything's good, I'm happy, the world is well.

    Until a week later. Still no collection.
    Sharps Man!

    Answerphone this time. I leave a message. It's just about to be Bank Holiday weekend. I say that I know no-one is going to pick them up Monday, but could someone please come on Tuesday and get them? This is where I am, this is my name. Thank you very much. 

    Then it's the end of Tuesday. Still no collection. It becomes Friday. Still no collection. It's been two weeks by this point. I am annoyed.

    Sharps Man!

    Answerphone again. I make it very clear this time that I have been waiting for two weeks now, and I am not impressed. If there is a problem with this, could someone please call me? If not, this is my name, this is where I am, and I do not want to have to call about this a fourth time. I use my stern voice. I consider the matter settled. 

    It's 15:00 on Monday. Still no collection. I am royally narked off. I make my fourth call...

    Sharps Man!

    Except it's not Sharps Man. It's Sharps Woman on the phone. Sharps Man 'is on annual leave'. I am not impressed, and suggest that in that case, they might want to put a message on his answerphone saying the service is not operational. Apparently it is operational. Then why has no-one called me back, when this is the fourth time I've had to contact them? They don't seem to have a good answer for that one. I tell her that I've been waiting since 18th August. It is now September 5th. I am not happy.

    Would I like to arrange a collection? Well, I explain the situation - he was coming to me, I can't leave them at home, because you won't let me do that, and I work during the day, etc, etc. Well it seems that you can't authorise anyone to come and pick them up. Health and safety reasons. I need to take them back home and leave them in a bag on the doorstep.


    So that thing that you told me I wasn't allowed to do, because it was against health and safety regulations, is now the thing you WANT me to do? So, you can't pick them up until a week on Thursday? You won't come and pick them up at work this time? Well, thank you VERY much. I guess I'll have to do that then, won't I, since I have no other way to get rid of them. I do point out how annoyed I am, and though I'm not trying to be awkward, you're making this very difficult and overly complicated. You tell me that you're sorry, of course. Despite the fact you don't seem in the least bit concerned. 

    I imagine you think that because it's only 'drugs waste', I can wait. What does it matter to you? What does it matter that I have to jump through your stupid hoops, stressing myself out for something I don't even want to do in the first place? It doesn't matter, of course. It doesn't matter that I'm angry, and upset, and feel like I'm being a huge nuisance. It doesn't matter that I'm convinced that I'll leave those boxes on the doorstep, and you won't take them. For health and safety reasons, I'm sure. 

    I wonder if I'll be seeing Sharps Man when I turn out the lights tonight?

  5. Homing Pigeons

    Friday, 2 September 2011

    Life's a funny old thing, don't you think? I do, anyway. I never planned to take any sort of hiatus from blogging - I've had plenty to say, but every time I opened up blogger to write a new entry? Nothing. Absolutely nothing would happen. I don't know why. Having thought about it, I think I might well have been on some sort of overload. A bit like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit if anyone remembers that? Too much input. 

    It sounds like I'm a bit of a broken record, but I've had a lot going on, with work, and being at the Edinburgh Fringe. Everything just seemed to feel like it was building and building, and piling on more and more until I got to the point where I just wanted to hide. I didn't really want to talk to anyone in the DOC, but then got upset with myself because I couldn't find anyone to talk to. I felt awful for neglecting my blog, my exercise, for trying to ignore all the things I would normally do. I just wanted it all to stop.

    Of course, it doesn't. It never does. But when I was stuck right in the middle of it all, I called out to a friend. Being the angel that she is (and she KNOWS who she is), and the absolute rock she probably doesn't even realise she is to me, she sent me back a message telling me not to worry. Things like the blog didn't matter because my readership 'will come back when you do'. And in my heart, I know she's right. It'll all get back to normal. I'm talking to you wonderful people again. I'm easing myself into stuff to say again. So I'll say that I'm back properly this time.

  6. I was planning to post every day this month. Not quite Nablopomo it, but more or less. Since I've not been posting, I've been storing up so many things that I want to say. But for today, I'm going to try not to say too much, and speak in a different way.

    I didn't do Diabetes Art Day last year. But this year, I thought I'd give it a go. I had some help with it from Andrew (for which I'm very grateful)

    Read what you will into it. I know what it means to me. I'd love to know what you think. But I'll have more to say tomorrow. 

    I love you all.