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  1. WDD14 and Cinderella's pumpkin

    Friday, 15 November 2013

    I talked recently about going down to London for World Diabetes Day. I did. and it was great.

    I got to London on the evening of the 13th, which meant I got to join in with a JDRF Type 1 Discovery Evening - I'd always wanted to go to one, but travel and finances have always prevented me. Boy was I glad to be there! The speakers were excellent, and included Fredrick Debong, from mySugr,  Kyle Rose (of Team Type 1, Delta PM Diabetes and about a million other places), an update on artificial pancreas research, and diabetes poetry. I ever got to plug my show quickly, and hand out a few flyers and press releases. Oh and a free bar. Excellent. 

    On the 14th, I woke up, and joined in with the #wddchat13 24 chat, still lying in my sleeping bag on my friend's settee, with her cat still staring at me.

    And we were off! I had people responding to me, loads of which had already been going for a couple of hours already. It was great. As were my levels that morning. 7.6 (136) - I'll take that happily. I threw on my Hello Kitty onesie, and got on the underground.I'll be honest that, with my tube-anxiety, I thought I handled myself very well all day in that regard!

    I met up with Shelley, the wonderful founder of Circle D and we hit the streets. We weren't really trying to collect money, we were more about making people look at us, and hopefully ask questions. We got into some great conversations with members of a London bus tour company, an owner of a souvenir stall, a taxi driver and a bunch of commuters. We joined in on a JDRF coffee morning. Then I sadly had to part ways with my other Type Onesies, who had to go back to work. I found myself hypo in a coffee shop, and whilst I was waiting to come back up again, I joined back in with the chat.

    I dropped in and out throughout the day. I went walking down the river and took pictures of buildings that had gone blue for the evening. It was great. I got back on the train to go home, and chatted away. As I pointed out...

     I really did feel tuned in and switched on throughout the day. I love the DOC, I really do, and I've made some wonderful friends over the past few years, but I do think that my location sometimes makes it difficult to join in things like DSMA. Much as I want to join in, I can't ever really justify staying awake to participate, because there's always work the next morning. So the 24 hour chat was a revelation to me. I met all sorts of new people, who cared about what I had to say, and I was fascinated with their answers to the questions. As I travelled back, I was tweeting away. And then it went past midnight. World Diabetes Day was over for me. 

    And the world continued. And my levels were RUBBISH by the time I got home. I was not enjoying the glue-mouthed 17's (300's). And that's the thing, I supposed. WDD is just one day - there's still the other 364 every year, where there's less visibility for us as a community, there's less of everything. Or is there?

    When midnight hits, and we leave the ball, we're still like Cinderella. We might have to put our ball gowns away, and our carriage might be a pumpkin again, but we're still there despite all the finery being put away. And we've still got a job to do, and it's an important one. We've still got to keep supporting each other, managing to stay alive, and stay strong. Even if it's in a slightly less celebrated way for the other 364 days.

  2. On the road again

    Saturday, 2 November 2013

    Just can't wait to get on the road again...

    Well, on the train, anyway!

    I'd been trying to make this work for a while now, but you can imagine how thrilled I was that shortly after my first Blue Fridays picture for November was taken, all the pieces fell into place to send me southwards for World Diabetes Day!

    Hoorah! Now, I will admit I am far from the biggest fan of London. I'm a northern girl through and through - it's noisy, dirty, busy and expensive, and there aren't enought trees. But many of the people I love tend to end up there, so I try to go when I can. But it's been a while. 

    So when my wonderful friend Shelley, of Circle D fame said that she was running a Type Onesie Day for World Diabetes Day, I wanted to do everything I could to be there. And yesterday, all the required bits came together to make it all systems go. So I shall be donning a Hello Kitty onesie and parading around the streets of London, praying that it doesn't rain! 

    What is also wonderful is that it's turned out that due to timings of travel, I will be in the Big Smoke in time to join in the London Type One Discovery Evening on the 13th. I've never been in the right place at the right time to join in one, so it seems things are very much on my side at the moment! UK DOC, do let me know if you're going to be along, so I can say hi!

    On a side note, it would be great to see your photos filling my inbox soon. In case you missed it last time, I'm very keen to end my show with hope, and would love you to be involved. I am putting together a video, which I am inviting you to be a part of. If you would like to be part of the video, all you need to do is take a picture of yourself holding a sign with your name on it, and the words 'I live in hope'. Then email it to me. Simple as that.  I really hope to see your pictures soon so I can start putting this together for a brilliant end to things!

  3. Taking the stage

    Wednesday, 23 October 2013

    So, back in May - all the way back in Diabetes Blog Week I teased about a project that I had in the pipeline. No, really I did. And since then, I've been working away behind closed doors, and letting my ideas bubble away. 

    Now I'm ready to share them, and I hope, DOC, that you'll be pleased with what I'm planning. 

    Over the past four years that I've been part of the DOC, I've seen an amazing array of advocacy, from the ridiculous to the sublime, which have all been beautiful and marvellous in their own special ways. What has made them all so individually wonderful and perfect in my eyes is that all the people involved used what they were great at to make them brilliant. Which has had me thinking. What do I think I am good at? What are my skills?

    Most of you probably know that I write for the stage. I've been doing it seriously since 2005, and I've been fortunate enough to see several of my scripts brought to life. But before I ever thought about writing, it was performing that I loved. I still love it - I used to perform professionally, so I certainly hope I still love it! I found myself thinking about the skills I have, and how I could use them in advocacy.

    I've been planning to launch myself into creating and producing my own theatre for a good few years, and decided that this project I'd been working on would be the one that I would use to launch myself with.

    I wrote a show, telling a story. My story. Using this blog as a starting point, I have written a one woman show of my experiences from diagnosis onwards, and I'm going to be performing it. In less than thirty days time. Yikes.

    I plan for it to be warm, funny, engaging, and very, very honest. There's a lot of content that I've never spoken about here, and working on it so far has been an unusual and surprising experience. I also really want it be a success. And there are a couple of ways in which I could use your help, DOC.

    Firstly, I need to start reaching people to tell them about this project. Wherever you are in the world, as the people who are passionate about the heart of this, you're invaluable. If you would take the time to check out the website of White Tree Theatre, my new professional operating name (the site is still a work in process!), follow on Twitter and like on Facebook, I would really appreciate it. If you have a friend that you think would be interested and you tell them, that would be even more amazing. I'm going to be blogging about the development over the following month with a more theatrical slant over there as well, so if that's of interest to you, it might be worth a few minutes of your time.

    Secondly, and very bluntly, if you're reading this and you're in the UK, take a moment to consider buying tickets to see it performed. I'll be performing at Friargate Theatre, in York, (where I happen to work) on 22nd and 23rd November at 19:30. Tickets are only £5.00, and you can either buy them online here, or you can call 01904 613000 during office hours. Since I run the Box Office, you might even get to speak to me! I'm keeping ticket prices low, as I'm planning to run a collection on the two evenings to split between several D-Charities. I'm not aiming to make a profit from this, but I still want to reach as many people as possible.

    As I'm performing this in November, as my contribution to Diabetes Awareness Month, I want to be able to offer as much information as possible, even if it's not discussed outright within the performance. I'm going to have an information stand at the theatre, and I'm going to be running a Q&A after both performances. Is there something in particular you think that I should have there to offer, or someone I should be in touch with? While I might have already thought of it, there's no guarantee that I will do, so do please drop me an email and let me know if there's something you think I could miss that I shouldn't.

    Lastly, and I really hope this is something that the DOC will want to be involved with. I am very adamant that this show ends with hope. I don't want it to be depressing or pitiful in any way. I want to end with hope, and with that in mind, I am putting together a video, which I am inviting you to be a part of. If you would like to be part of the video, all you need to do is take a picture of yourself holding a sign with your name on it, and the words 'I live in hope'. Then email it to me. Simple as that. 

    Well, there you go, world. I've let this loose now - we'll see what happens next.

  4. What have you done today?

    Tuesday, 17 September 2013

    Pride's a funny thing. When I consider it, it seems like I always think of it as a bad thing - it has a lot of negative associations. Walking home today, however, I found myself thinking of that song by M People, which asks us to think about 'What have you done today to make you feel proud?'. 

    Interesting question.

    A friend of mine shared the picture on the left on Facebook a few days ago. They thought it was disturbing, but I can relate to it. 

    This past week I've rather felt like I've had all my blood transfused with this. I've been running high for several days, and with the beginning of feeling real-person sick, I was not doing well. Sleep was poor or non existent, coupled with all the physical and emotional drags of running high. My temper was short, my nerves were frayed. Every weekday morning, I wrestled with whether or not I had the energy to get up and go to work, when I felt like I'd gone through a mangle, and all I wanted to do was sleep and desperately try and recharge.

    I hate letting people down. I got up, I walked to work, I worked the day, I walked home rinse and repeat for a few days. And whilst I am so, so thankful to the people who have put up with me whilst I've been, at times, less than useless, I realised today that I am allowed to be proud of myself. That it's ok. Pride can be a good thing, when you take a moment to think about it. These few days have been rubbish, but I survived them. I am still alive.

    Doesn't sound like a lot, does it? Some days it feels like it, though. And there will be some of you reading this that will know exactly what I mean because you've just had one of those days too. 

    Be proud, my friend - you've survived too.

  5. Oh lancing device. I hardly knew ye.

    I don't know if it's me, but I just can't make a lancer last for over a year. I've just said goodbye to yet another one. Is it just me? I know I use that bad boy multiple times of day, but it feels like it should last longer than it does.

    I had to resort to my standby box of Unistiks because, ladies and gentleman -  

    The spring is dead.

    And it's bloody annoying. I now have a collection of utterly useless lancing devices in my kit boxes - I don't know why I keep them, I suppose I think they must have a use, but all they do is rattle around the box, sitting there, being useless. 

    There must be a better way of building a lancer that doesn't revolve around a spring that will eventually wear out, surely? Come on engineers, get it together. Or if it already exists, and I'm just being blind, please someone point me in the right direction!

    Because I don't want to have to carry around a bunch of single use lancets until a new one turns up!


  6. The Good Glucotab Guide

    Sunday, 21 July 2013

    If there's one thing I've found that you can't get around, it's the inevitable fact that you will, however hard you try to avoid it, go hypo in a public place. We all do - I mean, come on, it's not like you can spend your life hidden away under a rock or in a cave. If you ever leave your home, you will go hypo publicly.  What can vary greatly, of course, is the drama which unfolds, or the reception that you get from wherever you are. 

    I've noticed that reactions from people you don't know when you're hypo can be absolutely fascinating. Probably moreso in hindsight, when my head is back on straight again. Some people and places are fabulous. I've never encountered anyone responding in a truly hideous manner, (although one or two that were a bit baffling - La Tasca, I'm looking at you...) but I know other people have. 

    What I'm starting to think is that there should be some way of rating different places. A sort of Good Star Guide for PWD reception, if you will. The Michelin Star equivalent. Hmm...that place got a four-and-a-half Glucotab rating, I must try and go there next Friday... You get the general idea, I'm sure.

    I started thinking about this because of something that happened to me this week that got me thinking.  It's been really, really hot here in the UK over the last week or so, which was more surprising because of it coming off the back of what felt like an unbelievably long winter. It's been floating around the upper 20's (which I believe is somewhere in the region of 80+ degrees Farenheit) - which I know isn't necessarily that high for some of my US-based friends, who I've seen talking about temperatures of 100 degrees Farenheit - around 40 celsius (thank you internet! I'd never know what any non UK based measurement was if it wasn't for you!) , but for me, and the UK in general, this is hot. Personally, I'm not really built for anything above the low 20's without feeling like I'm melting. I think sometimes that I must have a busted internal radiator. When I'm cold, I'm cold, and when I'm hot, I am HOT. I swear I have been a walking advertisement for Magicool recently. Yes, I know it's basically just water in can, but that stuff makes me pass for someone you can stand the company of, so I don't care. But the point is that as well as being a grumpy sod when I'm hot, I've found, like so many others out there, that the heat messes with my sugars. Thankfully we seem to be cooling off somewhat now, but I've spent the past week or so walking around feeling constantly hypo, and often actually being hypo. Which is what led to me nearly passing out from a hypo in Paperchase earlier this week. 

    I'd gone down in my lunch hour to go and buy my dad a birthday card, so nothing too strenuous, nothing too outlandish. Thankfully one of my lovely work friends had also come with me, looking for birthday presents. I started feeling a bit wobbly halfway there, but had chalked it up as it just being too darned hot. But I tested just before going into the shop, and came up as 3.4 (61 for US money) - great. So I popped into the shop next to it and grabbed a drink, because I really couldn't face any more glucotabs after the amount I'd downed lately. 

    So I wander around the shop some more, until I realise that my head is in a complete haze. I feel like I've stuck my face into a smoke machine. My friend is talking to me, and I know that what she's saying should be something that I can understand, but I have absolutely no idea what that is, because it doesn't sound like english. I'm very, very hot, and I can feel things starting to get a bit strange. 

    Luckily my friend insisted that I sit down. Which was a good move, because I think I was about to pass out - despite already having treated the hypo, I'd dropped down further to 2.3 (41) in about five minutes. So not ideal. Glucotabs it is then. 

    I ended up sitting against the wall by the door of the shop for about twenty to twenty five minutes. The staff were lovely, and didn't seem in the least bit concerned that I was blocking up their nice display of cards. They brought me water in a funky mug, and were very insistent that I let them know if there's anything else they can do for me. Excellent marks, Paperchase. They even offered me a chair, which was lovely, but I was happy enough on the floor - can't fall any further than you already are that way!

    So I would say that Paperchase would score very highly in the Good Glucotab Guide. Thinking about it now, good marks would also go to my Sainsburys Local, where a lovely cashier helped me when I was hypo by offering me sweet tea and opening up what I'd just bought to deal with my hypo, because my hands were shaking too much. HMV would also score highly, when I was VERY low and realised I was out of all glucotabs, as one of their cashiers gave me a Mars bar from the counter and made me eat it, not caring that I was holding up the queue (I did pay for it later, for the record!). Turns out he was a Type 1 himself, and used the same meter as me. I do love moments like that. They make you feel less alone. 

    So there are your opening pages of the Good Glucotab Guide - I might have to keep adding to this one...

    Oh, and I did find a card for my dad. Right above my head for where I was sitting.




  7. Day 7 - Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading

    There's one good thing that comes from being a week behind everyone else. Since everyone else has already finished their week of posts, it makes reading them a lot easier, because they're all centralised. How lovely! However, because there have been so many amazing posts, just picking three seems a bit stingy, but hey, here we go!

    The first two posts that caught my attention were from Day Two's petition topic. I came up short with this one, and pulled a wild card, so I was really fascinated to see what everyone else had come up with. 

    I can completely relate to to The Blue Heel Society's post about the lack of nutritional information in food outlets, because it drives me crazy. Half the time I've given up asking, because they never have it anyway, and I'm the person holding up the queue that everybody huffs, sighs, groans and rolls their eyes at. SWAGing is an art we'd all rather not have to perfect, isn't it?

    Similarly, George's post over on Ninjabetic rings true with me as well. Supermarkets are hell for the hypo effect - I just had one in Sainsbury's on Thursday, for heaven's sake! I'd say it makes about as much sense as the almost immediate hypo I get from picking up the hoover, but I can find some logic in that, at least!

    Last up, Elizabeth at Life or Something Like It gave a lovely account of meeting her first ever diabetic friend, which made me think back on my own relationships with my d-friends, and particularly on writing about this myself. It's always good to take account of our own relationships and remember how special they can be, and how blessed we are because of them.

    So there we go. That's D-Blog Week over for another year. But I'm hoping that this will help me kick start more regular posting. I plan to keep to it this time...

  8. D-Blog Week - Day 6 - Coming Soon

    Saturday, 25 May 2013

    Day 6 - Diabetes Art

    This time I'm just teasing you. I'm not showing my art just yet. But I will let you know that I have a major arty project in the pipeline, which I hope you're all going to be really excited by.

    Just you wait and see...

  9. D-Blog Week - Day 5 - Top Trumps

    Friday, 24 May 2013

    Day 5 - Freaky Friday. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?

    I tried. I really, really did. Which disease would I want to switch out Type 1 for? What would give me a better insight on the lives of my friends? What would give me a new perspective on things? 

    But what comes to mind is a tweet I saw being retweeted by @EverydayAbleism - which is a wonderful account that I highly recommend following if you're not already. It's very illuminating. But I think this really makes a valid point.

    It set me thinking. Though I'm sure I'd learn a great deal in a switch, if we're going classic Freaky Friday, that would mean the other person would get my Type 1. And to be completely honest, I wouldn't want to give this to my worst enemy. I can live with it, but there's no reason they should have to. Even if it would be enlightening.

  10. DBlog Week - Day 4 - Two years later

    Thursday, 23 May 2013

    My biggest accomplishment

    I had to think hard about this one. I'm in a place right now where I don't really feel like I've got a handle on anything, so apart from the fact that I'm still here, alive and kicking - which I suppose is something of an accomplishment in and of itself - there isn't much, diabetes wise that in feeling like I can hang my hat on. So I had to have a good long think about what I wanted to write about. And then it came to me.

    I don't know if you've ever stood barefoot in snow. I'd you haven't, I can't say that I recommend it. I know that this is staying the obvious, but it is really really cold. All the same, that's the position that I found myself in at a disturbingly early hour one Saturday morning in January this year. This was because I was all smartly decked out for graduation day. So ok, I wasn't technically barefoot, but due to a badly considered stocking and suspender belt fiasco I was bare legged, which is as close as dammit. This wasn't my first graduation, as this was a postgraduate affair.

    I had taken two years to complete my MA. It has a ridiculously long title, of Master of Arts in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance, and the fact I had been completing it part time had nothing to do with the length of the name, but to do with the fact I couldn't afford to stop working full time. So I had a part time degree, a full time job, and diabetes which didn't seem to want to cut me any sort of slack.

    In the middle of my first set off assignments, I had numbers that wouldn't come down for love nor money, and felt sick as a dog, which is exactly what you want when you're trying to be intelligent and informed.

    I started pumping during this time as well. I can't say that two hourly testing for two weeks straight helped my concentration during lectures.

    If I'm honest, I hadn't really imagined that it was all going to impact on the whole degree process as, much as it did. With hindsight I should have anticipated it, but I didn't. On my graduation day I didn't really take stock of how much perseverance it had taken. But I'm thinking about it now.

    It took me two years and, more energy, sticking power and sleepless nights than I anticipated, but I did it. And no-one can take that away from me. Mainly because that bad boy's on my CV, and you wouldn't know where I keep the certificate anyway.

  11. D-Blog Week - Day 3 - Flying Solo

    Wednesday, 22 May 2013

    Day 3 - Memories

    As soon as I came off IV insulin, I was presented with an insulin pen and an option. The one wonderful nurse who worked on that ward, whose name I can never remember (I think it might have been Heather, but she's always been Anna in my mind, because she reminded me so strongly of someone else) said I could inject myself, or she could do it for me until I felt like I wanted to myself.

    I didn't want to do it. Of course I didn't - it's a sharp pointy thing - the sort of thing that generally we're told not to go at ourselves with. Who actually wants to stick needles in themselves? No-one I've come across. I didn't think I was ever going to want to do it, so it seemed as good a time as any. I was 24, I was supposedly an adult, I could handle this. Of course I could. 

    And I did. I injected into my arm. I had been given the induction of all the places you could realistically inject, but the very thought of injecting anywhere but my arm made my insides churn.

    A couple of days later, I was sat on the floor of my living room with the pen in my hand again. Trying to force myself to inject in my stomach. I don't know why I was so hung up on making myself do it. Maybe I was trying to break through a mental block, I can't be sure. What I do know was that it must have been gone 20 minutes before I actually got the nerve together to do it. Time when I remembered that this first solo flight was only the beginning of everything. That it wasn't going to end, that I wasn't going to wake up and find it was all a bad dream. 

    Perhaps it was a way of taking control. But the memory of that moment is still very clear to me. The funny thing is that I routinely injected in my stomach until I switched to pumping. I only ever injected in my arms if I was wearing a dress and couldn't easily inject in my thigh. Even now I'm pumping, I never put my site anywhere other than my stomach. I'll have been pumping for 3 years in November, and not one non-stomach site. Another mental block? I don't know. Maybe I just need to push through this one as well, but I'm not sure how to go about it. But if I can kick through it, maybe that can be the memory I look back on for another Diabetes Blog Week in a couple of years...

  12. Day Two - Already calling in the wildcard for Dream Diabetes Device

     Ooooh doorknobs. How I loathe thee. You are one of my greatest (nemesises? nemesi? Apparently nemeses) nemeses. (There. I look educated now). But seriously, I hate doorknobs. I hate drawer handles, unexpected hooks and things that my pump tubing can coil and catch on.

    I was going to say recently, but I suppose it's not so recently now, I moved house. One of the biggest surprises to me was that I was completely outwitted by the way that all the handles on all the doors had suddenly moved from where I was expecting them to be. Especially in the kitchen. The kitchen had turned into a seemingly booby-trapped minefield of pinching, pulling and snagging fun. But regardless of location, if there is something I can get my tubing caught on, you can be sure that I will do it. 

    Now, I know there are tubeless pumps. Omnipod, I'm looking at you, but on the whole, I love my Vibe. Yes, I know I said Vibe, not 2020. More on that after the week is over. I love Animas' customer service, I love the product, and I don't really want to switch to a patch pump.I know plenty of people love them, but they seem so huge to me, and I just can't imagine that being comfortable.  But I do wish there was a way to reduce snagging. Particularly when I'm in rehearsals for a show, it can be a real pain to try and negotiate my tubing around costumes, changes, and especially physical sequences. 

    I had a fabulous idea suggested to me, and I wish there was a way of making it work. Yo-yo pump tubing. For those moments when you just want to coil tubing away safely, or for when it falls out of a pocket, or the one I'm most guilty of, which is getting up in the night and forgetting you're wearing a pump altogether and down it goes. Tug, ouch, you're suddenly much more awake than you were two seconds ago. I love the idea. Something of a cross between tubed pumping and patches. It all comes with a feel of being very Inspector Gadget. Man, I loved Inspector Gadget when I was younger. Show of hands in comments if you now have the theme tune in your head...and let's be honest here, people.  Now, I know that this would be unlikely to work, because of weighting, and the chances of kinking your line are just too high. But it's supposed to be a fantasy device isn't it? A girl can dream. So I'd love to be a bit more Inspector Gadget. Only a bit smarter, since Penny did all the work anyway...

  13. So, last week was fairly crazy for me for various reasons. I was irritated by the fact that Diabetes Blog Week had passed me by. But, in an effort to cut myself a bit more slack, I am simply posting my contributions a week late. So here we go...

    Day One - Share and Don't Share...

    I love the DSNs that I see when I go to clinic. They are marvellous women, and I have a huge amount of respect for each of them. Whilst I have had various ups and downs with my endo, these wonderful ladies have fought my corner all the way over the past four years, and have taught me a great deal. 

    I don't have one DSN, I have a team. Each of them has been with me through different parts of my education so far. They've taught me the absolute basics of testing and injecting, brought me from mixed insulins, to MDI, then pushed papers in the right in-trays to get me my pump. They taught me carb counting, let me borrow a CGM, and how to handle all sorts of things. I am very, very lucky to have such an understanding, skilled, fabulous team. I know lots of people out there who have teams who ignore them, belittle them, and don't see their point of view. 

    However, I always feel a little bit of, well, shame whenever I see these wonderful women. They know that I blog. That I have done awareness and advocacy speeches. I've been on the radio, done some magazine interviews, that I've done fundraising. They themselves have had me come and talk to new pumpers about my experiences in starting pumping. They use words like 'well controlled', and 'educated'. 'Aware', and 'clued in'.  And yes, I might well be some of these things. But when a good a1C feels like a fluke, or I haven't logged my numbers off my meter in months, and I feel like a cheat, a coward and I struggle not to squirm in my seat in the waiting room, and I feel uncomfortable. I feel like a fraud. Like I've wasted all their efforts. Because I'm not the perfect example that I think they want me to be. Even though that's probably the thing furthest from their mind. I'll never achieve perfection, and I doubt they would ever expect that from me. But I want to do it. For them, because they have given me so much. And I'm always disappointed in myself when I fall short. Because I do it all the time.

  14. Trouble afoot

    Wednesday, 3 April 2013

    Apologies for the absolutely dreadful pun there.So far this week, we've learned that the only person I think I actually amuse with my humour is myself. But here's another 'interesting' factoid about me that you might not know. I am that interesting mixture of mildly clumsy and mildly accident prone that means I end up doing myself an injury with somewhat surprising frequency.

     Over the last few years, I've cut myself with glasses, had a mirror stuck in my foot, been knocked off a table I've been standing on, been dropped in the middle of dance routines, and possibly my favourite one - been kicked whilst practising the waltz and having my toe broken.

    A lot of the things I end up doing to myself seem to happen during shows, or rehearsals for them. Yesterday, I mentioned the calls to NHS Direct I had made because of my foot. This was during the first show week of a regional tour I've just finished with Six Lips Theatre. I wish I could put my finger on what the heck I actually did do to my foot, but I can't. Best I can come up with is that I'd just turned it over whilst walking too many times. Yes, I do that a lot. No, I don't know why. Seems I just walk weirdly. But as the day went on, it hurt me more and more to put weight on my foot, and I had a searing pain leading up from my big toe. And by the time I'd finished the show that evening, I ended up blowing off cast drinks because I got offered a lift home, and that would save me the half hour walk home. Took some painkillers, iced it, and shrugged it off, thinking by the time I woke up in the morning, it would probably be a lot better.

    Of course not. I tried to walk to work, but got as far as the end of the street before I was practically crying. So I went back home, and decided to call NHS Direct for some advice. The thing I haven't mentioned is that as part of the show I was working on, I was dancing burlesque. Which means quite high heels. No, I still can't entirely fathom how I was the best candidate for that particular job, either. After waiting on hold for a while, and then waiting for them to call me back, I ended up talking with one of the nurses, who seemed torn between wanting to tell me that I had gout, despite the fact I clearly didn't, and wanting to talk about how much she loved burlesque, and why couldn't she find the DVD of the film 'Burlesque' at HMV? Which was all well and good, although slightly surreal, however I left the call with the instruction to take a small shedload of over the counter drugs, and call my GP if it wasn't better by the Sunday. To be honest, I'm not stupid, I could have worked that out myself.

    Forward to Sunday, and nope, no better. I'm starting to wonder if I have actually broken something in it. I end up getting told to go to A&E to get it x-rayed. I wasn't really keen on spending my Sunday afternoon sat in A&E, but hey, you do what you have to, don't you? I was worried that I was being a bit over-cautious, but foot care is one of those things that you get drilled in to you again and again. You get all sorts of horror stories, one of my favourites being told to me by own mother about someone standing on a plug without realising it. Great.

    So I was in an out in less than an hour. After looking at the x-ray, 'No, nothing's broken. Go home.' was the extent of the medical advice I got. No-one ever told me what was ACTUALLY wrong with it, although soft tissue damage seems to be the popular opinion when I've straw polled people. 

    It's just one of those things, that it does feel like an over reaction, but sometimes you just can't shake the horror stories and the idea of 'what if I have done something and I just can't feel it?'. It feels like you really can't win sometimes.

    Ah being responsible. It's great fun. 

  15. I started composing this in my head, and all of a sudden I had that earworm of a Maroon 5 song stuck in my head. I spent a lot of late last summer/early autumn travelling around in a van, and that song seemed to always be on the radio. Along with that awful 'Call Me Maybe' song. But it seemed vaguely appropriate. The Maroon 5 one. Not 'Call Me Maybe'. 

    Oh Diabetes, you have long been known to throw a spanner into many aspects of my life, and turn things on their head. You dealt me a new one over the last two months though - I never thought you would be so mean as to brazenly attack my phone bill.

    I don't have a landline. I don't think I know anyone of my age who does. Line rental just costs too much, and I'm not home enough to make it cost effective anyway. I have my mobile phone, and a fairly good phone package. Or so I thought. 

    I got one of those oh-so-daunting 'Field Safety' notices through from Animas recently. The sort which give the impression of 'you don't need to panic, but you might want to anyway', coupled with 'you don't need to call us, but call us'. Confusing, and somewhat worrying, especially on a Friday night, after office hours. 

    So that meant that of course I would give them a call. And as I have found out in the past, if you call after 5pm, you get transferred to America. Which I did, and got to speak with a thoroughly lovely customer service rep. I get amused that I am called ma'am when I speak to the US reps. You just don't get that over here, you really don't. Poor love must have had a hard day, I think. She was just so relieved that I wasn't yelling at her that she couldn't express how sorry she was to put me out enough. She did have to put me on hold for about twenty minutes though. Long enough for me to run a bath and read half a magazine, anyway. She had to call me back the next day, but it turned out that it's nothing to worry about for now, although I will have to have my pump exchanged at some point. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an upgrade to the Animas Vibe, but I can but hope. 

    So I have no problems with Animas' customer service. Their people are lovely and very accommodating. However, their 08000 numbers? That's not free from my mobile, despite supposedly being free phone numbers. Which is what added nearly £20 ($30) to my standard contract payments. Ouch. 

    At least everything is fine with my pump. But between that and next month's adventure with calling NHS direct, I can't take any more of this, diabetes! I may have to buy some sort of expansion on my phone package to cover your damages to my bank balance!

    Or maybe I could start reversing the charges, at any rate...


  16. Beyond a Joke

    Monday, 1 April 2013

    I'm known for liking a joke. I believe I have a pretty good sense of humour on the whole, and I'm not above playing pranks on people. I once convinced one of my university housemates that green tea was made with marijuana, for example. I clingfilmed someone's door during my fresher's week (which will be ten years ago in September, which makes me wonder what I've done with my life). I've stuffed shoes with newspaper, and even pulled the odd prank phone call in my time, leading me to convince a friend that she was now responsible for a delivery of forty pigs in Southampton from a pig farm in Alabama. So for me to resurrect blogging on the first of April might make you think that this is an April Fool's joke. I assure you it's not. 

    Over the last couple of years, I've been coming and going through blogging, tweeting and the DOC in general. And I've not been happy about this. Blogging and advocacy used to be my main, burning passion. Yet here we are in April and this is my first post of the year. I only managed three the year before. Not funny. Is it because I stopped caring? Is it because I stopped having things to say? No. Absolutely not. I have all the usual excuses, of course. I've been busy. And yes, that's true. But that's not really enough to put aside something that I used to care so much about. So with that in mind, I think it's time for a bit of honesty here.

    I've been distracted, and I took my finger off the pulse. Things move so quickly in life - you know that as well as I do. There were other people, other things, and before I knew it, a year had gone, and then another. I got into something of a tired rut with looking after myself. Diabetes care became routine, second nature, something I wasn't thinking about so much. And the truth is that that is a dangerous place to be in. You can't stop caring, or paying attention, because that's when you get into trouble. And I don't want that. None of us do.  

    I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be complacent. Not when I keep seeing blue candles appearing on Facebook. Not when the media are still getting things so wrong. Not when there's so much to fight for, and get angry about.

    Because those things are beyond a joke. There's nothing funny there. 

    Even though I might be. I'm hilarious, don't you know? 

    Well, I make myself laugh anyway. So that's one and counting.