Diabetes and the ol’ green monster

Me this week. Not attractive, I know

Ah, the green monster… It surfaced this week, startling me with its intensity. I’m talking about jealousy and the mean feelings I experience occasionally in relation to diabetes.

Every week, the mighty search engine that is Google picks out the week’s diabetes news for me. Most of the time, it includes new research, a dose of doom and gloom where scientists and doctors reinforce the lower life expectancy/increased likelihood of contracting a nasty side effect (Gee, thanks folks) and a Daily Express article telling you to eat this food to avoid diabetes*.

This week’s offerings included a video on the BBC where a teenage type 1 spoke about the pump she wears which uses artificial intelligence to monitor her blood sugars and keep them within normal range, and how it will allow her to soar through life. She’s one of the first type 1s to get this pump on the NHS.

Believe me, I know a one minute 55 second film clip tells nothing like the full story. I don’t know the extent of the teenager’s medical background. Her mother, the video showed, found it hard to sleep at nights because she was so worried about her daughter’s overnight hypos. I get it, I get it, I get it…

No awards for long service

But the horrible green monster reared up anyway. “It’s always the young ones,” I muttered, bad-temperedly. There might even have been a self-pitying tear or two. “What about me—don’t I get an award for long service? Thirty seven years with this ruddy condition! There are empty jelly baby packets in landfill sites all over Scotland to prove it**. I wouldn’t mind soaring myself.”

The nasty bout of whingeing was in part triggered by a letter I received this week relating to my progress on the flash glucose monitoring (FGM) waiting list. At my appointment at the diabetic clinic in September last year, the doctor put me on that oh so elusive list. The waiting list was only the start. After that, a mandatory half-day educational course takes place and then a letter wings its way to your GP requesting they prescribe FGM. Still there I was. ON THE LIST!!!

“Happy days, Emma!” I said to myself as I skipped out of the clinic, phoning my mum and then husband to share the good news. They whoop-whooped too.

Patience, not one of my virtues

I waited. And waited. Well, I suppose those half-day courses are over-subscribed,” I said to myself. Friends, patience isn’t among my virtues but I held off writing to the good doctor to request a situation update until the beginning of March. The letter I got in return said there is a cap on funding and until that increases, I’m on a static waiting list.

Again, I get it. Times are tight, but every other type 1 I know sports one of those FGM thingies on their arm, included blasted Theresa May. (Admittedly, I don’t know that many type 1s.)

Here’s the thing—I never envy other people their non-diabetes status. A long time ago, my brain must have told my heart jealousy over the impossibility/unlikeliness of a cure in my lifetime was too much of a wasted effort. But when I read of other diabetics and their access to the latest tools and tech, I glow so green I’m practically radioactive.

The blessings of perspective

Fortunately, perspective kicked in after twenty minutes or so of mumping and moaning to myself. In the US, two senators have launched an investigation into rising insulin prices (585 percent from 2001 to 2015 for Eli Lilly’s Humalog, for instance), and this in the world’s wealthiest country. Many people have tried swapping insulin types and brands, changing to something that might not work as well for them or worse, stopping it or rationing it.

In addition, part of my work at the moment involves communications for a health-based project in two African countries where access to any diabetic medication is seriously limited, and knowledge of how to treat the condition not as wide-spread as it is in the developed world.

I don’t have the latest up to date equipment, but I do have insulin (Brexit fears aside), plenty of test strips and all the other bits and pieces I need. The green monster surfaces from time to time, as I’m sure it does with you. Let it do its whinge-y bit and then remind Madam Monster we do live in the best of times for people with diabetes (country dependent of course). If I’d been born 100 years earlier, I wouldn’t have made my 11th birthday. So, Emma 1, Jealousy 0.5.

*Yet to click on that one as I assume it’s click bait.

**They will outlive me.

14 thoughts on “Diabetes and the ol’ green monster”

  1. I hope you get your new monitoring device, Emma. As you write though, and infer, with the NHS, things may not always be the best, but the NHS is so much better than what other countries have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, Gary. My whole perspective thing is that the NHS is fab, compared to what most countries experience. I wanted to share honesty, sometimes the blasted green monster hits you, but I do talk myself down. And many thanks for your continued support of this blog. Much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes we are lucky Emma to have the NHS. As a type 1 who has just recently received my Freestyle Libre sensor, what angers me is that different health boards have different policies and priorities and there does not appear to be consistency. These sensors should be a priority for all type 1s. I would also question how some of the Health Boards spend their budget but that’s a topic for another forum perhaps. I really hope the funding issue is resolved quickly and these sensors are given to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use one of those pumps and love it. Now that being said, it is not a panacea. So yes be jealous, but not too much. It is great but it is not a quantum leap over other more tired and true methods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true. I find diet and exercise a huge help. Like me, you’ve had diabetes a long time and can remember the good ol’ days of cutting blood testing strips in half, or even urine testing before blood testing became standard and glass syringes!

      Like

  4. Oh yes those urine testing kits with the tablets which turned colour depending on your results. How as a young child, I dreaded the orange colour which meant on your colour chart, your sugar was a 2% which was high. We do have so much to be thankful for these days thankfully.

    Liked by 1 person

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