Diabetes Awareness?

On a good day, diabetes isn’t a bad disease to have – I say this all the time. On a bad day, when I’m so crazy, infuriated and angry about the slightest, next-to-nothing, when I’m ‘exploitative’ hating myself for finding a normal day so difficult and I just can’t get my sugar to come down; when I’m so scared my eye bleeds again and a world of opportunity threatening to be taken away from me; well then I’ll seriously consider swapping you my diabetes for something else, you take your pick.

 

We sit around these closed groups, shuttered off from prying, probably numbed and uninterested eyes, ebbing closer on folding wooden chairs, and it strikes me, that to read into a diabetes blog on a personal level, to commit to comment whilst disguising our truer self from scrutiny; we are more-or-less embedding ourselves into the world of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, with all inherent shame and inaccurate social conclusion.

Diabetes Awareness Week then, is that the solution? Depends on what the awareness is I suppose. Because when Diabetes Awareness stands for diagnosis, balloons popped, smiles and cheers; well that’s not my diabetes, and in turn that diabetes awareness inherits me shame. But then again, as I always say, ‘diabetes isn’t a bad disease to have – on a good day.’

*On a good day definition

We live in a time when I won’t have to wrestle a Tiger to the ground to feed my wife. I could probably even hobble to the shops for some fish sticks on an amputated foot. Also, with level sugar for a couple of day, I feel awesome.

 

 

 

Diabetic Unity

I think of us as diabetic brothers and sisters, we share a bond that many married couples of ten years have yet to reach. Of course we don’t deserve each other, but I’m proud to be of your acquaintance.

Sharing a coffee in any café I see the lady before me play the ritual of prick-bleed-strip-test: we nod in accordance and smile a tip of the hat to the other man’s cake.

Testing for a hypo and I know this sleepy head pales in comparison to the parent of the child still too young for hypo awareness as tireless routine repeats itself every second hour, having to awaken and discomfort her child for her child’s sake.

I put up with the Pharmacist; never enough sugar test strips to meet my prescription and often an unprofessional glance of, ‘you’re using too many,’ yet my heart is busy going out to those with inefficient Health Care Plans and dependent on getting by with few.

My Dr. doesn’t know as much as she should. Type 1 or Type 2 we have all been in this waiting room too long and 1.5 Lada, don’t worry, eventually someone will figure it out, eventually…

Stopped at Customs, “Yes I have a letter supporting my requirement to carry needles onto this flight,” as did the couple on the flight before me, as do the two for the flight behind me. Can’t take sugar through with me, comes as little surprise. Get to Spain and “Sin Azúcar,” relieved as I am by international recognition of “light” cans.

Drip-fed supportive advice and force fed untrue media coverage, often hung on our shoulders and easily sold on our hopes, needs and fears. Expected to be grateful, I am not. I assure you I am not.

I’m going to the bathroom too much and I think of you Diabetes Insipidous. I hope to be a dad one day and I ponder the difficulty of Gestational Diabetes. I think I feel a little shaken as I write this down so time to check and feel satisfied / unsatisfied. I often worry for my eyes, I often worry for your feet, but back in the café we tip our hats in recognition of one another’s emotional fluctuation.

Saturday comes as it always does; supermarket tin to drop a coin and raise awareness beside a half-price special on a packet of biscuits.

Through this disease we triumph and fall with related spirits. I have your back my diabetic brothers and sisters. I hope you have mine. And remember, on a good day, diabetes is not such a bad disease to have.

By Paul Cathcart, Author of ‘Persona Non Grata with Diabetes’

Diabetes Eye-Screening Clinic

Today I opened a letter from the Diabetes Eye-Screening Clinic. I’m going to go blind.

The only thing holding in hysteria is fear. It’s over isn’t it? Please tell me it isn’t over. I can’t be over before I’ve even gotten anywhere, before I’ve even given up on myself. Everything once so promising has been taken, like a vicious knife attack but slow, far slower, couldn’t really twist it in more. “The first stages of Background Retinopathy.” black print on white paper, an accompanying leaflet listing all the ways it can go wrong from here. I can’t feel anything. I’m less than numb and unbalanced from the knees up. I guess this is the shock. I fold it back into the pile of faceless letters from the bank and hold onto Natasha for dear life, ‘It’s not even highlighted in red. It doesn’t even say urgent on the envelope.’ It’s been laying there for months now amongst a pile of loose bank letters. We stand together frozen, a nightmare where the scream does not come out. White letter and black text.
But how can this happen? I was there at the test; the woman was short and Spanish, she was apologising for the machine having being broken previously and this being a return visit. She put me at ease, told me I’d be fine when I told her how I was scared of eye tests, of how my mum now had glaucoma in the family history and that I was terrified of losing my sight; as my hands trembled.

She said from the first looks of photographs she had taken of the backs of my eyes, that there was nothing obviously wrong, no apparent damage; a couple of marks to be expected following near seventeen years of diabetes. Though nothing of obvious concern and some much needed reassurance these were yearly tests set directly to pick up any early warning signs of decay; so as to give the experts to whom these photographs would be sent much advanced notice. ‘Were they to find anything serious, they can treat a patient in advance with all the wonders of modern medicine and laser eye care therapy. Being able to eradicate it there and then,’ she said. Words taken and held onto like a comfort blanket.

But this letter doesn’t mention any of that; black text on white paper with no personal signature it reads I have the first stages of Background Retinopathy and the accompanying tissue-thin colour brochure states that one direction this may go in can be treated in some instances with laser eye care surgery: that this can work for a small percentage of some people with diabetes. Presenting next on profoundly colourful print another half dozen or so untreatable ways it’ll no doubt accelerate.

Back to the letter, they want to see me again in a year to track what route of deterioration my eyes have taken. A YEARS TIME before looking into possible treatments, if any and in the meantime I am to sit tight and it is most important I should keep my blood sugar(s) level. I can’t deal with today’s letter, it is again sealed, folded then stacked and shelved amongst the bottom end, two-thirds down a stack of white paper envelopes that I’ll never open.

Taken from my book, ‘Persona Non Grata with Diabetes.’ I hope you don’t mind me sharing. P

Official Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Living with Diabetes,You Are Not Alone

Explained with Honest Wit and

Real World Experiences

“I felt as though I was dying faster than I was living. I figured things out and I made myself better. I wrote this book for you,” Paul Cathcart.

January 07, 2014:  Paul Cathcart is diabetic, yes, but it is how he handles the disease and who he is that is quite individual among 371,000,000 fellow sufferers; a population larger than the USA screaming in silence, ubiquitously blamed by others as being overweight, lazy or lack the discipline for dietary structure.  The disease can strike anyone.

With a writing style extraordinarily unique, Cathcart streams his consciousness without hesitation onto the pages of his book, Persona Non Grata with Diabetes, named with his style of language of a quick wit and a sharp tongue, brewed from his upbringing in Glasgow, Scotland.

Raised in a working class family by a single mother, Cathcart created the picture that diabetes can and does happen to “normal,” everyday people, he smashed down the door to shed some light on what it means to live with the disease.

“The work is a head in my hands reflection and looking forward of my life with diabetes,” said the Author during an interview with Pacific Book Review.  He continued, “What led me to where I stand at the moment I decided to write this book (seventeen years trial and blood sugar error, read as emotional turmoil lost in a bigger world) and through that four year period to completion.”

Interestingly, when asked who outside his family supported him, he replied, “It took some time to get to the development stage, where I was able to reach out and ask the opinions of fellow diabetics, on whether they felt the same. Ultimately their feedback was unanimous, we are all screaming inside with this condition in one-way or another. But until then and outside of that I wish I had better things to say.”

“Say” he does. Cathcart keeps his humour and welcomes readers, both diabetic and non-diabetic, with the understanding that you don’t have to face life’s struggles alone.

Real diabetic, reader reviews have flooded in, praising the, Bravery of the Author” for Laugh out loud moments of desperation” and Finally a book about diabetes that isnt patronising, doesnt moralise and tells it like it is.

This book makes for an especially good read for those struggling with the condition but it also serves as a good educational piece for those looking to understand a loved one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: An everyday diabetic of 20 years experience; Cathcart has come to understand his diabetes as a state-of-being rather than its medical definition. With his core belief, that only through a rightful understanding can we accept a just responsibility to our shared condition.

Author: Paul Cathcart

Author

 

Title: Persona Non Grata with Diabetes

Free chapters: http://www.pngwd.com/

Author:   Paul Cathcart

Publisher:   Paul Cathcart

ISBN:  9780957689947

Pages:  424, Paperback/Kindle

Genre:  Health & Fitness / Diseases / Diabetes

Diabetes is costing the economy of the United Kingdom £1m per hour

Workplace

Diabetic: ‘Sorry, my blood sugar is 19.0 (US & EU 343) I must go home. I can’t think, I feel sick, I’m unable to digest, I feel faint, I’m trembling, sweating though my shirt, breath smells sweet, must have forgotten to take my night time insulin. I must go home and have my insulin before I fall over into a hyper-coma.’

Boss: “So bloody inconvenient.” – Inner voice. Shrug of the shoulders, ‘So, what does that mean? Are you saying you have to go home again – now?  You don’t have it with you?‘

Diabetic: ‘Well yeah, I’m really unwell.’

Boss: ‘You can’t have someone drop it off for you?’

Diabetic: ‘I need to lie down.’

Boss: ‘It’s not ideal you know. We have other key team members off sick at the moment.’

Diabetic: “Yeah with hangovers.” – Inner voice.  ‘I’m sorry there is nothing I can do. I need to head home and have my night time insulin and rest till it takes effect.’

Boss: “Yeah, like that’s my problem.” – Inner voice. ‘It isn’t the best time you know? We have tight deadlines to meet and you were off already with the diabetes. Can’t you have some Coca-Cola? I have some birthday cake on my desk with a hundred candles on it; wait and have a bit of that instead?’

Diabetic, ‘I was at the Diabetic Clinic the last time I was off. Listen, my eyes are going blurry and I have to go urgently.’

Boss: ‘Fair enough; it’s very inconsiderate but if you really have to… Oh, but can you finish up first and send updates to everyone on exactly what they will have to do to cover for you at such short notice. And haven’t you got meetings scheduled this afternoon? You don’t want to miss them and we’re all going to sing Happy Birthday to Cheryl on Reception… And we have that Marketing presentation.’

Diabetic: ‘I need to go now.’

Boss: ‘Well when will you be back?’

Diabetic: ‘Tomorrow morning.’

Boss: ‘So why were you off for so long last time, wasn’t that the diabetes?’

Diabetic: ‘No. I was on holiday.’

Boss: ‘You were on the phone and sending emails all the time.’

Diabetic: ‘You had me working from home to meet deadlines.’

Boss: ‘Well if you really have to go, I suppose… but didn’t I see you smoking?’

Diabetic: ‘Twelve years ago.’

Boss: ‘That’s what gave you the diabetes then; self-inflicted?’

Diabetic: ‘No.’

Boss: ‘And what about James in Marketing, his grandmother has the diabetes, what did he say?’

Diabetic: ‘To have some cake.’

Boss: ‘I told you I’ve got cake in my office. And Cheryl on Reception, whose birthday you’re going to miss, she has the asthma, what does she say about all this?’

Diabetic: ‘That I should get a new diet-book.’

Boss: ‘Great idea! And what about Brian in Human Resources, what does he think?’

Diabetic: ‘That he fancies Cheryl.’

Boss: ‘And Harold in Accounts?’

Diabetic: ‘He fancies Cheryl as well.’

Boss: ‘Harold had the flu last week and he is back at his desk. What does he make of your diabetes?’

Diabetic: ‘He thinks it’s probably caused by work related stress because you keep taking on three-month projects and telling the clients we can deliver in three weeks.’

Boss: ‘What about your Doctor say; he must be sick of looking at you.’

Diabetic: ‘He says have more insulin and get myself a better diet-cook-book.’

Boss: ‘And the Specialists? You had a day off to see them before; did they not fix the diabetes?’

Diabetic: ‘They just said to eat what I like and have more insulin and buy their latest diet-cookery-books.’

Boss: ‘What about that thing on the news where they cured that dog. Can they not do that to you?’

Diabetic: ‘I don’t think it works like that.’

Boss: ‘Well, I see what you’re saying but I don’t feel you are doing yourself any favours and no-one here is going to give you a cuddle. Hadn’t you better snap out of it?’

Diabetic: ‘???’

Boss: ‘So all that and you’re really not willing to have some cake?’ hand on the shoulder, ‘Are you not just being a little bit difficult? I never planned for you to be off ill all of the time. Can you not just do me a personal favour and get better?’

Diabetic: ‘You don’t understand. I’m not being deliberately difficult. I need to go home now. I’m really ill!’

*The current cost to the economy of direct patient care, which includes treatment, intervention and complications, for those living with diabetes is estimated at £9.8 billion.

The current indirect costs associated with diabetes, such as those related to increased death and illness, work loss and the need for informal care, are estimated at £13.9 billion

It’ll be alright if we can just be unwell on very specific days, such as on holidays, Bank Holidays, Christmas Holidays and the Queen’s Birthday, but not working holidays.

If you can’t manage that then just be ill at everyone else’s convenience, and know well in advance when you expect to be ill; for exactly how long; have an ailment considered acceptable (falling into criteria of your Boss’s, colleagues and Doctor’s satisfaction); be willing to work from home unpaid whilst absent; never present the same ailment more than once in a single year (so uncouth); get on your knees and beg forgiveness – but don’t drool (too untidy) and promise (cross my heart and hope to die) never-ever to be ill again.

Clearly as a country we are calculating profit and loss in a game of chickens before they hatch; discrediting real world factors (our health – we are all made up of protein and bacteria after all) and promoting them as excuses for poor economic stability. Last year we entered into a double-dip recession riding on the back of a Royal Wedding and some snow. Running out of excuses fast, they pick on us.

Guilt in favour of understanding; welcome to the Health Class System.

*Deaths from diabetes in 2010/11 resulted in over 325,000 lost working years.

 

Written by Paul Cathcart, Author of ‘Persona non grata with diabetes.

www.pngwd.com

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00CH41L8W/

//* Official statistics quoted from Diabetes UK. http://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/NHS-spending-on-diabetes-to-reach-169-billion-by-2035/

What is diabetic emotion?

While I respect the wish-list deliverable of a ‘diabetes cure‘ and observe growing concerns over a global diabetes time bomb, I can’t help but feel the actual reality of diabetic understanding (not diabetes) continues to evade us.

“For us diabetes amplifies everything; if you feel just-not-right then broken blood sugar will make it wrong, as alcohol does an alcoholic; every bone of contention, every pulse of ill will, slight upset or lull, every wave of exhaustion and misunderstanding all amplified. Deformation of sadness, doubt, and dependency; symptoms lost in a bigger world, it leaves us wilting. We push on.”

Hello World!

I want to get better.

 

Paul Cathcart, Author of ‘Persona non grata with diabetes.’

www.pngwd.com