Insulin Square – Episode Two

Avid readers of your soaraway Shoot Up will recall reading the first thrilling episode of Insulin Square, a real cliff-hanger of a soap opera where every character is diabetic (or are they?) Anyway, for your entertainment, here’s the utterly brilliant second episode. Episode three will probably follow in a year or two, if you’re unlucky.

EXT. DAY – OUTSIDE INSULIN SQUARE CAFÉ. A clearly upset DEREK rushes out from café, slamming door behind him, closely followed by STEVE and SUSAN

SUSAN Derek! Derek! Come back!
STEVE Leave him Susan, he’s not worth it.
SUSAN But Steve, he’s just bolused for the 17 teaspoons of sugar that he put in his tea
STEVE Yeah, so…
SUSAN But he didn’t drink his tea with all that sugar in it
STEVE You mean…?
SUSAN Yes, he could be at risk of having a hypo! He’s out there, heaven’s knows where, with 17 units on board and no Glucostop.
STEVE Oh my God, what have I done?

CUT TO INT.DAY The Banting Arms, Insulin Square’s local pub. Three young lads, GARY, JON and RAVI walk in and up to the bar. An oil painting of J.J.R. Macleod hangs in the background, the bar itself is decorated with bust of James Collip.

BARMAID Now, what can I get you gents?
JON It’s your round Ravi isn’t it? I’ll have a pint.
GARY Yeah, me too – pint of lager, mate.
RAVI (to barmaid) Yeah, can I have two pints of lager and a diet coke please?
JON Diet coke? You what?
GARY (laughs) Diet coke? You having a laugh mate? What’s wrong with lager?
RAVI I’m staying off the lagers for the minute
JON Off the lager? Can this be Ravi ‘ten pints of Tenants’ I see before me? What have you done with him, eh?
RAVI It’s just, well, it’s just that I’ve avoiding food and drink with a high carbohydrate content and / or a high glycaemic index.
JON You what?
RAVI It’s just that, I think I might have diabetes
JON (shocked) Diabetes?
RAVI Yeah mate. I went to the doctors this morning. I’d been going to the toilet a lot and drinking loads. He said that – this is really difficult to say – that I might be type one. There, I’ve said it.
JON Well I never, mate.
RAVI I just don’t know how I’m going to deal with it.
JON Don’t worry mate. It’s okay. I’ve never told this to anyone, but I’ve had type one since I was five!
RAVI You what?
JON See this (produces pump from under t-shirt) This is my brand new Animas insulin pump. Diabetes really is dead easy once you know how and I can help you work it all out.
RAVI You would help me?
JON (grins) ‘course, what are mates for, eh? (RAVI looks relieved, Gary interrupts)
GARY There’s something I need to tell you two.
JON & RAVI What’s that mate?
GARY I’ve got diabetes too.
JON No way. What type?
GARY Gestational diabetes.
JON (gasp) Gestational? But how?
GARY You’d better sit down, there’s something I need to tell you.

CUT TO EXT. DAY rough looking back alley. DEREK lies sweaty and panting in a pile of rubbish

DEREK: If I can’t have Susan, I may as well end it all. I’m going to do myself in on insulin! After that rage-bolusing earlier my BG’s down to 2.1, so it won’t take long. Goodbye cruel world! (Poises insulin-filled pen over stomach)
SUSAN (running into alley) No Derek, stop!!
DEREK Susan! But how did you find me?
SUSAN I knew I would find you here. You used to take me up this alley when we was teenagers, don’t you remember?
DEREK Of course I remember, I didn’t think you would though.
SUSAN I always remember those times we’d come here after school and you would, well, you know. Anyway, it was always a special place for me. (glances around) Here amongst the rubbish, broken bottles and rats.
DEREK What are you trying to say Susan?
SUSAN Derek, Derek, I love you!
DEREK But what about Steve?
SUSAN Forget Steve. He tries to show off with his fancy pump, but it’s you – with your multiple daily injections – that I really love. So simple. So down to earth. So needle-y.
DEREK Oh Susan, I love… (slips into unconsciousness)
SUSAN (screams) Derek!
STEVE (runs in alley, stops and appraises situation) Looks like you’ll be needing one of these (pulls unpleasant smile and holds up glucogen injection).
SUSAN Steve! Give me the glucogen injection, it’s the only thing that’ll save Derek! He’s fallen into a hypoglycaemic coma!
STEVE Now, what’s it worth? Tell you what, if you promise to go out with me and forget about Derek, I’ll give you the glucugen injection. Now how about it?
SUSAN Steve! You couldn’t!


Diabetes saves Halloween

Because I’m a miserable old witch I don’t make any preparations for Halloween.

Having been freed from casting diabetes spells once I'd grown up, my parents turned their hands to a new form of magic - pumpkin carving. This is their latest creation.

So you can imagine my terror when the doorbell went earlier this evening and I was faced with several miniature ghouls. Thankfully, before I slammed the door in their faces I realised that they were the offspring of the neighbours over the road, so to avoid being banished from polite society, I was morally obliged to respond to their demands for treats in a positive manner.

A mental root through the cupboards revealed little that was going to interest a 7 year old ghost. I considered offering them a satsuma accompanied by a lecture on how they should be grateful that I was helping them to avoid the potential perils of type 2 diabetes, but thought that mightn’t go down too well. And then, like so many times in the past, my trusty friends the fruit pastille came to the rescue. While I consider them to be an essential diabetes treatment, apparently others view them as merely a tasty snack.

I provided said fruit pastilles to the phantom doorsteppers and was rewarded with a distinctly unfrightening “cool, fruit pastilles!” Thank you diabetes, I’d have been stuck without you tonight!

The hypo portfolio

Impractical for treating hypos, but oh so delicious
Impractical for treating hypos, but oh so delicious

A hypo is a hypo is a hypo. Low blood sugar, sweaty, fuzzy head, confused, weak, dizzy, argumentative (yes, even more so than usual) etc etc. But even with all those similarities I think there is a virtual smorgasbord of hypo types.

  • The nice hypo – you feel yourself going low, you eat, you rise. Job done, move along please people, there’s nothing to see here.
  • The thieving hypo – you’re in a shop, you’re low, and you have no food. Theft by eating produce before paying for it is the only option. A mid hypo altercation with an overzealous security guard can turn this into a full on criminal hypo.
  • The embarrassing hypo – any low that involves crying, arguing, falling over, spouting rubbish or generally humiliating yourself in public fits into this category.
  • The “why now?” hypo – you’re in a rush, you need to drive, you’re in an important meeting where gobbling fruit pastilles like a secret sugar addict isn’t really an option and a hypo comes along. Perfect timing.
  • The sporting hypo – your swim times have slipped from near Olympic standard to something a toddler would be ashamed off. You’ve missed 7 out of the last 10 shots in a game of tennis. Your sporting prowess has evaporated along with all the sugar in your body. Something a little stronger than half time oranges is required here.
  • The middle of the night hypo – this species normally turns up on nights when you’re sound asleep with a full day ahead of you. Bonus points are awarded for treating the low without getting juice or glucogel all over the sheets.
  • The “I knew it was coming but was hoping for a miracle” hypo – you’re sitting watching TV, you’ve been feeling a bit low for a while but going to get some food seems like such an effort, so you give it another 20 minutes in the hope that your body is going to discover a bit of sugar down the back of its virtual sofa and you won’t have to bother moving.
  • The “I’m cured!” hypo – you’ve been chasing lows all day and three juice boxes and a tube of glucogel have just raised you to the blistering heights of 4.1. The only logical explanation for this is that your body must have started making its own insulin again – you’re cured! Of course there could be a more boring answer, like your basal rate is too high or you over bolused for breakfast, but where’s the fun in that?

There must be more, which hypos have I missed?

Insulin pump roadshow: this Saturday 19 May, Chester

INPUT are holding another of their marvellous insulin pump exhibitions, and this time they’re heading up north to Chester. If you want to know more about what insulin pumps do, see what’s on the market, find out about how to get funding, or just meet some people who use pumps, pop in. I’ll be there, indulging in my favourite pastime of raving about pumps to anyone who’ll listen so come and say hello.

We’ll be at the MacDonald New Blossoms Hotel, St John Street, Chester, CH1 1HL between 1pm and 4.30pm this Saturday, 19 May. INPUT will be there with words of widsom about the criteria for getting a pump, there’ll be real life pump users there so you can quiz us about what we do with it when we sleep and all the other niggling questions that come with thinking about pumps. And the top insulin pump companies will be there so you can have a poke and a prod at their wares.  

If Chester is just too far away from your, fear not, the INPUT team are hitting the road. Their next stop is Nottingham on 14 July.

Comatose and rotting toes – mobile porn the lighter side of insulin dependency