The Pancreas Promotion Society

By | 4 October, 2011
The headquarters of the Pancreas Promotion Society, yesterday

The headquarters of the Pancreas Promotion Society, yesterday

There must be a reason why I got diabetes. My money is on something technical involving a lucky combination of genes, viruses, a grumpy immune system and a certain lack of luck. But, there is another alternative. Perhaps I was selected because of my amazing ability to transform into a pancreas?

I have a theory. I think that in my case, circa 1983, pancreases around the world united and decided to try and increase the size of their empire. Not content with having a single presence in every being in the world, they wanted to boost their powerbase with more recruits. I have a vision of the inaugural meeting of the Pancreas Promotion Society (PPS) taking place in a darkened room complete with full fat coke and chocolate biscuits. The agenda was simple – pancreases felt overworked and undervalued. They wanted more resources to help them do their jobs, and more time off. Therefore, they were going to launch a recruitment drive.

By recruiting people to play at being their own pancreases, real pancreases could enjoy more leisure time and a better quality of life. The Kidney Protection League were vociferous in their complaints at the potential damage this would cause to their members, but sadly never got their act together to mount a decent defence. And the Eye Evaluation Executive were tragically blind to the whole thing.

The first step in attempting to outsource the pancreatic workload to the body owner was to identify the qualities they were looking for in a trainee pancreas. These included:

  • Mathematical genius – or at least a vague familiarity with numbers is desirable. Carb counting, insulin dose calculating and blood glucose results analysis is a critical skill.
  • Excellent eyesight and dexterity for deciphering nutritional labels written in size 5 font on the bottom of an open yoghurt pot without getting wet.
  • A certain lack of standards. The ideal trainee pancreas needs to quickly lower their standards. Blood spotted sheets should be accepted as normal. Ingesting decade old fruit pastilles coated in several layers of pocket fluff should not be considered strange or repulsive.
  • A positive outlook on life, without which playing at being a pancreas gets quite dull quite quickly.

When I think back to my four year old self I don’t recognise many of those skills. I was showing promise with my times tables, had mastered an impressive number of Janet & John books and could swim without drowning. I like to think the PPS must have spotted some glimmer of potential in me and that’s why I was chosen by them to become one of their number.

Or perhaps it was nothing to do with my talents at all. Perhaps, like any respectable organisation, the Pancreas Promotion Society is an equal opportunities employer. So ultimately, they’ll recruit you whether you meet the criteria or not. Sadly they don’t seem to have a particularly effective performance management system – I’ve messed up so many times in this job and they still won’t sack me. It seems I have what is a very rare thing nowadays – a job for life.

That’s how I think I ended up with diabetes, what about you?

22 thoughts on “The Pancreas Promotion Society

  1. Scott S

    I rather like this explanation, although the PPS seems to recruit individuals who have little interest in joining, leading me to believe their membership drives might be more effective, and as you note, don’t seem to have a particularly effective performance management system. It seems to me that diabetes management consultants might have a potential goldmine project with this group if they could convince management to hire them!

  2. lizz

    Have you any relatives/ancestors who had it? I do not. I’m convinced mine has to do with my immune response to biological warfare experiments carried in Dorset near where I lived. Several other youngsters in the same area developed it at the same time as me.

  3. Alison Post author

    No, I am a completely unique specimen within my family when it comes to having diabetes. I like to think this is because I am very special, and therefore exceptionally tempting to the Pancreas Promotion Society. Or, on less whimsical days I put it down to a genes/virus/immune issue/luck combo. Other than to prompt fanciful blog posts, I don’t actually spend much time thinking about it.

  4. Annette A

    Yes, I’m totally unique as well. (My grandma used to say that her brother died of it at birth, but lets face it, if he died at birth, he wasnt going to be diagnosed with it, let alone die of it.)
    I reckon its in my genes. (And therefore probably the other members of my family’s genes also. My sister had to have so many tests for gestational diabetes whilst pregnant (3 times), just because of me. She took to ringing me up after each (I think she had 4 tests per pregnancy) with the words ‘Its your fault, you know…’ She never developed it.)
    You know, if the PPS found anyone who totally fulfilled their requirements, they’d probably be scared out fo their wits that they would be made redundant…So we need to create the perfect member of PPS, so as to scare the little blighters into doing their own work.

  5. Glen Harding

    I stuck a toy police siren up my nose when I was two years old, my mother took me to the doctors to have it removed. The doctor stuck a metal implement up my nose to remove it, being a fidgety child I yanked myself away and the doctor’s metal implement gashed the inside my head, causing a massive nose bleed. Two weeks later I was diagnosed.

    So if anyone asks how I got diabetes, I blame a police siren up my nose.

  6. Alison Post author

    Oh, the danger of police sirens, why does nobody do anything about this no doutb common cause of diabetes. It’s tragic 😉

  7. Tim

    I once stuck a small wooden ball up my nose. Thankfully my dad was a dentist and his surgery was on the side of our house, so he took me into the surgery and sucked it out with the spit sucker thing.

    This has nothing to do with my diabetes (which was diagnosed about 23 years later) but I thought I would mention it anyway.

    I put my actual diagnosis down to pure bad luck – shit happens, etc.

  8. Megs

    An Apprentice style recruitment process would be a good way to ensure the correct calibre of members. All potential candidates would go through various diabetes themed challenges and be hired or fired until all that remains is a crack squad. Much like the members of Shoot up really…

  9. loopyloo

    I always perceived myself as having a poor immune system as I was always getting colds etc., so when I was 17 I thought I would try taking echinacea (herbal supplement). My theory is I over boosted my immune system and it turned on me. I do like the line “echinacea give me diabetes”.

    Interestingly though, I did stick a bead up my nose and had to be sedated in order for it to be removed, I think we could well be on to something here, that the experts have overlooked! In my case there was about a 15 year gap between the incident and diagnosis.

    1. Tim

      So you think there might be a connection between shoving stuff up one’s nose and contracting* diabetes? I think there’s something in this! Let’s apply for research funding. I’m not volunteering for stuff-up-nose pushing though…

      * does one “contract” diabetes?

      1. Spike Jones

        Ok. I’ve put more than one or two things up my nose over the years. I’ve been a member of the PPS since forever though. Maybe there’s a precursor factor to stuff up nose & potential membership…

      2. loopyloo

        Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be required to stuff anything up your nose Tim…you have already contracted diabetes. We would just need to find some willing participants who haven’t contracted it, and do some long term monitoring post stuffing.

      3. Mike

        If I’d known I had ‘contracted’ it I’d have pushed for ‘breach of contract’ long since. Frankly my diabetes is hopeless and not worth the blood-smeared, insulin spattered paper it’s written on.

  10. Annette A

    Well in the US (where else) a prisoner sued himself for violating his own human rights by getting himself arrested…but then siad the state would have to pay the fine because he had no income because he was in jail.
    So maybe there’s precedent there…

  11. lizz

    OMG! I’m beginning to see a pattern! I stuck a bead up my nose!

    My mum phoned the Dr and he thought she said I had a bee stuck up my nose and she said he arrived a startling 3 minutes later at the door with small forceps at the ready.

    But – well, I think this coincidence is too much to ignore. I think everyone here should ask their parents/guardians if they have ever stuck something up their nose. It is clearly the cause of diabetes!!!!!

  12. Alison Post author

    Perhaps I’m the exception to prove the rule – no object, living or inanimate, has ever been stuck up my nose. Or maybe I was right and it was the PPS that got me!

  13. Annette A

    As far as I, or anyone else in my family, can remember, I’ve never had anything stuck up my nose. Maybe @alison and I (and others?) are a specific subset ‘people who might have stuck things up their noses but never got round to it but we’re getting them anyway’ ?

  14. Annette A

    Admission: minor phobia. FIngers in noses (and ears) = bad. (Maybe why nothing else ever went up there.) Dont know how long I’ve had it, but whereas I remember my siblings being shouted at for picking their noses, I never was. (Indeed ‘Why do you insist on doing that? Your little sister never does’ was used on several occasions…)
    Has also recently (well, in the last 10 years or so) spread to eyes – which makes eye tests (with drops) a bit of a nightmare…


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