I went to my local Diabetes UK meeting last night. I tend to do most of my diabetes “you show me yours I’ll show you mine” activity online nowadays, but I do venture out into the real world occasionally. I pick my meetings carefully. I find the alcohol intake needed to offset the depression caused by any talk on the diabetic foot that involves photos of festering toes is too damaging to my liver for me to risk.
But last night the speaker was a former GP. I admit, that phrase rings alarm bells. GP’s with brownie badges in diabetes can be scary. But this one is pancreatically challenged and a good speaker too, so I went along.
It was a genuinely interesting few hours. A gentle, entertaining meander through the rollercoaster of blood glucose control. He successfully navigated the tightrope of doom and avoided a riot by cleverly making Type 1s and Type 2s both feel like he was talking more about their condition than the other one. I picked up some new ideas on how to approach stuff.
And it reinforced some of the things I’ve done naturally over the years but have never heard anyone else talk about – like his mantra of sort the hypos first. If you’re having rollercoaster issues, prioritise stopping the lows rather than the highs. Because a lot of the highs are caused by the rebound from the lows. I’ve always done it, but never even thought to articulate it.
But the best bit for me was the conversation. I spoke to people who’d lived with diabetes for years. I reminisced about holidays with a South African ex pat, and trying to convince one chap that he should apply to be a trustee of Diabetes UK because his passion and drive around diabetes are just what they need.
But the bit that really stood out to me was spending some time talking to a young woman who was new to playing at being a pancreas. A three-way conversation about blood glucose results, what insulin she was using and what care she was getting gave her enough info to spot some issues and know how to go about fixing them. I think I got as much out of that conversation as she did. My therapy quota is complete for another week.