1.42a.m. I’m at the kitchen table.
Two bananas have gone brown, the grapes are shrivelling and the apples have wrinkles.
The old git is asleep upstairs and Rudi and Philly have stopped scrapping and have settled on and under the kitchen chair. The stove is still alight and outside is dead quiet.
The fridge needs cleaning, the ironing needs ironing, the accounts need doing, and I’m at the kitchen table with a hot water bottle at my back and another one stuffed into my dressing gown.
January 8th tomorrow, it’s been a harrowing time.
Type two diabetes is a mare. You can fool yourself into believing that all the fear mongering is just a ploy to sell drugs and potions but then the body starts grumbling.
Tingly fingers. Numb toes. Irritability and then wallop the eyes stop doing what they have to do. An excess of glucose and the double vision starts.
When it first started happening I thought I saw a family of six standing at the traffic lights – it was a family of three. When it first started happening I thought four double decker buses were speeding towards me, it was just the two.
I blinked rapidly and the traffic lights turned amber-amber then red-red.
‘I’m going blind.’ I said
‘No it’s a common symptom’ said my homeopath.
‘Am I going blind? I asked my acpuncturist.
‘No. Glucose plays silly buggers with everything. It’s muscular.’ He said.
So there I was having to face the reality of my indulgence. Almond croissants and BLT’s, fish finger sandwiches and chips. Those bowls of crispy chips with mayo and red tomato sauce. Comfort food. Ever since the ‘oosbind was diagnosed I gave up. I kidded myself that trips to the swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna were keeping my body in check, but I knew something was up when walking became a chore. I have never found walking a chore. But insulin resistance messes with everything. Of course I know the science of it all but when faced with the reality of a poorly old man, discipline and will power go out the window along with dextrous fingers and energy.
I sat on my anxiety until my body exploded like an Icelandic Vulcano. I woke in the middle of the night burning up. ‘Inflammation’ said the experts. I woke in the middle of the night hot and terrified.
‘Go to the doctor,’ said my homeopath ‘Go and get yourself checked out.’
Drugs and me don’t work but I had no choice. I faced the white coat syndrome and went and saw the diabetic nurse.
‘My blood pressure’s through the roof.’ I said. ‘I’ve never had high blood pressure before.’
The lovely nurse with Christmas tree earrings and a tinselly hairband, tightened the velcro blood pressure strap onto my arm.
The readings were normal!
Strange I thought. She prodded my toes and I could feel the needles.
She checked the pulses in my legs.
‘You’re unusual’ she said. ‘Over the age of thirty the pulses reduce. You have three pulses. Unbelievable at your age.’
My breathing regulated the more she told me I wasn’t going to die and I wasn’t going blind.
She put me on ‘Metformin’ my worst nightmare. They make me nauseous and now I had given into big Pharma.
But after a second visit to the eye hospital then again on January 15th to see the consultant, I had no choice. And the double vision got worse.
Christmas telly was spent three inches from the screen, sitting in the bean bag and bemoaning the fact that I had fucked my own body with soft walnut bread and eggs on sourdough with smashed avocado.
My resentment, my weakness, my self loathing was beyond normal.
And then my nephew, in Portugal, stepped in, my dawter stepped in and even the old man stepped in.
‘Look after yourself. Be selfish it is the most selfless thing you can do.’ They said individually not in unison.
Me getting ill was not on the cards, me punishing myself for not dealing with the old git generously enough, was normal, I was reassured.
If you don’t look after yourself you become a burden to others, they said.
and so I cut the carbs and downed the herbs from the herbalist.
I cut out all sugar and declined eggnog over Christmas. I took ginger tea on New Year’s Eve instead of bubbles.
I stopped coffee which meant I stopped biscuits and cakes and delicious mince pies.
I started meditating again.
‘First of all the patient has got to want to live.’ Said the my pal the bio chemist.
So I made a decision.
Through the ‘Metformin’ nausea I made a decision that even though I didn’t want to see what was going on around me I had to get my eyes back so I could regain my independence.
The nephew sent me frequency healing from Portugal. The homeopath gave me bottles of remedies. The acupuncturist stuck needles in me and tested my wee.
I did eye exercises, looking at one finger and then into the middle distance. Rolling my eyes 12 times in both directions. I blinked a lot and palmed my eyes.
And then I realised that we only had one Christmas tree not two.
On Saturday after a three hour session with the frequency machine I walked to the bathroom without spinning.
By Saturday afternoon I could turn my head and my eyes had stabilised.
Sunday, I looked out of the window and I could see the frost on the lawn and green daffodil shoots poking out of the soft brown earth.
I blinked again and my blood had gone down to nearly normal, but could I see to drive?
I tested my sight by blinking and breathing and believing and calming down.
I got into the car and drove to buy the newspapers. I bought oatcakes and goats cheese.
I facetimed people to tell them I could see again. Sighs of relief came from Devon, Wales and Chatham, whoops of delight from Hackney and Portugal.
Now it’s 3.00 a.m and I can still see. Once I get myself stabilised I can reduce the ‘Metformin’. I feel like a failure resorting to drugs but it’s only for a ‘patch of time’ said the acupuncturist.
‘Eating fat and animals to change your biology. Then you can go back to plant based eating’ he said gently.
So in the words of Jimmy Cliff;
‘I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright
Bright sunshiny day’
Thank you to the NHS, to all my cranks, to my family and most of all to me. I chose good.
What a fucking relief.