Living with diabetes – Dracula

The latest assault

Over the past 13 years Dracula has become a friend. I’m summoned to visit her every three months for a blood supping fest.

It’s all very civilized you understand – no baring of the eye teeth and sinking them with a vice-like grip into virgin flesh. No spurting of blood and trails over-spilling from the lips …

Dracula over the past 13 years has been a petite and beautifully groomed nurse probably now her early 70s. She’s greeted me with the same question every time. I could easily slip into remote control – no need to think about the answer. Occasionally I’ve considered making up another answer. Then I think about how many people she ministers to every day and how hard it must be initiating conversation when you might not feel like it. I relent.

The stock routine goes something like this: “Could you roll up your sleeve for me please – it doesn’t matter which arm?”, “Now can you make a fist and squeeze it for me – not too hard”, then she swabs the sweet spot with some alcohol-soaked cotton wool, finds a vein, positions the needle and inflicts pain. Claret-coloured blood fills three phials.

To her credit she is very gentle and apologetic. I don’t really need the apology – it really doesn’t bother me a bit.

The only part that does bother me is the fasting beforehand. No food or drink allowed from midnight before until it’s all over. For this reason, and because I’m an early morning person, I’ve managed to arrive at the local medical centre a good ten minutes before opening time at 7.40. At that time a queue is already forming …

The blood tests inform me and my doctor (and anyone else who want to know) how well I’ve managed over the preceding three months. The results give an indication as to whether the medication is sufficient or appropriate. Cholesterol – good and bad is also measured.

This morning I found that my little blood-sucking friend has given up the needle – she’s retired and a new Dracula has taken her place. Although this will see a change in the banter, it won’t change the routine.

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