Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

  1. Today I went to the hospital for a diabetes clinic appointment. I have them every three months or so. I try not to think about them too much. I try not to think about being diabetic too much. It’s been the case for twenty-one years, so there’s not much point in dwelling on it. Clinic appointments stress me out, especially in a large hospital instead of the smaller outpatient centre I attended as a kid. They’re often embarrassing or frustrating, or both: navigating the brusque guy on the ward desk; peeing in a cup; answering inane NHS questionnaires on an iPad; waiting in an ugly, humid room with a bunch of other broken humans; all these things make me want to claw my skin off. That’s even before we get to the part where I have to be weighed, or where a diabetic nurse has the chance to scold me for lax attitudes to medicating, or where a dietitian tells me, for the seven thousandth time, about food groups.

This time, I didn’t get a nurse; I got a consultant. She was young, and kind, and smart, and she didn’t push me. At some point, when she went away to check something with the phlebotomist, something new happened: I started crying. When she came back, I tried to stop, and to apologise. “I’ve had this for twenty-one years,” I said. “I should be able to—” and then stopped. The doctor looked at me and said, gently, “Do you know how common depression and anxiety are amongst diabetics? Especially ones who’ve had it since they were children? I see this all the time.”

And to my own surprise, I looked up and said, “I’m so angry.”

The long and the short of it is that there’s counselling available, and I’ve asked for a referral. The NHS may be cumbersome and bureaucratic, but it came through for me today. It’s taken me this long, but it’s time to sort some things out. If you feel the same way, but you’re scared or uncertain, take this story as a good omen. People pay their taxes for this; for you; for me.

2. Relatedly: I hope you all voted Labour.

3. You know that “one like = one fave book” Twitter meme that’s been going around? I did it through my work Twitter account (@HeywoodHill). It was what you might call successful.

4. I did one from my personal account too. You know, if you want to.

5. Many congratulations to Naomi Alderman for winning the Baileys Prize with The Power! I can’t say that I’m surprised, or indeed disappointed, although my personal favourite was Do Not Say We Have Nothing, for the sheer high-level thinking that it displays at every turn. But The Power is a terrific, deserving, and very timely winner.

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Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. Pop in, say hi.

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17 thoughts on “Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

    • I hope so too. No one had ever told me that diabetics were more prone to depression, and although it makes perfect sense, it somehow made a big difference to actually hear a medical professional say it.

  1. Coming from a family where diabetes is quite common, I fully understand and I hope you get the support and help that you need.
    I didn’t know you were Heywood Hill books at work! So I’ve been following both of you!

    • Yes – having been offered counselling makes the biggest difference. Not sure how long it’ll take, but just knowing there’s a doctor out there who wants to help is huge.

    • I imagine type 2 to be harder in a lot of ways (I’m type 1 and at least I can use insulin, even if I often “forget” to). Much diabetic empathy! And YESSSS TORIES OUTTTTT

  2. Your story really touched me, and even though I can only imagine your experiences, there have been times when I’ve had health issues that resulted in regular visits to the doctor. At those times, we experience what sometimes feels like harsh and coldly clinical care. The kindness of a different level of care can definitely break down our walls and lead to crying.

    I hope you only have the kind care from now on.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Laurel! I’ve had two really good experiences with the NHS recently, both coming exactly when I needed them – but the kindness is so important.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. You’ve made a brave step and I hope you find the counselling helpful. I am anxiously awaiting the publication of The Power in the US. Last I checked it was scheduled for fall but maybe they will move it up since it won.

  4. ian darling says:

    Glad that you had a good experience a the clinic and hope that the counselling is useful. The election: Phew, what a relief! After Brexit and Trump I was expecting the worst.

  5. I hate having to go to hospital every six months to a year for my kidney disease checkups. It’s just such a depressing atmosphere because I don’t think of myself as an unwell person (and I’m sure I’m less affected on a regular basis than you are). Still, I’m tremendously grateful for the NHS.

    I’ve not taken citizenship in the UK yet so can’t vote, but if I could I reckon I’d vote Labour. My husband is a member of the Liberal Democrats but I don’t see the point of voting for a lost cause…

    • That’s exactly it – not thinking of yourself as an unwell person. And yet I *am* – I’m chronically ill and I qualify as “disabled”. It’s something I clearly haven’t yet come to terms with.

      I voted Lib Dem last week because our Labour candidate (and sitting MP) is Kate Hoey, who’s more or less actually a Tory, was pro-Brexit, and has campaigned with UKIP. In almost any other constituency, I’d have voted for Labour.

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