Did you ever read 'Yes Man' by Danny Wallace (pal of Dave Gorman and author of various other things)? There was also a film I think. Anyway, the premise of 'Yes Man' is that Danny Wallace decided to say yes to every invitation, opportunity, favour, etc, etc, that came his way. I've been thinking about that over the past week - mostly that I should probably read it - as I seem to have the problem of not being able to say 'no' to enough things.
I made an error last week, one that has haunted my dreams on a number of occasions since. I have noticed that I am more open to experiencing different things since moving to Berlin, but I hadn't been as aware of how often I just agree to things particularly when the requests are made to me in German. It's because it's just easier. To say 'no' often involves having to give a valid explanation of why you are saying no, and that can be just too much hard work in a foreign language.
Anyway, last week I got caught out. I had an appointment with my diabetes consultant to discuss my latest blood results, and following a quick blah-be-blah about post-exercise hypos, I stupidly agreed to attend a session which I shall call 'How to be a good diabetic'. These things normally involve sitting around with a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (or Consultant Nurse) and a bunch of diabetics and talking about carb counting, healthy eating, foot care, blood testing, and so on.
I have been invited to attend these sessions for the past 26 years and to date I have managed to avoid them. When I was a child and first became a diabetic I had to attend a children's diabetic clinic probably once every 6 months and the appointment would last almost a full day. It would involve all the standard stuff: getting weighed, height measured, blood taken, blood pressure checked, and a visit with the consultant. But all of that if you are lucky takes maybe an hour to complete, give or take waiting times. The rest of the day was spent sitting miserably in a circle with other diabetics and being encouraged to talk about issues. Aside from that being nurse-led torture, there were three things that I particularly hated about these sessions.
The first was that there was usually a child who had been salvaged from the grips of death. They would have gone undiagnosed by parents who hadn't known what the symptoms of diabetes were, and didn't think about going to the doctor with their child until the weight loss, extreme liquid intake and lethargy, etc, etc were hard to ignore. And even then, most times it wasn't even eventual realisation by the parents that something was wrong that that got them there. Usually, these kids were in-patients who had arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Hearing about the failed kidneys and serious health malfunctions of near-skeletal 10 year olds never really made me feel positive about my diabetes.
There was inevitably another child who I would have classed as a 'good diabetic'. Someone whose life revolved around achieving perfect control, and for whom diabetes was the major focus of their life. They always enjoyed talking about best practice in rotating injection sites or some such stuff, and even in my youth I recognised the fact that I didn't want diabetes to rule my life to such a degree. I have it, but I don't want it invading into every aspect of my life. I certainly don't want to be talking about it all the time. And so, my life-long avoidance of other diabetics began. Because as soon as another diabetic clocks you as a fellow injector, then it's like an invitation to give you their medical history in all it's marvellously uninteresting detail.
But the thing I really hated about these sessions was that without fail the nurse or diabetic sister would lead the discussion on to diabetic expeditions. I'm sure that's not what they were really called, but they were forever trying to get you to agree to go on a 'holiday' (I can barely bring myself to use that word) with other diabetics (hold me back) and they would try and entice you into going by showing you brochures which depicted children testing their blood glucose halfway up a mountain. And they were smiling while they were doing it. So patently they were mental as well as diabetic. Poor souls. NOTHING could have persuaded me to go on one of these trips. NOTHING!
It was at this time that I began honing my talent for creating excuses as to why I wouldn't be able to go. Nowadays (in the UK at least), I believe I am leading the way in the field of 'instantaneous fabricated reasons to get out of diabetes-related situations that I am not much partial to'. But here, I just can't think fast enough, and lack the vocabulary to make lying easy. It's a bit of a bummer.
[Gosh it's a bit long this isn't it? If you're still with me, I'll split it into a second part. That'll be 'pump up the jam(my dodgers) - pt 2'...]