Thursday, 14 April 2011

HbA1 oh I see

In my last blog I wasn’t sure how the process for getting an HbA1c test goes. That’s the test for measuring your longer term blood sugar levels. Well I found out and it’s not like a dentist’s where they remind you to make an appointment, it’s all down to you. My advice is to put a date in your calendar six months in advance and hope you don’t lose the diary, computer or phone.

I woke up at 8.00am, as my test wasn’t till ten, only to discover the water to my flat had been cut off. I had enough left in my glass on the bedside table to take my pills as instructed and that was it. No shower, no brushed teeth, blagghhh!

Then of course I couldn’t eat as you have to fast for the HbA1c and my stomach was making a few grumbling noises. So hungry, grumpy and unwashed I headed to the doctors. Now lately my blood sugar levels have been a bit haywire and I haven’t thought properly about why, so as I was sitting in the rather bland GP waiting room I got to thinking, and thinking, and thinking, because the nurse was half an hour late.

What I concluded was that as I now have a lovely girlfriend I’ve been eating out more than when I was single, and although I have been going for a relatively healthy option and certainly no desert, you just can’t tell what they put in your food. As I enjoy going out, rather than eat in more, I made the decision to eat more salads when I’m out.

The problem with salad is that I begrudge paying for it. I can make a salad at home, and for a fraction of the cost, and it taste just the same because there are no special sauces I can put on them. Take today, I had a buffalo mozzarella salad from Carluccios in Smithfield, with about nine pieces of rocket, three small pieces of mozzarella, three slices of tomato, two pieces of fancy bread and some olives - £5.30. It tasted great, but I could do that at home for half the cost and make it more filling.

But I digress; I was worried about the test. The last time I took the test, also my first time, the nurse read out the result of 10, which I thought was good as I had only just been diagnosed and so I was bound to be a bit high. Only she shuck her head, apparently 10 is not good, it’s bad, as it turns out long term blood sugar levels are conveniently measured on an entirely different scale from the finger pricking test I do most days. There would seem to be some confusion as to what the normal range is and it varies according to the lab used to measure it. But it would seem that somewhere between 5% and 7.5% is the normal range. I’ll find out more if I can. (Diabetes UK says below 6.5% is good).

Long story short, the nurse couldn’t get at my deep veins so sent me to the hospital, which meant I’d run late for work. I wasn’t having the best day. They stabbed me in the arm and I left. But as I watched the large metallic doors grind open it struck me that I’ve been doing pretty much everything I should be doing. I’ve lost about four stone in weight, do loads of exercise and have had only three bowls of ice cream in the nine months I’ve been diagnosed. I have not eaten a chocolate bar nor any sweets or cakes in that time. If it comes back high I have no idea where to go from there. I think it might crush me if it’s too high. I’ve been working hard at beating this disease and if I’m failing I would be very distressed. I get the results on Tuesday night so I’ll let you all know.