It wasn't so much being designated as diabetic yesterday morning. A nuisance, yes, but I can live with it as being one of those things about getting older. It was the telephone call at 6 p.m. from my doctor:-
"I'm afraid that on testing the (urine) specimen you brought in today, it's showing something I'd rather not have found. We've detected 'ketones', and if it's confirmed it'll mean you having to go into hospital. But it could be a one-off."
I was knocked backwards. I've never ever been in hospital once in my entire life, and it's been a lifelong dread. My worst nightmare. Speechless.
He wanted me to come in next day (today) as early as possible (it needed to be dealt with urgently) taking another specimen for examination.
I rang my sister with the news, the first and closest person in the world I can turn to immediately. Unfortunately, like my two surviving brothers, she lives 300 miles away. When I told her, it didn't help for me to have broken down straight away. She was as shocked as I was, offering comfort and consolation - as well as prayers (she's very Catholic-religious), even saying that she'd come down here if I really wanted. There's no way I can have that. She is now 74, her husband, 79, and they've got not only their own health issues but a very large extended family, each parent, child and grandchild having its own problems. (My brother-in-law is very supportive too, and far more level-headed in moments of family crisis than any of the rest of us).
What upset me at least as much as going into hospital was what was to happen to my dear pussy-cats. I don't know a single soul in the area who could take care of them, so the only thing would be the cattery - with those outside kennels (albeit 'heated', as they say) under the sharp frosts we are now getting every night. And for how long? Days? Weeks? Perhaps months? Would I ever even see them again?
My younger brother rang me after my sister had given him the news, generously offering all the money I needed for the cattery or anything else. I was quite overwhelmed by his offer, though I wasn't too surprised as generosity has always been his style.
Anyway, after a night which was largely given over to lying awake, I did get some comfort in a dream which saw me in Paris (of all places) having this second test done by a doctor (not my own) and who came out with a negative result, after which I found myself air-gulping deeply before I could get any words of relief out.
My appointment this morning was at 7.50. I'd got out of bed at 4.45, sitting silently, most of the time, just waiting for the hour to arrive.
I don't recall walking the 20 minutes to the surgery. Must have looked like a zombie - mind in another world.
When my name was called, I went in like an automoton, sat down - and burst into tears. Not a pretty sight.
He asked if I was upset at my being diagnosed as diabetic. I told him that it wasn't so much that, it was the thought of going into hospital for my first time ever - and that I have so much to sort out first. (I didn't mention the cats.) He tried to reassure me on the lines of "Let's not talk about that until we've checked this specimen." He took the bottle, went to the basin, put something into it and then a suspenseful minute (which seemed more like an hour) as we waited in silence, me still trying to stifle my sobs. Then he announced "Ah, you're okay. You don't have 'ketones'". I think he expected me to jump for joy as he repeated it. "That's what you wanted to hear, wasn't it? YOU DO NOT HAVE KETONES!". I suppose I ought to have expressed some gratitude but my emotions had been so much through the wringer, I couldn't turn them around just like that. At first I couldn't absorb what he was saying, but the message gradually seeped in.
He told me that, given that I'm negative on the test, the situation was now the same as it had been yesterday morning - start taking the new diabetes medication, see the diabetes nurse in 2 weeks and see him again in 4 weeks. I muttered a thanks, trying to smile through the drying tears, and walked back slowly - not with a spring in my step, but the relief at the news was getting through to my addled mind at last.
It's now 2 hours since I returned. I rang my sister and my brother, who were both appropriately relieved - and my two pussy cats are sleeping just a few feet away from me now, entirely oblivious of the emotional shake-up I've just been through.
So that's the position, my friends.
I'm feeling a bit too raw to do the promised film-review blog right now. I may come back to post it later today, but I think it's more likely to be tomorrow.
Btw: I found out from the internet that 'ketones' are produced when the body can't use energy from food-intake but has to use the body's own fats for its energy supply. It seems I'm not at that stage - yet.
20 minutes ago