Sunday, 24 January 2010

Zed and two noughts

No, not the Peter Greenaway film Zoo. Frank and I went to to Colchester Zoo this morning, and it's all about numbers. Last week Frank matter-of-factly informed me "I know all the numbers in the world". And numbers are something we're struggling with at the moment.

We're gathering lots of diabetes data under Frank's new testing and administering regime, and trying to make sense of it all. We're now weighing his food, calculating the carbohydrate content, and working out insulin doses. Plus we've got data from fingerprick blood testing to measure where his blood-sugar levels are at that instant. Calculating insulin doses based on what he's going to eat, and factoring in a bit more to correct for the (most likely) over-high blood sugar levels.

Meanwhile Frank's doing his own calculations. We're looking at the lions, and one has died since our last visit. "There used to be two, but now there's one", Frank tells me. In the next cage is a swarm of Persian mice. There's usually around a dozen in there, but today there's heaps all over the floor of the cage, on the rocks, and up at the high level platforms and ropes. A quick estimate and I'd clocked around two hundred meeces, suggesting they'd been busy amusing themselves over Christmas, or the snakes had lost their appetites. I asked Frank how many mice were in the cage, and he had a good look round, muttered a string of numbers under his breath, and pronounced after his deliberations "there are eight mice".

A quick scoot round the apes and tortoises, and it's back home for lunch, where we discover he has a high of 24 (when we should be between 4 and 8), so it's another big injection of insulin, to correct his high and to allow for his soon-to-be-eaten lunch, but he isn't that hungry which leaves him potentially overdosed on insulin. And sure enough, two hours later he crashes into a hypo episode at 2.8.

We know what to do, but it's back to Peter Greenaway films again, and this time it's Drowning by Numbers.


  1. Hullo Swifty,

    Not being in that situation it's hard to understand how you both - all - cope on this constant basis. It's a huge strain no doubt. But its clear that you see {and celebrate} Frank as an ordinary wee boy coping with extraordinary cicumstances. His absolute faith in you his parents, his heroes, must be an added strain in itself.

    Its good to see that you can comment with wry humour despite everything his illness and eclectic musical taste hands you.

    kind regards....Al.

  2. Message sent by e-mail from Leon Ross - Your blogspot is blocked through my work internet filter under the category "Suspicious"! Is there some kind of sinister footwear hiding on there?

  3. Message from Stephen Ball via Facebook - Hope you're getting used to the new regime,
    where's the photo taken of the boat?

  4. Hi Alastair, Leon and Stephen - thanks for your support.
    Al, overall we have a great life, and we try our best to get out of the diabetes shadow, but with this degree of intervention we can't even momentarily forget it. I think you have picked up a good level of understanding, by reading my blogs, thank you. I'm surprised you didn't respond to my blog about the worst album ever.......
    Leon has some suggestions for the worst album ever, having been forced to listen to his father's record collection.
    Stephen - My blogspot photo is on the foot ferry to Knoydart from Mallaig, for our backpacking trip last May. My pal Dan was feeling a long way from home (Detroit) by this point.

  5. From Sarah Budd via e-mail - Hi dad. Checked out your blog today, sorry that Frank's blood sugar is so erratic. Always frustrating if you feel you have no control over something.

  6. re worst album ever.

    pretty much 30% of my record collection could go in there to be honest.

    Been thinkin it over so much my brain hurts........




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