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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

I suppose I'd better tell you about this sugar thing. I'm one of those one-in-a-million people whose pancreas has given up on them.

Not that I blame him. I've been through everything just as much as he has and I know what it's like.

In fact, I've decided to bestow a name on him. From now on he's Peter Pancreas and I hope he likes the name just as much as I used to enjoy his produce.

It's where he's left me that's the question.

Without Peter I cannot get sugar out of my system on my own. It's like getting drunk and being unable to sober up. And if you carry on drinking (or in my case, eating chocolate bars) you will die.

But as Peter has a snooze down there (somewhere near the kidneys) I have news for him.

I might not like the idea of genetically modified foodstuffs, but I tell you what, I'm thrilled that they've discovered how to do something similar to Peter's previous past-time, making insulin. Apparently they can now make as much as they want of the stuff.

It's the clear liquid with the consistency of frozen vodka that burns out the sugar from the blood and makes you well again.

You get it from the pharmacy already loaded into a pen-like object and for a time it makes you feel like you're James Bond.

One of my wives was diabetic and her insulin used to come from pigs. I don't mean anything by that, it's just that's all they had. Perhaps they were poor.

Anyway my insulin container proudly states it contains "human insulin."

Off-hand, I can't think of anything else you can buy that says it's human.

This doodling reminds me of a friend of mine who was a reporter in Beirut where a rabid dog bit him as he waited in a dusty back street to interview Gungirl Leyla Khaled.

He went to a doctor who gave him this careful advice: "If I was you," he said, "I'd get on the first plane to Heathrow. Wait for three hours and then summon the stewardess. Tell her you don't feel well and ask if it could have anything to do with the dog that was foaming at the mouth and spinning round in circles before it bit you."

My friend did this and the pilot radioed ahead so that the vaccine was waiting for him having been brought to the airport by an ambulance escorted by two police cars. Come to think of it, that's a useful bit of advice should you ever find yourself in similar circumstances!

My friend read what it said on the box as he lay in a hospital bed having great big injections right into his stomach and it said: "Rabbit brains."

Anyway it worked, though he had to go through agony with his stomach swelling to bursting point for a fortnight as though he'd drunk a gallon Guinness.

And so back to the sugar. The problem is that it's not as easy as you think to find food and drink without it these days and Guinness is only the start, by the way.

Other things with carbohydrates in them are broken down into sugar after you've eaten them. And that needs insulin as well, in order that we can get some energy.

When you inject the insulin, you have to eat only as much as it can deal with, but you must eat enough to balance everything out. It's no good ordering a meal and then saying you don't like it and eating nothing. In fact, it's perfect for someone who doesn't drink and fall asleep headfirst in the soup.

Peter, I hope you enjoy your retirement and hope it's a long and happy one.

Sinclair Newton