Archive for the Christmas Category

Episode 121. In which nobody will put it in writing.

Posted in Christmas, home with tags , , , on December 13, 2011 by diabetses

I am going home for Christmas. I can’t get the basic travel insurance you buy when you book your flights because I’m diabetic and that has to be ‘disclosed’ and buying insurance online doesn’t let you disclose things, it just lets you tick a box confirming there’s nothing to disclose.

But there is.

So I had to find travel insurance myself. I left it a bit late but not too late, because I was also moving house and having a mini breakdown and things, but I got it booked about a week and a half ago.

It turns out a lot of insurance doesn’t cover certain things if the trip covered only takes place within the UK, and since mine does, those policies were no use to me. I eventually thought, I know, I’ll try Natwest, they’re my bank anyway. I phoned up and although the guy I spoke to kept harping on about a thing which wasn’t the thing I asked about, he eventually said that would be covered. By that time my break was over soI said I’d call back another time to buy the policy.

My worry, you see, is that something will stop me from getting to the airport for my flight. Not that my flight will be cancelled or delayed, because I know if that happens then it’s the airline’s problem, they have to get me home one way or the other, and although not being insured might mean I’d miss out on my £2.34 per 12 hour period stipend or whatever, I could live without that. What I worry about is that the weather will turn bad while I’m at home and I will be snowed in, and I will not be able to get to the airport. That my flight will leave, early, late or on time, but that I won’t be on it, because I will be snowed in. So the insurance I wanted was for missed departure. I understand that this will require me to provide some kind of evidence that I tried, but I can do that.

What happened was that I was sent an insurance policy schedule and a policy document listing all the possible sections covered and what they’re all for. The section called Missed Departure is Section J.

Section J is the only section that does not appear on my policy schedule.

The first time I phoned up about this the guy started off by telling me I couldn’t just wait til it snowed then buy insurance because nobody would insure me if they already knew the thing was definitely going to happen. I pointed out that I knew this and that it was nearly 3 weeks til my flight, that I understand the point of insurance and that I was asking a specific question. He then spent ten minutes talking about how if the flight was cancelled the airline would have to get me home, and again, I explained that I understood this, and, again, it wasn’t what I was asking about. Eventually he seemed to catch on and said yes, that would be OK.

The next day I phoned up and bought the policy. I made my disclosure and paid my money and the policy was in place.

When the documents arrived, the schedule was missing section J. I called again and was told it must be a mistake, and they would send the documents again.

When the second set of documents arrived, the schedule was still missing section J. I called again and was told I would have to speak to Claims, who were closed on Saturdays.

I remembered hearing Claims on the automated menu options so I called again, went through to Claims, and spoke to some girl whose name I didn’t catch. She was very helpful. She couldn’t see why that section was missing, she seemed to understand what I was talking about, and she said she’d have to speak to Technical Underwriters for an answer. While I was on hold, we got cut off.

I called back and by some stroke of luck spoke to the same girl again. She said that Technical Underwriters had been unable to help in any way whatsoever and had suggested I call Sales again on Monday. Everyone wants me to call someone else on Monday. Anyway this girl said she would see what she could find out, because if the schedules were missing sections that would be a big thing and it would need investigating. She said she would call me back on Monday afternoon.

Monday afternoon has been and gone and now it’s nearly the end of Tuesday. I called again and was told that I was wrong, that Missed Departure was something else entirely, the woman seemed to think that it meant something to do with me not leaving enough time to get to the airport, which struck me as quite amazing, because what insurance company would seriously include cover of any kind for someone’s own stupidity? Anyway, she was certain that I was covered for missing my flight due to bad weather, because it was out of my control, and that comes under section G. But that they couldn’t send me any of this in writing because as far as they’re concerned it’s already in the policy documents. And in any case, all these calls are recorded. So that’s OK then.

I was on hold for about half an hour, so I have given up. Maybe I will go home and read Section G and it will all make sense. But if I do get snowed in and can’t make it to the airport, and I miss my flight, but it leaves without me, then you all are my witnesses, and this is my reminder. I called seven times to ask this question, and was told each time that I was covered.

If I am delayed and there is any question whatsoever of whether or not I am entitled to compensation, I will not be entering into negotiations or trying to convince anyone of anything.

I have been promised.

Seven times.

I am covered.

The end.


**worries to infinity**


Episode 119. In which I discuss, in brief, the effects of Christmas on the internet

Posted in Christmas, Internet on December 14, 2010 by diabetses

The other day I went onto a website which is for customers of a particular system we use at work, I logged in and went looking for instructions on how to change one little aspect of the webview, because I am Systems Librarian and that’s my job.

This website is difficult to use. All the information is in documents that are downloadable from the website, but the documents aren’t searchable from the website. They must have hundreds of documents on there, and the only way to find the right document is to know the title and to know which section of the website they’ve put it under. This from a company who has decided on their own definition of the word ‘keyword’ that doesn’t match any definition I’ve ever heard.

I was hunting around, trying to find the document with the information I needed, from amongst all the pages full of documents, and one I clicked on, almost at random at this point because everything that was remotely logical had failed, the page loaded up and what should appear but snowflakes.  Snowflakes falling down the page from the toolbar ‘sky’.



(insert a few obscenities in there at random, you can’t go far wrong)
Please, internet, don’t do pretty pretty Christmas motifs unless you’re fairly confident your website users aren’t already tearing their hair out when they find them.

Diabetes moment of the day

Well, so far my diabetes moment has been that I had lemon curd on toast. This is cheating, cos lemon curd has sugar by the truckload. But lemon curd tastes nice, so there.

Episode 22. In which I go back to work.

Posted in Christmas, Hogmanay/New Year, Internet, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by diabetses

I was not looking forward to going back to work today.  I’m not a holiday person.  I get tired, my commute to work wears me out and I really need a rest from time to time.  The weekend just doesn’t do it, I’m just tired enough to be unable to do anything but doing nothing doesn’t give me enough rest.  So every so often I take a couple of days off, a long weekend, between that and the bank holidays it gets me through.

I can’t handle more than a week off at a time, because if I do then it is incredibly hard for me to get back into work mode.  I don’t mean just as hard is it is for everyone, I know nobody likes having to get up for work the first morning after the end of a holiday.  I start dreading it pretty much as soon as I wake up on the third day of the holiday.  And I don’t function properly for the first day or two back in the office.  I get things done, I do my job, I’m not completely useless, but, for example, if I’m asked an unexpected question, or a complicated question, or a question in several parts, I might have to write it down and stare at it for a few minutes before I can come up with an answer.

Luckily today was alright, I wasn’t fully functional but the office was quiet (who goes back to work on January 2nd?  Scotland has it right with the extra bank holiday).  We also tried to go out for lunch.  For the record, I really, really love Chi Noodle on Ludgate Circus, but I have no idea why they (and Wagamama) were shut today.  I know the City was quiet but it’s not a bank holiday, you’re just being lazy.

Luckily, it being Friday, I’ve got the weekend to recover.  It might only make it worse, I don’t know, but I might have to get up at 6am tomorrow and Sunday to try to get back into the routine.  It’s not like I’m useful on the weekends at the best of times.


I just found out that this blog (specifically Episode 13) is the top two hits if you google the words survivors + rubbish + ending.  If you add BBC to the search, I’m number 2 and the BBC is number 4.  This, to me, is hilarious.

Diabetic moment of the day

I had a bit of a hypo this afternoon.  Luckily we (as a department) were given a box of chocolates for Christmas so I saved my own life with a strawberry cream and two caramel barrels.  Om nom nom.

Episode 15. In which we have leftovers.

Posted in Christmas, people, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2008 by diabetses

It’s Boxing Day!  Yay!  I hope you had a lovely Christmas Day, and I hope you had a lovely Boxing Day too, since I forgo all about this blog until now, and to be honest if we didn’t have guests I’d be thinking about bed.  But we do have guests in, and I am being very rude by writing a blog post in their presence, but it won’t be a long one, and I’m sure they understand.

I don’t really have a subject to talk about today, we had a lovely day yesterday with some friends and today more people have come round for leftovers, although it was only part leftovers, and part slow-cooked gammon, which was lovely.  And now we’re sitting around watching QI and learning about Veuve Cliquot.

Today more people came round in the afternoon and we had a proper laugh in the pub (including some random little girl pointing at our table and saying “look, they’ve got two daddies!”) and then came home in time for a nice dinner of beef, turkey, gammon, boiled potatoes and bubble and squeak.  Then tiramisu and pavlova, and now we’re trying to pick a movie.

Oh, we’re not picking a movie. 😦


Diabetic moment of the day

Since it’s Christmas I’ve got a few.

  1. We watched Con Air the other night, which has the most confusing diabetic I’ve ever seen.  One character needs his ‘shot’ of insulin, or else he is going to be dead in 2 hours.  He’s apparently had regular injections every day except they missed it last night.  As far as I can make out, this means his blood sugar’s got to be too high, but from what I know of diabetes (and although that’s not inconsiderable I’m not claiming to know everything) he’s not going to die of it in 2 hours.  Given that I just went without insulin for six months and didn’t even get any ketones, I mean.  His symptoms seem to me to match low blood sugar.  He seems to be having a hypo, but if he doesn’t get insulin (which will lower his blood sugar), he’ll die in 2 hours.  Nonsense.  However, Steve Buscemi rocks.
  2. There was something else, in the pub, but I don’t remember what it was.
  3. Yesterday I ate a pile of tiramisu and a pile of pavlova, I took a total of 8 units of Novorapid over the course of the day and my blood sugar this morning was perfect.
  4. Tonight I ate a pile of tiramisu after dinner, took 6 units, and right now I’m shaky.  Bring on the pavlova.

Episode 14. In which we celebrate Christmas Day.

Posted in Christmas with tags , , , , , , on December 25, 2008 by diabetses

Merry Christmas!

I’m not going to ramble today, not here at least, because I have real live people in my living room to ramble at in real life.  They’re a captive audience, held captive by food and booze, and a shared love of Henry the cat.

I spent all of yesterday cleaning (between episodes of My So-Called Life and Crooked House, and the latest editions of Love It! and National Enquirer), and now the only things clogging up my lovely Ikea coffee table are the presents waiting for their recipients to arrive and my new camera, waiting to catch their little faces as they open them.

I wish you all as lovely a day as I intend to have myself.

Incidentally, here are the search terms that people used to find Episode 13 via Google.  This gave me a hell of a chuckle.  I wish someone had left a comment so I’d know whether or not they agreed with me.

  • The ending of survivors
  • Survivors
  • Survivors rubbish ending BBC

Diabetic moment of the day

Today I am cheating like there is no tomorrow.  Specifically, I intend to eat as much of a raspberry pavlova as I physically can.  And going by recent events, it’ll only take a few extra units of Novorapid to kick the sugar back out again.

Episode 10. In which we discuss Christmas presents and diabetes.

Posted in Christmas, diabetes, shopping with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by diabetses

The other day, when I was off work, I went out for Christmas presents, and I have to say I had a great time.  I had taken the day off work specifically to get ready for Christmas day well in advance of the crowds.    Now I have to work the up until the day before Christmas Eve, but I’m sorted for the big day.

I really enjoyed buying the presents.  As I’ve said we’re hosting Christmas this year, and we set ourselves a budget for presents (per person) and I got to go out and find things for people.  Now, a couple of people are coming for Christmas that we don’t know very well (or at all) but it wouldn’t be fair to leave them out so they’re getting presents too.  Town was no busier than most Saturdays, since it was a Friday before Christmas, I was out for about four hours and I didn’t get pissed off, which is a massive achievement for me.

This year there is one Christmas present I was very proud of.  I wasn’t sure what to get My Man but eventually I thought of something, and I thought it was perfect, I thought he’d love it.  I know he’d love it.  I know he will love it.  He told me he will love it.  Because the company I ordered it from sent me a postcard thanking me for the order.  Despite me ordering it as a gift, to be sent to the same address, in someone else’s name, and placed the order just in time for Christmas, I was sent a postcard, open to the elements and for all and sundry to read, explaining exactly what I’d ordered.  Isn’t that just genius?

I’m pretty sure it takes a special kind of idiot to do something like that.  I wasn’t even aware it was normal practice to send postcards for that kind of thing, I had had a niggling worry that an envelope might arrive with the company logo on it, but I thought I could pass it off somehow, as spam or something, if My Man saw it.  I really have no idea what they were thinking.  At all.

So now he knows what my wonderful special flash-of-inspiration present is, and I’m really glad I got him a little crappy bit of nonsense stocking-filler thing, because now that’s the only surprise he’s getting on Christmas Day.

That and the fact that I’m not doing the washing up.

Diabetic moment of the day

Today I’ve been fine, but yesterday, after writing about my perfect-pancreas Saturday, I had a massive hypo in the evening.  I ate about three handfuls of Haribo and half a Wispa (which is a lot of sugar but the hypo hit so hard, and so fast after eating, that it was clear I’d taken far too much insulin and if I didn’t hit it hard right back it would just recur all night).  This morning my blood sugar was perfect, so clearly I didn’t eat too much Haribo.

My god but that was wonderful.

The story here is interesting.  A while ago a doctor looked at my test results and wondered whether I’d been misdiagnosed, because, given that I’m supposed to have Type 1 diabetes, I was taking a ridiculously small amount of insulin, and my HbA1 results were too good to be true.  So I was taken off the insulin to see whether maybe I didn’t need it, I tried a few months of control by diet (and my god, that was a boring few months), but that didn’t work either.  So I was put on tablets, which are apparently very effective on certain types of diabetes.  But they had no effect whatsoever, I might as well have been eating… I was about to say tictacs but they would actually have made it worse, so let’s just say I might as well have been eating tiny bits of bread.

So I went back on the insulin, back on the needles.  I started out on the same amount as I went on when I was first diagnosed, which, as I’ve said, was next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The thing is, it’s about three weeks down the line, and I’m having a massive hypo after six units of Novorapid, having taken no insulin with breakfast or lunch and then gorged myself on lasagne and garlic bread.  If you’re a carb counter, you know how stupid that sounds.  Six units of Novorapid is nothing.  Lasagne and garlic bread are carbs a-go-go.  Toast for breakfast, noodles, crackers and cheese for lunch, crisps in the afternoon, by rights my sugars should’ve been way high by the evening.  But they weren’t.

Really, it’s very confusing.  My pancreas is making insulin, just not enough.  I am sensitive to insulin, it’s almost like the injections are stimulating my insulin creation, if I take a bit of insulin then my body kicks in and does what it’s meant to, but the tablets, which are specifically designed to stimulate insulin creation, had no effect whatsoever.

It makes no sense, and it’s quite frustrating.  But the alternative would suck more.  If I was a proper diabetic, by which I mean a textbook diabetic, I would need insulin every day, several times a day, I would have to count my carbs, I would have to walk that line, and it would be getting worse and worse, because you do build up a resistance to insulin, I’m told, and although I’m going the opposite direction, in most cases you need more as you get older.  So as much as I wish I understood what was happening, I have to be thankful that whatever it is is less bad than it could be.  Than it should be, really.

So if any proper diabetics are reading this, whatever type you have, more power to you, keep up the good work.

Episode 7. In which we congratulate a friend on her imminent immigration.

Posted in Christmas, people with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by diabetses

Today I have my work Christmas party.  I got up at 5.30am, left the flat shortly after 7am, and won’t be home until stupidly late, therefore, I didn’t have time to write this blog post.  And yet you’re reading it.  So how did that happen?  The truth of the matter is I’m writing it in advance.   And I’m going to test that interesting option I seem to have to publish it at a time and date of my choosing.  So let’s see.  Today it might actually get posted in time for the RSS to make it out before midnight.

So the subject matter of my blog for today is going to be a friend of mine.

I have a friend who, this very day, has picked up her life and moved it to England from the USA, to start a new life with her partner.  Who she originally met on the internet.  She will be spending this evening hurtling over the Atlantic, with all her worldly possessions.

This isn’t a story of naivety, or sleaze, or self-delusion, or anything that’s usually written about internet-originated relationships by people who, I get the feeling, often don’t consider other people as human unless they’re within earshot.  This is a true connection between two exceptionally talented, interesting and well matched people.  Who I happened to adore individually before I ever heard about them as a pair.  Having met online, they met in real life.  Having met in real life, they met up again.  And again, and again, until, eventually, they decided the only sensible thing was to stop what was essentially becoming a commute to their lives, and move in together.

Obviously, I’m very happy that they’re both going to be very happy, but also, it means I get to have lunch with my American friend more often.  Yay!  We had some good times during her last extended visit.  We had some excellent lunches, visited some excellent museums, and, more importantly, we became better friends for it.  Well, real life friends, for one.

Let’s face it, internet friends are just internet friends until you meet them in real life.  I can’t talk about my friends without separating the friends from the internet friends.  Even if I liked my internet friends better than my real friends, they’d still just be internet friends.  And be warned, internet friends, my real friends are pretty awesome, you’ve got some work to do.  With internet friends, you can never quite know, you think you know them but until you’ve met them in real life and can hear (in your head) their posts in their voice, you don’t know what they mean by them.  Or even if they mean what they say.  Not all internet friends I have met in real life become real life friends.  But some of them become the kind of friends that you don’t remember or particularly care how you first met, you’re just glad you did.

So our transatlantic traveller, she’s not a girl I know off the internet, she’s a friend.  Her partner, he’s not some fella I became aware of on some website, he’s a friend.   And to each other, they’re not an internet couple.  They’re just a couple.

My friends have transitioned from fibre optic into reality with style and grace.  I wish them all the luck in the world, and I am overjoyed that they now get to spend their whole (real) lives together.

Diabetic moment of the day

At tonight’s party the pre-set menu includes a lovely sugary dessert.  There are no other options, they didn’t think they needed any.  Tonight I get to sit and watch people eat a lovely sugary dessert all round me.

The silver lining is the last time this happened someone noted that I wasn’t shovelling sugar down myself with everyone else, and demanded that I explain myself.  It’s funny how one word can make someone look so sheepish.  I don’t mind it, really, it’s not like it’s a secret that my pancreas is spacky, but it is fun to mess with people sometimes.  Even people I like.  Sorry.