Thursday, 24 June 2010


While penning yesterday's blog poem on the way back from hospital, I decided to dig out this poem I wrote in August 2009 to up awareness of the strides that have been made in diabetes care through the work of DAFNE (DOSE ADJUSTMENT FOR NORMAL EATING) health care teams. DAFNE courses all over the country are now teaching us cynical old sugar dodgers how to count carbohydrate intake even more accurately than was possible in the past to achieve tighter control and maybe save lives in the process.

This poem was sent to the Rotherham Advertiser, a local newspaper in South Yorkshire, as my attempt to help raise awareness of how effective these courses can be, and how under-subscribed many are through poor perceptions of the outcomes, funding issues etc. Somebody said the Advertiser had published it, but as I only buy it if I hear something interesting's in, I must have missed it!!! I also performed it when I addressed the local Diabetes UK group who meet at the hospital (thought that was a good health day, even though I had to lie down in a darkened room for a week afterwards - lol!). Local health care staff in the surgery and at the Diabetes Centre also said they enjoyed reading their copies and dutifully pinned it up in the Diabetes Education Centre (for later use as a dartboard, perhaps?). If it can convince just one more Type 1 diabetic to give such courses a try, my work here is done!


Now, don’t we just love to whinge and moan at things we think are lax?
Like traffic chaos in Bramley, or councils that waste our tax?
Folks love to have a rant and rave, so rightly, at things that bother ‘em,
But I couldn’t wait to celebrate some unsung heroes in Rotherham!

You might not have seen them or noticed; they say they’re just doing their bit,
But down at our local hospital, there’s a team who with heroes should sit.
As you pass near the hospital entrance, there’s one block that contains a sensation
For right there inside you’ll find Rotherham’s pride, staff in Diabetes Education.

They give life-changing one-to-one sessions, they don’t patronise or ignore.
They’re professional and downright amazing! Just doing their job? They do more!
They run courses to help with “carb counting” and adjusting your insulin so
You can keep blood glucose more level. Not convinced? Well, I’m one who should know!

For 25 years as a Type 1, on insulin four times a day,
I’d become quite an NHS cynic, thought I was the expert, not they!
Thought I’d learnt all the stuff by experience that a middle aged know-all can learn,
Lived all over the world with my needles, diabetic with know-how to burn!

But stricken by other conditions that had forced me to grind to a halt,
I slapped on four stone when disabled by factors not wholly my fault.
The insulin that had long served me, when working and walking like mad,
Now locked me in fat, like a beached whale and that was the worst time my body had had!

But these lasses were patient and personal, and helped with devising a plan,
To adjust my regime- how daft did that seem? But I gritted my teeth and began.
Their follow up showed not just caring, but skill, understanding and grace,
And here I am just four months later, with everything now back in place.

I’m back to the weight I began with, before M.E. turned me to jelly,
Six stone melted off through their wisdom, and the inches dropped back off my belly!
Still better, my blood sugar levels, which had swung like a swing-boat on speed,
Are now more like a real “normal” person’s, which all of us strive for and need.

So thanks to the team for their brilliance, to Nicky and Sree and the rest,
And if you too have diabetes, please go put their care to the test.
Give the centre a ring if you’re worried diabetes is costing you much,
Let them help to support and advise you; take their courses, like D.A.F.N.E.* or such.

I’ve had hospital docs and appointments, a lifetime of so-called care,
But nothing I’ve ever encountered had prepared me for what I found there –
The team changed my life with their wisdom, and where there’s a will, there’s a way;
So what’s there to lose, diabetics? Can they change your life too? Yes! They may!

-Rev Joyce Barrass, Wickersley

* D.A.F.N.E. stands for “Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating”, one of the courses run by the Diabetes Education Team on Rotherham 307910


  1. Thanks for that, Joyce. We should all give praise and gratitude where it is due.

    Grace (Your cousin ? removed)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Second cousin, by the way, not removed at all, and very close to my heart! XXX

  4. Thanks Grace!
    Isn't it true -so many unsung heroes - volunteer leaders of uniformed organisations included :) - need all the encouragement we can give. People are so quick to criticise, I think every little helps to redress the balance of celebrating them XX