The clocks have gone forward. It’s always the Monday when you notice - no Sunday snooze to mitigate the change in light, the morning stutter that just puts the break in summer proper for a while.
I bumble around making breakfast, eyes bleary with auto-pilot. I fumble for paper and fill the machine with coffee and water, whilst performing the mandatory blood test to see how breakfast pans out.
The fact that the ritual and it’s divine interpretation are natural to me now is a shock. I have imbibed options and ratios which now mean I can adapt to annoyances like running out of marmite, or forgetting to buy bread, by substitutions or other options.
I’m afraid I’ve got into some bad habits with breakfast since Diabetes: Year One. I’m sure porridge should be my go to, but we changed supermarkets and brands a few months ago, and I haven’t sat down to re-do the carb maths yet; so toast it is - fortunately this brand gives me the carbs per slice (not all do - and some food helpfully tells you the carbs per 100g, BUT THEN DOESN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH THE PACKET WEIGHS IN TOTAL!!!), so I can match my carbs to my morning insulin ratio.
Type 1 Diabetes changes the way you see food. It’s true you can eat whatever, but you can’t eat it blind. Keeping up with all this and trying to cook, eat or live spontaneously can be - is - overwhelming. So of course I had to find a a way to draw my relationship with food, and it’s changes.
Food appears throughout in Diabetes: Year One in many aspects: as an unsovable maze [fig.1], a puzzle and adversary [fig.2], an accent to everyday life, as a tangible and slightly trippy presence [fig.3] and as a part of a holiday [fig.4].
Food is made surreal with colours that make strange or shock, and by the way it is surround by a dance of numbers and calculations. Visual statements that look at food as more than sensation, socialising or enjoyment, but look at how these elements are renegotiated by the constraints of type 1 Diabetes.
The sequences of comics speaks to how we think of food - we eat in sequences after all - a procession - starter, main course, pudding. Yet it also allows the reader to see the sequence as a whole - all together on the flat page, the way I’ve come to think of meals - after all if you don’t commit to a pudding from the outset, it’s hard to include it in the sums [fig.5].
(FYI - you can split doses, but so far I’ve tried to avoid that unless it’s the only way - it confuses my maths, and allows me too much potential to start improvising with the rules I’ve given myself). Cos Diabetes does it’s own thing, differently with each person this page doesn’t try to lecture, but focuses on my experience of carb counting - adding humour through a cartoony style, but adding an undercurrent of despair.
The thing is I am a foodie - and I’m pretty grateful, it allowed me enough understanding of ingredients and techniques to adapt my food, and to help me calculate the impact of food when I’m out (including an understanding of what secrets might be involved - sugar hiding in tomato sauces, the importance of remembering the flour in the gravy and so on), but all the extra of diabetes does take it’s toll. So much so, that increasingly I find myself exhausted by the thought of cooking instead of excited, and if I’m honest, that disappoints me.