Walking with Type 2 diabetes – Arthur Smith

As the year ends in a fog of lies, ‘fake news’ and bluster disguised as wisdom, some things remain indisputably true – for example, doctors are all agreed that spending your afternoons sitting in your pants on the sofa, eating chocolate and watching daytime TV is definitely not as good for you as putting your trousers on, slipping into some trainers and taking some exercise. To you, my friends I say: arise from your couch of melancholy, go forth and have a stroll around the park.

I like to keep active but I am too old for football now, my bicycle got stolen, I don’t like the yoga outfits, can’t abide the silly sound of the word ‘pilates’ and I abhor the earnest sweatiness of the gym. I prefer to ignore the bus and walk the streets to where I am going; I also love to roam the pathways of the countryside outside town, so easily accessible by train.

Unfortunately, in recent months my striding has become more of a lope as I have begun to feel an ache in my legs after I have walked for about five minutes. The pain subsides if I stop briefly but, like some persistent bore chasing you round the pub, it returns after the next five minutes of ambling.

If you had asked me this time last year the meaning of the word ‘claudication’ I would have guessed that it was like ‘deification’ or ‘coronation,’ except that, instead of becoming God or the King, you are given the name of Claud. Ask me today and I will tell you that claudication actually means a condition in which cramping pain in the leg is induced by exercise, typically caused by a build up of fatty deposits in the wall of the leg arteries. Having diabetes does not help and the smoker I have been is guilty once more.

Well, I’m on the case, I have given up the fags (again) and am arranging an appointment with the diabetic foot team at Saint George’s hospital. I am, nevertheless, saddened at the slowing of my walk. On the other hand, I’m still here, I’ve got my insulin in the fridge and no doubt 2020 is the year they find a cure for diabetes. And, anyway, on a six mile walk you can observe your surroundings for longer than on a 10 miler. I ramble on.

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