Living with a lion

Imagine being told that you would have to spend the rest of your life in the company of a lion. You’re not particularly zoologically minded and have no desire to do such a ridiculous thing, but at the same time you have no choice and you are given instructions on how to live with this potential killer. It is explained to you that if you look after this creature and always have its welfare in mind, then together the two of you could have a long and happy life together, however you must always be aware that if you neglect or mistreat this new partner, the consequences could be fatal.Your instructions include the fact that the lion will be with you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year. You must be aware that he is a hungry lion and will need regular feeding. If you fail to maintain his feeding then he becomes very angry and he may decide to eat you. At the same time he must not be over fed as this will result in him becoming very grumpy and tired, in this condition he will become a heavy burden for you to drag around, so heavy in fact that after several years of tugging around this over fed lion you will start to suffer health problems that could shorten your life.So, given all this information, you set out to build a relationship with the mighty lion and, all goes well, apart from when you occasionally forget to feed him and he attempts to bite you, or you give him too much food and have to live with his grumpiness. This up and down relationship goes on through the years of your life and all in all, you and the lion appear to get along fine.

After many years and several close shaves, one night you go to bed at a time when the lion has not had enough to eat and during the night he has no choice but to have another attempt at eating you. This time you have underestimated his hunger and therefore you suffer the unimaginable consequences. Somehow you manage to survive the attack and are rushed to hospital in an unconscious, half eaten state, where you are miraculously put back together and there you remain for a long time during your recovery.

When you eventually regain enough strength to leave the hospital you are given a lead, when you enquire what it is, you are told. “It’s your lion, and hey, try to be a bit more careful with him this time”… Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!

By the way, I have a lion, his name is Diabetes Mellitus.

Keith Wathen


This story is used to raise awareness of the daily struggles of a type one diabetic. Please do not feel obliged to make a donation,

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3 thoughts on “Living with a lion

  1. Elaine

    Your story is very interesting. My partner has diabetes it’s hard work At the mo we are very high sugars & hes so tired & wonders why. But it takes a few days to get it sorted. Plus been on new pills don’t help . Thankyou & Good Luck on yr journey

  2. Else Brun

    Dear Keith,
    This is very recognisable ! Although my lion has yet to take a bite that needs hospital treatment…. More like scratches so far. Still, after seeing my mother being slowly strangled by Mr P (Parkinsson) I think I prefer the lion 🙂

    I hope you are getting along better now. Best wishes and thank you for your story. Love, Else

  3. JanL

    This is the very best story/analogy ever written about diabetes. I’ve lived with type 1 for 38 years. My only sibling also had it but he died of a heart attack 5years ago. I’ve worn a pump for 16 years & CGM for 6 months. People say “ya get used to it” but you don’t ever get used to living with a lion. I will now use that line when explaining the disease. Thank you!


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