Imagine being told you have to spend the rest of your life in the company of a lion. You are not particularly zoologicaly minded and have no desire to do such a ridiculous thing. However, you are offered no choice in the matter and are simply 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 the two of you can have a long and happy life together. Although you must be aware, if you mistreat or neglect your new partner then the concequenses may be fatal.
Your instructions include the fact that the lion will be with you twenty four hour 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 need for food then he will become very angry and may decide to eat you! At the same time he must not be overfed as this will result in him being 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 overfed lion, you will begin 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 form the times when you occasionally forget to feed him and he attempts to take a bite of you, or you overfeed him 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 get along fine.
After several years and many close shaves, one night you go to bed when the lion has not had enough to eat and during the night the lion has another attempt at making a meal of you. This time you have underestimated his hunger and therefore suffer the unimaginable consequences. Somehow, you manage to survive the attack and are rushed to hospital in a half eaten state, where you are miraculously put back together and there you remain for a very long time during recovery.
Eventually you regain enough strength to leave the hospital and upon your departure you are handed a lead. When you enquire what it is, you are told “It’s your lion! and hey, try and be more careful with him this time” …… Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!!
By the way, I have a lion, his name is.. DIABETES MELLITUS!
K R Wathen.