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The Baguette Problem

I’m waiting to part cook a baguette. I’m feeling very faint. This is not new for me, I’ve had this particular issue for around 15 years – at least I can’t now remember not having it. Whenever I get hungry, which unfortunately can be very quickly after eating during the day (night time is ok – mostly), I need to eat. If I don’t the feeling of faint, sweatiness (like when you blush, as opposed to running a race for instance) and the accompanying sensory overload make it impossible to function. I’ve never pursued what happens if I deprive myself of a meal, and I don’t want to.

I have no idea what this issue is; it has been diagnosed – sort of – nominally as hypoglycaemia, but in truth I don’t think that’s accurate. For instance experts say that eating foods like porridge are good if you have this because it gives a slow stable release of blood sugar. Unfortunately about half an hour after a bowl of porridge I feel ill again. More so than if I eat something else (like another cereal, or toast).

The first GP I spoke to about this, years ago, just dismissed it saying that he has similar issues (I can’t imagine him being very effective in his job then; if he had to deal with an emergency while feeling dodgy it would be totally unacceptable). His solution: take a packet of biscuits and have a snack. In other words, snack on junk food when you feel a bit peckish. I can’t really imagine that being tolerable in, for example, a customer facing role.

More important, though, is the effect of the condition. The GP’s attitude is par for the course: it’s the usual dismissive crap I’ve since come to expect (one GP years later said that, because it hadn’t killed me, it wasn’t an issue). They just don’t get it – and being related to food/eating it becomes a joke. In this society hell bent on demonising people who don’t quickly and meekly respond “how high” when the bosses demand you jump, this sort of condition is just seen as a joke; an excuse to get out of a day’s graft. How can I convey the reality of how my metabolism operates – and it would seem this is just a part of my physical body, it’s just how I am? Do I have to collapse faint, sweaty and shaking? Would that even be believed? Again I’d rather not put that to test. perhaps that’s what’s required in this age of ATOS.

But the problems aren’t limited to the public perception of wellness that abounds thanks to the right wing media and Tories such as this clown who thinks, for example, aspergers is a ‘sob story’. That’s half the battle, truly, but as someone with health issues that do affect how I go about my day, who is there in the DWP that takes this seriously? Either one can work, completely in any job at any time at the drop of a hat with no health restrictions, or one is completely incapable of anything. There is no accepted middle ground. For instance were I to say that working from home would be a much better proposition, what help would I get? In fact the response would more likely be to assume that, if I can work from home, I can work…period! The machinery of the DWP lubricated by the ignorance of right wingers and capitalism informs the attitude that anyone who can do anything can do everything. See a person going to the shop to spend his benefit on XYZ (booze, fags, smack, dope, dvd’s, smartphone contracts, xbox games, unacceptable clothing – you know, all the proscribed items) and you’re looking at someone who can hold down a full time job without problems – because in their mind life is just that simple, discussion over.

In a society where full employment is not only impossible, but undesirable, what is the sense of pursuing the weaker members to work no matter the cost? The tragedy is that the machine of right wing capitalism has a ridiculously limited outlook and, where such people could contribute (I’m thinking in terms of culture and creativity, not the conventional workaday world), they could be helped to do so. But instead that limited outlook prevents people from contributing and achieving in favour of chasing a goal they cannot reach, nor could they sustain. All so rich people can profit further.

This is the problem right there: no matter how one tries to interact with the mechanisms that exist supposedly to help, be it your GP or the DWP, one is always, to put it bluntly, kicked in the fucking nuts. There is a quality of bias to the relationship between the individual and the representative of the machine that has all the power (!). it is an unbalanced relationship, hence using the word ‘power’. Instantly I, the individual, the patient with no real influence or power, am assumed to be in the wrong: I am a malingerer, a scrounger. I am someone to be viewed with suspicion; guilt precedes innocence. That is now a literal part of the apparatus of the Jobcentre. What chance do I stand when even my attempts to engage are further dismissed? Work from home? Beggars can’t be choosers! Get off your arse, it’s just a ‘sob story’. That’s the attitude, and the saddest part of all is that it just doesn’t have to be this way.

They associate wealth with morality and character: that wealth must be earned, not acquired. Ironic


  1. Well put.

    The art of medicine has long gone. What we have now is diagnosis by herd and treatment by directive. Health is now also considered a matter of morality and character. Blame the patient and tick the box.

    1. The peculiarities of this problem tick a lot of the 'scrounger' boxes. The idea of 'feeling hungry' is immediately seen as laziness and an excuse. Not once has it been taken seriously. I get told 'other people manage'. I've even been told that someone in the surgery has a similar/same (how woudl i kno?) problem - as if being told this, true or not, is meant to help. How? They don't say of course, and simply by asking 'how?' you are deemd to be making excuses.

      This is how it works today. Nothing is actually addressed. Treatment, if necessary, is not offered and should the patient speak up it is seen as a sign of his inherent fecklessness.

      This must change. It is utterly counter productive - at best.


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