Well, Loki’s fine–they’re upping his insulin dosage, and we’ll test again in two weeks. Most likely, they’ll raise it yet again–he’s a BIG cat, and the first dosage wasn’t nearly high enough–but the vet is taking it slow to make sure his poor fat system doesn’t melt, which is probably a good thing. While it would be nice if I’d been wrong, of course, there is something vaguely gratifying about having the vet run the same test you did and come back with the same holy-shit result–you wish you were wrong, but at least you know you’re not a screaming hysterical incompetent. If anyone’s interested in random diabetic cat facts, a glucose reading from the urine goes by a color code. Trace is the low end, (blue-green) 100-250 is okay, (teal to grass green) 500 is time to call the vet (khaki.) Loki’s sample turned burnt umber, registering well over a thousand, something you generally see in human diabetics who’ve decided to go on a bender and chugged a keg or so. I tried explaining this to him. He gave me the condescending look of an animal who sees no need for color vision and resumed snorfling down the breakfast he missed at the vet.

All this mucking about with color coded strips dipped in urine has A) made me wash my hands every time I so much as think about the process and B) reminded me of pregnancy tests, which is a neat trick, because I’ve never taken a pregnancy test. (My method of birth control is 99% effective and if I’m late, I’m generally oblivious, since I do not view the whole monthly experience as a happy life-affirming one-with-the-feminine-divine insert-moon-reference-here but as a nuisance. My mostly defunct paganism never managed to embrace that particular cornball–I don’t think we should be ashamed of the fact that it happens, it’s not the black plague, but just because something is natural does not mean it is beautiful. Vomiting is natural too, but I don’t feel a need to write poetry about it.) Anyway, what I was getting at before I got off on one of my favorite tangents was the ease of test here. Dip, count “One-one-thousand” through “Thirty-one-thousand” match color to strip. The colors are widely seperated, and even though experienced artists can evidentally recognize thousands of shades that the average person doesn’t, I can’t imagine it’s hard for anyone to read. It takes thirty seconds, it’s definitive, it’s not a problem.

Pregnancy tests, by contrast, are (I hear) hard to read, generally confusing, and frequently non-definitive. “If it’s pink, it’s positive, if it’s blue it’s negative…” “It’s white.” “Hmm.” I know it’s testing a different substance, which may not be as easily nailed down as glucose, but it’s easy for me to chalk this up to my “we’re still in the dark ages on reproductive healthcare, damnit.”

Diabetes, on t’other hand, is getting my vote for a pretty well-managed disease. Basic treatment is cheap, done at home, tests appear to be efficient and definitive, quality of life is undiminished throughout most of it. They don’t even need to kill sheep anymore. I realize that in humans, rather than cats, there are sometimes nasty late stage complications that they haven’t managed to fix yet (and I hope someone’s studying what causes transient diabetes in cats to see it if applies to people!) but compared to a lot of other fatal-unless-managed illnesses, they do a damn good job with this one, and you don’t have to be rich to afford treatment. And having grown up hearing about HIV and all the rest, it’s oddly encouraging to see an incurable disease that oughta be fatal so efficiently licked.

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