Prime numbers

Well I’ve just come out of my diabetic review. It didn’t go quite as expected.

I went in for the first time since being diagnosed with diabetes armed with my actual weight.

You may not understand what I mean by that – but for some time at my surgery doctors have been unable to get an accurate reading from the puny bathroom scales they possess. These are designed for mere mortals to stand on. Gods amongst men like myself are not catered for by the standard NHS and have to get our kicks using weighing machines in Boots the Chemist or at special bariatric scales in hospital obesity units.

In the past I’ve had doctors attempt to combat the problem by making me stand on two bathroom scales with a foot on each. The unfortunate outcome of this has been the noise of crunching gears and the creaking of a general practitioner’s wallet opening at Argos to pay for replacements.

Today I wasn’t in the mood for humiliation and wanted if at all possible to get a reading that meant something honest and real. I didn’t care what it was, I just wanted to stop hiding from it and finally know the truth.

After a trip to Boots (filled it seemed with gawking children, too young to know that staring at a man’s belly for 5 minutes was impolite) I had a reading.


I handed this to the nurse, and now my practice finally know everything about me. They know how much I’d been drinking until 3 weeks ago (at its peak after mom re-entered my life 109 units a week at the cost of approximately 9072 calories), they know my weight (31st 9lbs), they know my cholesterol (borderline at the moment), my blood sugar (73 – I should be aiming for 53), my blood pressure (elevated), my family history, my depression, my bereavement – all of it.

I’m not hiding any longer from anyone. I’m no longer going to let embarrassment or shame dictate who I see, what I do, who I talk to and what I think. I’m taking the burden of this colossal physical and emotional weight and turning the spotlight on it for everyone to view so that its power and hold over me is removed. If everyone I see already knows in advance what I am then what do I care any more? It’s out there already.

The lovely nurse sat and listened to me for twice the time she should have as I explained my circumstance and change of direction. She also helpfully shared some personal experiences as well – and said we’d finish the medical review at a later date. Now, she said, was a time to talk, not focus on the numbers.

Strangely of late though numbers have been popping up all over the place, and I’ve become mildly obsessed with counting things. When I cleared it my mom’s kitchen table it had 37 pens and 17 lighters on it.

‘Hmmm. Both prime numbers…’ Said my maths teacher friend Rob when I told him, musing over the significance.

At the time I was puzzled – was there a reason?

Who knows. However 3 is also a prime number and so are 109, 31 and 73, so if nothing else I’ve managed to give him something more to think about when he reads this…




  1. I’m proud of you. Not all maths teachers are carpet tie wearing, chain smoking, embittered and humourless you know 😉

    Well, many are one or two of those, actually. We hit the jackpot that’s all!

    Now, did I tell you that a new biggest prime was found only recently? 22 million digits apparently. I’m thinking you won’t find a way to weave that figure into your everyday life…


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