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The lolly box



I was prompted to draw a comic about T1 diabetes after reading this one on the Nib.  I got really excited, seeing diabetes described, because it’s one of those unglamorous chronic conditions overshadowed by its cousin, T2 diabetes, that is still not really understood by the general public. It’s so nice to see something so particular to your experience articulated by someone else. I was also outraged on behalf of the American people, who are having their Affordable Care Act revoked. It seems so cruel to punish people who have have so much to deal with already. Diabetes medication is so expensive, thanks to the extensive R&D that goes into it, and the corporate stranglehold on the market. I wish there could be free healthcare for all, and it’s in people’s best interests to keep diabetics healthy because treating the complications is even more expensive. It’s heartbreaking to think that in Syria, and other places too, society has broken down so much that people can’t get basic care.

The interview I was listening to, about Crohn’s & colitis, is here. I love Nine to Noon. 

Hey, if you’ve made it past my little political rant, I have a reward for you! I have been blogging for seven whole years, which seems like a ridiculously long time. If you leave a comment telling me one or two interesting facts about you, I will put you into the draw to win a signed copy of Mansfield and Me and a bonus comic.


42 Comments leave one →
  1. Fiona permalink
    06/07/2017 12:23 pm

    Hmmm interesting facts? Seeing as I fan girled you at Word Cafe and did my oversharing I’m not sure you want to know more! But here goes: I collect toys that go with kids’ books, so have the Cat in the Hat, Peter Rabbit, Dog (from Footrot Flats), Wombat (from Diary of a wombat), Hairy Maclary etc; I cannot abide peas in anything and will pick them out because that skin covering gets squashed against the roof of your mouth and stuck there and now I feel nauseous from describing it. But I adore beans!

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:18 pm

      That sounds like a great collection – I only have Dog (bought with my pocket money as a teen) but I would love a Cat in the Hat toy!

  2. 06/07/2017 12:35 pm

    Good to read! And congratulations on seven years Sarah. I already have and love your book.

  3. Jane permalink
    06/07/2017 12:40 pm

    I love reading these sort of insights. I lived with gestational diabetes for only about 10 weeks and it was really hard, so I’m in awe of people who manage it their whole lives. You must dream of a cure. Hmm so facts about me: I work in a fabric shop so when I forget to bring a hanky with me I just cut myself a scrap of soft fabric from out the back (did that just now). Also, currently the shop smells a bit like dead animal in the inaccessible roof cavity, which is awful, but does elicit some great sympathetic stories from customers. It’s all glamour here.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:20 pm

      I’m sure you have very beautiful handkerchiefs as a result! And yes… dead animals in the roof cavity… nothing like it.

  4. 06/07/2017 1:01 pm

    Great comic, Sarah. Beautifully expressed as usual. Well done on your 7-year anniversary! All the more impressive considering you probably don’t feel great a lot of the time. My wife suffers from chronic pain and has been sick for the last ten years. Physically, it looks as though she’s perfectly healthy so it can be hard for people to understand she’s sick. Posts like this definitely help awareness. As for me, well I have a whole different monkey on my back… Anxiety is another condition that often goes unnoticed and unspoken of but there are a whole lot of other reasons that contribute to that!…

    ps. I have yr book (which is amazing) so I don’t need to be in the draw.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:33 pm

      Thank you! I actually feel fine most of the time – it’s just that I have to put in quite a lot of effort to feel fine. Chronic pain sounds so much more pernicious and must really wear you down. I’m sorry that your wife has to endure that. And yep, that anxiety, that you so beautifully described in your Rufus Marigold comics! What a back monkey. Thanks again! And you can always give the book to someone else if you win…

  5. 06/07/2017 2:20 pm

    I love that concept of ’emotional labour’. x

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:34 pm

      I think you can apply it broadly to all manner of situations!

  6. 06/07/2017 4:33 pm

    I have a signed copy of your book, but would love to give an impoverished comics fan one as a gift, so here goes. I was the first person in New Zealand to win a car on Wheel of Fortune (a Ford Festiva). I sold it the day I got it and bought my first Mac, scanner, and printer with the proceeds, which tells you how much decent computers cost back then. Of course now my phone is far, far more powerful than that computer, and has – I just worked it out – 3000 times the storage space. We live in the future!

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:23 pm

      Impressive! I remember those early 90s macs. My dad brought one home from work but had to take it back again after a few weeks. Eurdora! I also vaguely remember Wheel of Fortune, but It’s In The Bag had a more lasting impression

  7. 06/07/2017 4:52 pm

    I already have your book but can always do with a second copy – two interesting facts? I work in a hobbit hole in the basement of an old house and beside my desk I have a picture of Mickey Savage decorated with gold tinsel, just because.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:24 pm

      That sounds beautiful! Everyone needs a tinsel-trimmed Mickey Savage portrait

  8. 06/07/2017 5:26 pm

    Great post. Two facts: I walk on stilts as a day job. Big ones. At music festivals & outdoor events. Not bad for 51 hey? 2nd fact: I have at least 7 puppets in my cupboard, one of which is one metre tall, blue like the summer sky, & has performed with me all over Australia. I love your comics x

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:25 pm

      Wow – I remember we used to have stilts at Intermediate School and we’d fight over who’d get to play on them but they were not that high off the ground. Your puppets sound amazing.

  9. 06/07/2017 6:45 pm

    Great, uhhm, interesting fact number one – I had to look after up to 15 children running wild in our street growing up. So now have an natural reflex to assist people in trouble, till they are well enough to go home, or get on with things alone.

    Ooo number two, I see entire films in my dreams at times, new, fabulous movies, and once also saw a completely new Led Zeppelin concert, although I am not musical. O and once i was in a dream film (new one again), with Leonardo di Caprio but he played a baddie, so it was great when the film was over. I didn’t miss him.

    Hope I win your book, fantastic. x

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:25 pm

      That sounds like a superpower right there

  10. Brigid permalink
    06/07/2017 7:41 pm

    Loved this post. Thank you for it. I didn’t realize just how unwell people with diabetes T1 feel some days. It seems to me it is a disability in its own right. So much of your everyday life is foreign to me in my wellness.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:26 pm

      I actually usually feel fine – it’s just that I have to work quite hard to feel fine! Thank you for your kind words

  11. Sarah Lang permalink
    06/07/2017 8:16 pm

    Fact 1: I too find it wearying to have a chronic illness and to hide it and sometimes wish it was visible to get some sympathy.
    Fact 2: Totally doing a books brief on you going to Edinburgh.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      06/07/2017 9:28 pm

      Yep, it sure is a drag. And haha – sure!

  12. 06/07/2017 9:55 pm

    I already have Mansfield and Me 😉 but wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts (and my son-in-law is T1 so there’s a connection right there!) Have fun in Scotland.

  13. 07/07/2017 7:33 am

    I’d no idea you’d been blogging for 7 years – wish I’d discovered you sooner! I also suffer from an invisible chronic condition, ME/CFS, and when I first became ill with it 30 years ago it was practically impossible to talk about it because it wasn’t even recognised as an illness by lots of medical professionals and many people thought it was all psychological. So I hid it and tried to cope, and there’s no treatment other than learning how to pace yourself and not do too much. This of course is mostly impractical and always frustrating, and even more confusing for other people who can’t understand why you look normal when they see you – on one of the few occasions that you feel well enough to get out and do normal things. Hmm – I should be asking, What’s Normal, anyway?
    I would love to be able to express some of this weirdness about my disability in drawings. Some day I might manage to attempt it – your stories are so telling and so descriptive. You’re inspiring!

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      10/07/2017 1:56 pm

      A good friend has this – so debilitating. I’m sorry to hear you have it too. Good luck with the drawings!

  14. daveyone1 permalink
    07/07/2017 7:35 am

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  15. Hannah permalink
    07/07/2017 9:20 am

    Hi, I came to see you in Raglan (loved your talk and that you like Morrissey) and I listened to the Crohn’s & colitis interview too. I told my workmate about it- whose mum had Crohns, had, and lo and behold one of my favourite authors had posted a link which I have now shared with her. So, thanks. My latest epiphany = I don’t believe in “nothing.” This has kind of changed my fatalistic world and personal view. Sounds weird I know. Other interesting thing about me is I am learning to be a beekeeper.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      10/07/2017 1:55 pm

      Thank you! How cool, to be a beekeeper! I love bees.

  16. 07/07/2017 8:53 pm

    Stuggling to think of two interesting things. Mmmm, in high school I was allocated to a sports house named after the wealthy squatter family my grandmother worked for as a seamstress. I was taking a dip in a hot spring with my partner and 3 other couples, all strangers, when we realised that all the women were called Leonie. Hope this counts. And happy 7th blogaversary! 🎉

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      10/07/2017 1:54 pm

      That’s great! And thank you.

  17. 08/07/2017 10:13 am

    Ok. Two interesting facts about me: (1) I am learning to skateboard with my book group besties because I have always wanted to and had to retire from roller derby after one brief (but fabulous) year and I miss it. Both are very fun and a bit scary. (2) this is less interesting but all I can think of right now – I endlessly collect make up, especially lipsticks, but hardly ever wear it 🙄
    Cheers S

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      10/07/2017 1:54 pm

      Ooh I want to learn how to skateboard now! Also, I’m sure the lipstick collection will come in handy, maybe when you need to leave an urgent message for someone on the mirror?

  18. 08/07/2017 12:07 pm

    I read that Nib comic the day before you posted it. It infuriates me that people have to worry about how they’ll survive without access to need medicine here in the US. And just now while reading about how you have to organize your life based on being diabetic reminded me that for a time when I was a kid I used to have a real fear of becoming diabetic and then — getting in lost in the woods or at sea, somewhere where I had no access to insulin. Weird.

    I think probably it was because my mother had a cousin who was diabetic. He eventually died from it, but mostly, I learned later, it was because he didn’t do the things he should have to keep it in check. Also, I was reading a lot of “surviving the wilderness” kind of stories at the time.

    I already have your book. But I wanted to reply anyway.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      12/07/2017 9:19 am

      Thank you, Mary! I lots of random fears as a child too, often prompted by stories my mother told about friends and relatives. When I was 14 I was convinced I had bowel cancer (coincidentally my step-grandmother had it at the same time!)

  19. 08/07/2017 4:49 pm

    That’s a very good insight to your situation with diabetes Sarah. I heard you mention it on your interview with Kim Hill and I wondered what it meant for you amidst what appears to be (going by your comics) quite a busy life. Congrats on the seven years blogging your totally enjoyable comics.

  20. ailsa barr permalink
    10/07/2017 12:21 pm

    I love the bit about the lollies Sarah. My son scoffed the lot. When I needed them there were none left at all. If I kept lollies or chocolate in my glove box when he got in the car after day care he would immediately say “Have you got some lollies mum? I can smell them.”
    Two things about me. I once had to jump down the slide for an emergency evacuation of a jumbo jet on Baffin Island, north of Canada. Its a long way down! no 2. I went 20 years without seeing a specialist or going to a hospital or D clinic – not recommending this one, but I have perfect health.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      10/07/2017 1:37 pm

      Wow, that’s an exciting thing! And I am very impressed by your 20 year clinic absence. I am tempted to flag it myself sometimes

  21. alisonstevenson8 permalink
    21/07/2017 2:03 am

    Congratulations on the anniversary. I greatly enjoy reading your blog. Facts: I lived in Wellington for nearly a decade before returning to Scotland. (I miss Nine to Noon!) I hope you enjoy the Book Festival. Edinburgh is already hoaching with people. Are you going to get to see some other parts of Scotland too?Second fact: my cousin was due to swim the English Channel today but it’s been postponed due to poor weather. She’s amazing!


  1. This Week in #GraphicMedicine (7/14/17) – The Graphic Librarian

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