Having been here long enough, it's easy to forget what we call Diabetes Mellitus aka 'Sugar Diabetes' back in Malaysia. "Kencing Manis" in Malay, or the same literal translation for Chinese even.
After all, I remember granddad saying how if you see ants being attracted to your pee, it means you have diabetes.
And so, when I saw one of my older Chinese speaking patients the other day, it's a rarity that I get to use my very rusty Cantonese. Unfortunately this time, his disease was getting a bit more out of hand. I tried to explain to him the significance of the hemoglobin A1c, or the glucometer readings of 400 mg/dL or higher.
To which he coolly replied that he wasn't worried, that things weren't bad and that he wasn't having any symptoms.
I asked him what symptoms he might be looking out for. And was totally unprepared for his answer. I still cringe thinking about it.
"I tasted my urine everytime the meter reading was high, and never once did it taste sweet!"