Meeting with the vampire
I got to the clinic and checked in with the lab. They were going to look up my record and call me in later. About 10 minutes later I was told that I didn’t have any lab orders in my account and “sorry.” Sorry? I drove 45 minutes to get here, paid an arm and a leg for parking and all you have is sorry? So I trotted right over to the area where my dr usually is and asked for the doctor on call (actually I know that they are called the “captain of the day” so I used that term much to the confusion of the nurse). The ‘Captain” happily ordered the labs that I rattled off. Amazed that I knew exactly what I needed.
I went back to the lab. Moved the chair so it would recline, told the woman that I do better with a butterfly needle, and started to have my same old chat about nothing, staring at the curtain divider in front of me, hoping that I would not pass out. Yes, 25 years of having diabetes and my general odds of passing out when having blood drawn is about 50/50. I did fine this time although there were a few seconds there I was unsure. Some deep breathing and mindless chatter helped me stay in the world of the living.
As I left to go meet a girlfriend for drinks (may as well take advantage of being in the city!) I started to think about the interaction. I wonder if there are patients that would have accepted “sorry” as an answer and gone home. Sadly, I think that there probably are. People who go with what the doctor says and don’t feel empowered enough to find out what they really need to know. When the doctor rattles off a suggested new prescription or lifestyle change, I worry about the number of people who “yes, sir” the doctor – all the while saying ‘I could never do that.’ I wonder if it’s a lack of education on what exactly they should be looking for (Ac1, Cholesterol, Lipids etc) Or if it’s a feeling of helplessness or apathy that they just don’t have the energy to care. Feeling beaten down by this disease which we all know, effects every part of your life.
I went to my lady parts doctor recently, and of course, my pregnancy plans were a hot topic of conversations. She said something that really stuck with me. She told me how most of her Type 1’s do great with pregnancy because they “respect the disease” and know how to work with it. I really liked that thought. Respecting your diabetes for the powerful force that it is, yet also having enough respect for yourself that you learn how to control it and manage day to day.
I respect my diabetes as a function of who I am. Just as any mother would fight to get the right teacher or support for their child, I am happy to speak up and fight for my health and diabetes. Because if I don’t, who will?