Endo, 2; Me, 1; Lab Tech, 0

Saw my endocrinologist yesterday for the first time in at least 5 months. Our visits have suddenly taken on a new cadence since he’s learned about my D-writing and my excursions into the mysterious world of professional diabetes care. He now talks to me like… well, if not a peer, then at least an accomplished observer worthy of his utmost qualified attention. (He even asked if I could fix him up with some contacts at diabetes technology companies looking for clinical study sites!) Ah, how the world turns… chalk one up for me.Doctor

Unfortunately, I thought, I’m still the one going home with all the boobie prizes: lab slips for urine test (MA screening — at least not the 24/hour kind), and blood tests for hA1C, hypothyroid, lipid panel, etc., etc. (while the good Dr. continues to eat anything he likes at any time, injection and pump-free). Sigh.

After we’d chatted at length about all the new D-technology of interest, we actually spent a few minutes on me: fine, yes, … well, a pain in the ass, of course. And those early-morning lows I had, and those afternoon highs, yes, but pretty good all the same… Pen poised, the doctor begins his notes in my file, narrating aloud as he writes: “T1 diabetic in fair control…” (Fair?! Last time you wrote “good,” you #%$*^!) “… thyroid leveled” (meaning the pills are working) “… recommend pump therapy” (yes, I know, I know!) “… recommend Symlin” (WtF?! Here I interrupt.)

“Why would I need to go on Symlin?,” I ask, a little too loud.

“Well, you don’t need to. But it would help even things out — those postprandial highs. Of course it would mean two more injections a day, so I understand if…”

“You do now?! How kind!! Those highs aren’t that high, and I’m really quite good at corrections now, so what’s the point?” (clearly I’ve lost my accomplished observer cool)

“Just a recommendation. I’m writing it here…”

“Well, hell, if it’s in black-and-white, then I guess I can’t sue you for neglect, now can I?”

So we’ve crossed over from the place where my doc is encouraging about my good control to the place where he keeps pushing ever-more-aggressive treatments… That’s what I get for being “cutting edge,” I suppose. Now you Symlin fans may ream me on this one, but I am doing DARN WELL if I do say so myself, and I can’t help thinking that some eager-beaver doctor who’s hot for new clinical trials (and does not live with this disease himself) would sure like to have a patient like me go on Symlin just to record the details of my case in his latest journal article. Forget it, bud!

Whatever. I’m out of there. But the second half of my Medical Day doesn’t go so well either. Let me just say for the record that I am the world’s worst human being for having blood drawn. Within 15 feet of the lab “Enter” sign, my veins begin to contract in anticipation. The freakin’ freckled and beaming lab tech jabs me hard in BOTH ARMS without being able to draw one drop of blood. And oooh, sorry, we’re out of orange juice…

I have gone white and am barely able to speak, so they resort to Plan B: lay me on the cot in the private room and call in their Very Best Needle Expert — who I manage to shout at that he better darn well not tell me any details!! And do not use the world “vein”! I am Dr. Jekyll until this amazing expert manages to draw the blood before I can release my next verbal abuse. Why does this get harder every time I do it? And why are most lab techs so rough and so apparently unprepared for resistance? Do they think we diabetic types have become so callous that we barely notice when our blood is drawn?

I am here to remind you all that “making the best” of the diabetes game does not mean we have to like it. Still, no bench-warming allowed. We’re in the game for life. Double-Decker Sigh.

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9 Responses

  1. Kelsey Bonilla
    Kelsey Bonilla August 10, 2005 at 10:27 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the post Amy! I had my blood drawn for my HA1C last Friday and fainted! I’m not good with getting my blood drawn either and I thought I’d be brave and sit up… Big mistake! I’ve decided to surrender to my blood drawing phobia and lay down from now on! I’ve had type 1 for over 12 years, and you’re right, it doesn’t get any easier!
    I also appreciate your comments about your endo and his desire to have you on the “latest and greatest” medications. Living with this disease is much different than understanding it intellectually. Congrats on “sticking to your guns” with your doctor!

  2. Robert
    Robert August 10, 2005 at 10:46 am | | Reply

    I’ve never really had a problem with the blood draws but I was only 13 when I was diagnosed so that may make a difference. I’d wager your control is better than mine but I’d definitely add my recommendation on going on the pump. I have a newborn at home and the flexibility it gives me more than makes up for the nuisance of carrying it around.

  3. Jana
    Jana August 11, 2005 at 4:10 pm | | Reply

    Next time you get drawn, ask them to try a vein in the hand instead. If you’re like me, the veins in your hand are puffier, easier to stab, etc. And it doesn’t hurt as much. I think the insides of our elbows are most sensitive than the backs of our hands.

  4. Gina
    Gina August 12, 2005 at 9:36 pm | | Reply

    I used to be all cringy and now I have gotten so much better…

  5. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor August 13, 2005 at 11:25 pm | | Reply

    Aggggh! So sorry, Amy. :o ( You are a person, not a lab rat.

    I also must echo the raves for the pump, though. It’s only been two weeks and we are seeing already a) better numbers and b) more spontenaeity in our lives.

    We’d heard horror stories of the adjustment period and were prepared for 1-2 mos. of hell. It hasn’t been that. And, should you take the plunge, I doubt it’d be that for you either. You’re very smart, that’s abundantly clear. And, I dare to say, should you take the Pump Plunge, you wouldn’t find the adjustment that difficult at all. (tho’ we did have some crappy days! But I feel comfortable now, and again, it’s been only 2 weeks).

    Still. I am sorry about the difficult appointment.

    XoXO

  6. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor August 13, 2005 at 11:25 pm | | Reply

    Aggggh! So sorry, Amy. :o ( You are a person, not a lab rat.

    I also must echo the raves for the pump, though. It’s only been two weeks and we are seeing already a) better numbers and b) more spontenaeity in our lives.

    We’d heard horror stories of the adjustment period and were prepared for 1-2 mos. of hell. It hasn’t been that. And, should you take the plunge, I doubt it’d be that for you either. You’re very smart, that’s abundantly clear. And, I dare to say, should you take the Pump Plunge, you wouldn’t find the adjustment that difficult at all. (tho’ we did have some crappy days! But I feel comfortable now, and again, it’s been only 2 weeks).

    Still. I am sorry about the difficult appointment.

    XoXO

  7. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor August 13, 2005 at 11:25 pm | | Reply

    Aggggh! So sorry, Amy. :o ( You are a person, not a lab rat.

    I also must echo the raves for the pump, though. It’s only been two weeks and we are seeing already a) better numbers and b) more spontenaeity in our lives.

    We’d heard horror stories of the adjustment period and were prepared for 1-2 mos. of hell. It hasn’t been that. And, should you take the plunge, I doubt it’d be that for you either. You’re very smart, that’s abundantly clear. And, I dare to say, should you take the Pump Plunge, you wouldn’t find the adjustment that difficult at all. (tho’ we did have some crappy days! But I feel comfortable now, and again, it’s been only 2 weeks).

    Still. I am sorry about the difficult appointment.

    XoXO

  8. AmyT
    AmyT August 14, 2005 at 5:38 pm | | Reply

    Martha,
    Thanks so much for your encouragement… and I am SO GLAD to hear that your son’s new pump is working out well! That little guy is very lucky to have you doing battle with the health plan (can’t believe it was #@%&* necessary!), and looking after him so well. Congrats. He will thank you so heartily when he grows up!

    But I bet he’ll still have occassional days like mine, above. “Par for the course,” I’m afraid.

  9. Bill Braithwaite
    Bill Braithwaite August 18, 2005 at 9:59 am | | Reply

    You are one Feisty mama!!
    ;) )

    You Go Girl!!*************

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