Friday, September 13, 2013

Two Doctors and One Looney Tunes Nurse

Yesterday I had two different medical appointments.

Back to back.

I had my annual eye exam at 9am followed by a visit with my GP at 10:15am. The appointments were in different cities, 30 minutes apart. I was a little worried about time - not a lot but a little. I didn't want the first appointment to run late and I didn't want to wait too long for my GP because I had a busy day at work. I figured, best case, I'd be back at my desk within three hours.

First stop: eye doctor. This was my second visit with her, having switched after my regular doctor retired. She greeted me with a handshake and asked me the regular questions about eye injuries, issues, concerns, current medications.

"Are your blood sugars stable?" she asked.

I smiled, cocked my head and replied "I have type 1 diabetes. My blood sugars will never be 'stable'."

"Well, do they fluctuate very much?"

"I have Type 1 diabetes" I repeated gently. "My blood sugars can go down to 2.0 and up to the high 20s."

"Well, how often do they do that? What's an 'typical' blood sugar number for you?"

"Are you asking for my A1C? If so, that's 6.6. But please realize that, no matter how hard I try, I won't be able to stop the highs and the lows. That's kinda how Type 1 diabetes works." She smiled kindly and gave me a gentle lecture on the importance of keeping my blood sugars well managed and under control in order to avoid complications. I smiled kindly back and said I would do my best.

The rest of the appointment went very well. I have no diabetes damage, no cataracts forming, no glaucoma, no nothing. And my prescription is stable. Good news all around.

The entire appointment lasted 20 minutes so I was able to drive to my GP's office and make it in time to stop at the bank en route.

I walked in to a packed waiting room. In fact, it was so packed that I took the last seat - right next to the freezing cold air conditioner vent that was running full blast. Fabulous. I pulled out my iPad to read, vowing to move to the first available chair before my feet went numb. The door opened, the nurse came out, "Céline?" she said. I looked around, discovered I was the only "Céline" in town and walked in past a sea of frowning faces.

"Are you Céline" the nurse asked as she sat down at the computer. "Yes." I replied, wondering if she thought I was stealing Céline's spot in line or something.

"And you're a newly diagnosed diabetic" she stated. "No, I've had diabetes for almost 11 years" I replied. "Oh, ok" she said.

"It says here that you take glucagon and insulin. Is that correct?"

"Well, I don't take glucagon. That's like an epi pen for diabetes emergencies. I take insulin though."

"Oh, ok" she replied.

"Do you want to know my other meds?" I prompted.

"No, that's fine. When is the last time you saw your eye doctor?"

"This morning at 9am" I said. "Do you want to know the results?"

"No, that's fine. Can you stand on the scale please?"

I stood up, walked three feet to the scale and stepped on...just in time to watch her walk out the door. Um? Hello? I stood there, with my nose almost touching the wall, wondering what to do. She came back in a minute or two later. "Sorry. So you weigh 163 pounds. Does that sound right?" I nodded. She walked three steps over to the desk and sat down. "We said 160 pounds right?". I nodded again. No point in fighting the woman who thinks I take glucagon with my breakfast.

"Let me check your sugar!". She grabbed my finger, swabbed it with alcohol and pricked it. A drop of blood formed and immediately spread out in the still wet alcohol on my finger. She turned to the computer and frowned. "You're Céline right?" she asked. "Yep, I haven't changed since the last time you asked" I replied sweetly, sitting there with a drying puddle of blood on my finger. "Oh right!" she said and grabbed a test strip. "Where did all the blood go?" she asked frowning as she squeezed the now healed finger.

"Blood pressure!!" she announced after managing to milk enough blood out of my finder. My blood pressure, not surprisingly, was the highest I have ever seen it at 136/84. I don't usually stress at medical appointments but I think this lady was becoming a little much.

Thankfully, she left and my GP came in moments later. I asked for a few prescription refills and I asked for the results of my bone density test. Apparently my T-score (new to me) was -1.4. Anything under 0.0 indicates some bone loss but osteoporosis isn't diagnosed until you hit -2.5. So apparently I've lost some but not enough to do anything other than take calcium and vitamin D. My doctor said that the bone loss is most likely due to diabetes (dammit!) although osteoporosis does run in my family so it's not that surprising.

Two appointments, enough bizarre moments to be able to write a blog about them and I was back at my desk in under two hours, in spite of the hour drive to and from appointments.

Another day in the life of a T1 superhero.


  1. Wow... that second lady cracked me up.
    I know not everybody is educated in diabetes but that "you take glucagon" is just absurd. So totally absurd!
    I think this all made me chuckle a little because it's amazing how little people in the medical profession know about this huge disease.

  2. I might have been tempted to smack the eye doctor...I hate when doctors other than my endo try to give me medical advice. I'm not going to you for treatment on my diabetes buddy. Haha but the nurse definitely gave the eye doc a run for his money...I wouldn't have minded her shaving three pounds off my record though :-P