Friday, October 19, 2012


At first I hesitated writing this post because I don't want anyone to equate a person taking medications to stay healthy as being a bad thing or a character flaw - It's not.
And I don't want anyone equating a person with an illness - Chronic or otherwise, to being a bad person with character flaws because they take medications.
Many take medications because they are sick... And many take medications because they are working very hard to stay healthy. 
The fact that science and technology allows us to have medication that save lives, and make our lives better by preventing family history from repeating generations is pretty damn amazing!

And quite frankly, more people; Patients, Healthcare Professionals, and John Q. Public need to see it that way.
I woke up last Saturday morning with a pretty nasty case of tendinitis in my hand, finger and wrist stemming from over use (hours of computer use, gripping the handle bars on my bike, etc) and an existing shoulder issue.

And yes, I was not to happy about it.  And as soon as I woke up with trigger finger and a sore arm/ shoulder tendons I jumped right on it. I spent all weekend resting and icing my hands and doing the anti-inflamitory thing. I kept my finger in a splint until midweek and still sleep with it in the splint at night and I iced my hand and wrist before and after work. 
I  went to the acupuncturist/message therapist and that really helped- especially with the swelling. My finger isn't locking anymore (thank goodness) but my tendons in my wrist and hand are still achy and swollen.

According to the Hand Specialist - I'm doing all the right things - but I need to rest my hands more - which is damn near impossible , not to mention frustrating. Seriously, how the hell does one "rest their hands?"
Dictation software can only go so far - It can't get your paper work done or feed you, or slice and dice a piece of steak for you. It can't clean your house, drive your car or grip the handlebars on your bike for you.

Now here's the part where I got really INFLAMED.

Like I said, I went to the Hand Specialist on Wednesday - I'd never met him before but I'd heard good things about him.
I paid my ridiculously high co-pay and filled out the new patient paper work and waited for my name to be called.
And when my name was called, I followed the nurse back to the exam room, answered the questions she asked me and about 5 minutes later, Dr. Hand walked in followed by a physical therapist, nurse and a med student. And I was impressed.

Until he opened his mouth and said:

You're too young to be this sick.
And that statement made me:
2. Feel Like shit
And I let him know it: First off Dr. Hand, - I'm not sick - And I work incredibly hard to be healthy.
I have type 1 diabetes and as far as genetics are concerned - I'm not perfect. I take medications to help keep my diabetes in check & help prevent my family genetics from doing a number on me.
Am I thrilled that I have to take pills everyday? NO. I'M. NOT. But I am incredibly thankful & grateful for both science and technology because they help me stay healthy.
I've accepted the fact that I have to work harder to be healthy and if that means taking medications,then it means taking meds. Most of us living with diabetes take medications to prevent complications and maintain our health - I am not alone when it comes to this.
My last a1c was 7.5, not where I wanted it to be - and I was upset, but it wasn't horrible and I will do better.
I ride my bike 36 miles a week and I'm planning to do several long distance rides in the next year. I go to work; my heart muscle is strong & at last check everything else seemed to be working in typical Kelly fashion. 
Bottom line: I am healthy and I work hard to stay that way. But even if I was "sick," I still wouldn't want to be greeted in such a way.
But thanks for making me feel like shit & putting me on the defensive, Doc. I really appreciate it. Now lets talk about my inflamed tendons.
And then he apologized again and again and told me that he misspoke and that when he sees medications listed on a New Patient chart, he automatically just thinks sick.
And I told him that while " I get it", he still shouldn't think that way - it puts the patient on the defensive, it gives everyone the wrong impression and it makes the patient feel like shit.
And he looked at me in the eye, took a breath and told me I was right. And then he talked about his late father's struggle with diabetes and how difficult it was for the entire family. He asked about my insulin pump and wanted to know exactly how it worked.
And then we had a dialogue about my tendons for a good 15 minutes and he told me to keep doing what I was doing, re: my tendons and my diabetes.
And at the end of our conversation he told me to make an appointment for 2 weeks out and if there was still pain and tenderness to back come in - And if not, to cancel my appointment.
And we shook hands and said goodbye.
And if things don't pan out, I'll go back and see him - Because I think he's a good Dr. who knows his field and then some. And I also think that he's a really nice person who made a mistake and owned up to it.
And not to many people can say that, Doctor or not.
And I honestly believe that we both walked away from the appointment with a better understanding of ourselves and one another  - And that my friends is a wonderful thing.

But I still hope this stupid swelling goes away - Because I don't have time for this crap!


Scott E said...

From your story, I believe that he is a nice person who made a mistake, and owned up to it. Often, when "young and sick" people like you and me unload on others (and I use that phrase tongue-in-cheek, of course), we do it in the hopes that they might know better and behave better the next time around. In this doctor's case, I honestly believe he will know better, and that he'll never forget this little dialogue he had with you.

Kelly said...

WOW! That was a load of crap for his initial first comment to you!! YIKES! I would feel the same way! And, I totally agree that if ya got ANY doctor to agree he was in the wrong, he is a keeper! Just proof we need to THINK before speaking I guess :)

Mike Carlson said...

Wow! What a great interesting story. I think it is great for someone whoever are whatever his/her titles are accept their mistake.

Kerri. said...

Owning a mistake takes a good doctor - I hope he's learned a powerful lesson from your discussion, K2.

Katie said...

I'm glad you stood up for yourself (and for the rest of us).

Anonymous said...

I have been type 1 diabetic for 20 years (diagnosed at age 5) and have recently had trigger finger in both ring fingers. I had a cortisone injection in each affected joint. It took about a month to completely go away. I had to watch my BG's much more after the steroid injection, but had to problem. In most people one cortisone injection is all that is needed.