I had another doctor’s appointment today. Keep in mind that I started taking medication for hypertension when I was 17
. I have spent a lot
of time in doctor’s offices. I think that if I could add to the end of my lifespan all the time that I have spent sitting in doctor’s offices, in their examination rooms and waiting rooms, I could probably get back all the years that my various ailments are statistically likely to take off of my life.
Why is that doctor’s offices always have bunch of McCalls, Redbook, Cosmo, and then one battered copy of Sports Illustrated? I wonder if they realize that there are a few men out there that simply don’t care about sports. I usually end up forced to read about what colors will be hot this season, what clumsy and insensitive lovers men are, how to turn that special man on, and a quick and easy recipe for blueberry crumb cake. In my case, the blueberry crumb cake recipe turns me on quite nicely, thank you, but I’ll save you ladies some stress: If you want to know what turns a guy on, the answer is … everything. Especially if you’re naked. But I digress.
This particular visit was necessary because the pharmacy would not refill my prescription for Dostinex until I saw my endocrinologist again. I take Dostinex to control a small tumor on my pituitary gland. This pituitary adenoma was initially somewhat troublesome, as it threw my hormone levels entirely out of whack, but the little tiny white pill I take twice a week seems to be controlling it quite well, and will hopefully continue doing so for the rest of my life.
He ran through the standard questions. Any chest tenderness? No. Any problems with your vision? No. Any headaches? No more than normal. My last MRI had shown the tumor was not growing. On my way out, they would draw some blood to check my hormone levels, but the next time the pharmacy called in my prescription it would be filled, no problem.
As he jotted notes in my file, I handed him my last couple of lab reports from fasting blood workups, from my regular doctor. My GP was of the opinion that they indicated that I was ‘pre-diabetic’. As my endocrinologist is also a diabetes specialist (and works in a diabetes clinic), I thought he should know. He glanced at the lab results and his face grew a little less cheerful.
“Well, your hemoglobin A1c level of 6.47 doesn’t mean that you’re prediabetic, it means that you are diabetic. I want you to start checking your blood glucose regularly. Let me go get you a blood glucose meter. And we need to get those triglycerides down. Oh, and take off your shoes, I want to look at your feet.”
Well, that was finally that. After twenty plus years of anticipation, I had finally heard a diagnosis of adult-onset diabetes. You would expect it to hit me like a thunderbolt, like an oncoming train, but in a very real sense it was a relief.
My mom was diabetic, and poorly controlled. I used to prepare her insulin injections for her when I was in high school. Sometimes I even administered them. As the years went by, my siblings started developing Type II diabetes, one by one. There really wasn’t a question that I would avoid becoming diabetic. I had all the same traits that ran through the rest of the family: hypertension, obesity, and elevated triglyceride levels. It was never really a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
And that would be true as long as I was overweight and sedentary. Mind you, I did try to lose weight, and I tried to exercise more, but it is agonizingly hard for me to do either one. In addition to the known benefits of weight loss, it’s been shown that even moderate exercise, if performed regularly, goes a long way in preventing/controlling diabetes. In my case, I tended to exercise in spurts. I’d get quite a bit of a workout for a few weeks, then none at all for another few weeks. Not optimal, not at all.
You might think “Well then, this is certainly a wake-up call for PAgent.” Except I’ve had so many wake-up calls for so many years, this is really just another buzzing of the snooze alarm. The first time I bought jeans with a waist larger than the inseam was a wake-up call. Getting put on a statin drug to reduce cholesterol was a wake-up call. Adding an additional anti-hypertensive was a wake-up call, each and every time it happened. I’ve had so many wake-up calls I must be in a coma.
But I still hope this news will make a difference. I rode my bike to work yesterday, and it was a good ride. I hope to do that more often. On days that I don’t ride, I need to at least go for a brisk walk. And, of course, I need to change my diet. Rather, we need to change our diet. The wife has already expressed surprise that I went Type II first. It runs in her family, too. (You’re probably thinking, ‘There’s no way the two of them should have had children’. And you’re probably right.)
At any rate, I now have a new tool. I can see what my blood glucose is, and how my choices affect it. When you can see what that dessert did to your body, in digital terms, that’s got to be more helpful than some abstract “you know you shouldn’t eat that” reminder. At least I’m hoping so.
So in the end, the news that I am officially a diabetic comes not with a thunderclap, but with the soft thud of yet another shoe dropping to the floor. And now I get on with my life.