Diabetes Is a Lot of Things, But It Sure Isn’t Boring

It’s not been a terrific week for me. For the first time, I feel as if diabetes is catching up with me.

First came the visit to my ophthalmologist last Tuesday for my dilated eye exam. For years, I’ve heard: “Your eyes are perfect! Beautiful!”

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No more. This time, he said, “you’re doing great, except for one thing.” That one thing is some background retinopathy.

“Now, don’t worry,” he said. “You could go fifty years and not have it get any worse.”

“I’m not worried,” I said.

I’m worried. If I weren’t worried, why would I be obsessing about having some background retinopathy? It’s this little nagging voice that seems to live in the back of my mind. (I could add here that when you’re in your 60s, you’re not going to make it another 50 years, anyway!)

My fear has always been blindness. I’m a reader, who’s had a book in her hands for as long as I can remember. Right now, I have books I’m in the middle of reading in several rooms. Why bother carrying one book from room to room when I can keep one in the bedroom, one in the den, one in the dining room … None in the bathroom, however. My husband and grandson have taken up the space in there.

Is this why I’ve been walking around in the dark most of my life? I mean that literally: I don’t turn lights on at night. Have I been subconsciously practicing in case I do end up blind?

For now, it means more frequent visits to the eye doc. I go back in May, then it’s a November/May schedule. (I make annual visits in November because that’s when my birthday is. It’s easy to remember.) And I thoroughly dislike going to the ophthalmologist. It’s time-consuming and I can’t see for some time after my appointment because of the dilated pupils.

Enough about the eye — and I don’t even know which one it is.

Yesterday I saw the podiatrist. Again. The incision that was stitched up in August has opened up. Again. A culture grew bacteria, my white cell count is up, my sed rate is up, and I’m back on super-antibiotics, which do wonderful things to my tummy.

And my foot hurts. I do not want to walk anywhere. I do not want my foot touching anything. I am tired of my foot hurting and I’m sick and tired of this one thing after another after another after another stuff that’s been going on for way too long.

My foot feels weird, anyway. Because nerves have been severed during surgeries, part of my foot is numb and part is not. It’s very disconcerting.

I want to see my old podiatrist. He recommended this one because he doesn’t deal with Achilles tendons any more (this all started with a ruptured Achilles tendon and went downhill from there).

Generally speaking, I think the deal is that you go to the new doc until the situation has been taken care of, then you go back to your former doctor. I have no idea what protocol is when you want to see somebody else in the middle of things. At this point, I’m not sure I really care. My foot hurts. My foot is not getting any better. I want to keep my foot on the end of my leg.

I think today I will try to get hold of my former podiatrist some more, and maybe even make an appointment with the one who sees people at the diabetes center to hear what he has to say.

  • Cathy A,

    Jan,I’m feeling bad for you. Yes, the eye exam every year is a big thing for me too. Always come out feeling like at least SOMETHING is working right. Yes, I’m a reader too. The feet are another thing. I love to walk and sometimes it is hard because of the diabetic neuropathy. At night my feet hurt. We all live with these things as people with diabetes. Know you aren’t alone and know there are a lot of people out there who “feel your pain.” Keep that sweet chin up and keep on writing your blogs. Way to go, girl!

  • Cathy Moore

    Do you feel better now Jan??? I do understand the LAST thing that goes on your plate at the worst time.

    Know that you are not alone. Shut your door, hang your sign (lost my mind…gone to find it), put a little umbrella in your green tea and relax. :)

  • Beth

    Jan,

    IF the worst happens with your eyes — a big IF, since, as your eye doctor rightly said, background retinopathy does not automatically progress any further — you would, no doubt, go through a range of difficult emotions — shock, anger, etc. — and then adjust. This is the best of all times in history to have low vision or blindness. Blind people do all sorts of things that were not possible even a generation ago, and the digital revolution is rapidly expanding what they can do.

    Here are links to 3 organizations that all have valuable information about low vision and blindness:

    American Foundation for the Blind
    http://www.afb.org

    National Federation of the Blind
    http://www.nfb.org

    Vision Aware: Self-Help for Vision Loss
    http://www.cisionaware.org

    While I truly hope that you personally do not need these organizations, part of decreasing the anxiety is to know that they are there if you do need them.