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Another Day, Another Doctor

Jan Chait

June 18, 2013

I’m in the throes of my semi-annual visits to the doctors. Some I visit more than others and, I swear, I have a doctor for every part of my body — which would be smart if, for example, I could send my eyes out to see the ophthalmologist while I stayed home and napped. Alas…

Last week, I saw the orthopedic surgeon and the family practice doc. I told the orthopedic surgeon the meds I was taking for phantom pain weren’t quite doing the job, so he prescribed a different drug. It was the lowest dosage, but it could be as much as doubled, so I should let him know how it was going. Oh, and it might, he said, cause some drowsiness. I did not become drowsy. I did not get sleepy. Folks, I DIED! And this was the “baby” dose?! Gotta love that man’s dry sense of humor.

This week, I’m out of town for a couple of days. Next week is the ophthalmologist and the endocrinologist. Not necessarily in that order. And I still have the dentist, rehabilitation doc, pulmonologist (if he’s still speaking to me), and colonoscopy dude (thanks, Dad, for gifting to me the need to see that last one more frequently than most) to schedule. Actually, I’ve been trying to schedule the colonoscopy doc, but I can’t seem to get through and the schedulers at the hospital have a tendency not to call back.

The podiatrist was last month and…and… Hmm… I do believe that’s it. For now. At my last visit, the endocrinologist asked me if I had a dermatologist and I said, “no.” I had some blistering on my leg he didn’t like. Some is still there. There aren’t enough here, so it’s impossible to get an appointment. Also, my microalbumin and creatinine levels are on the low side of high and have been for some time. If they begin to creep up, it’ll be off to the nephrologist for me.

Why all the visits? Many are because I have Type 2 diabetes and are for preventive care to keep an eye on anything that is happening or to ward off complications that may occur down the road.

For example, I have a teeny-tiny little spec of diabetic retinopathy in each eye. Nothing to worry about or to do anything about. Yet. And it could stay that way for the rest of my life, the ophthalmologist says. But it could become problematic, so I now get to see good ol’ Dr. F twice a year instead of once. Oy, joy. Love the doc; hate to have my eyes examined. On the other hand, if I see him more often, treatment — if needed — comes sooner rather than later and could save my eyesight.

The dentist? If I dislike having my eyes examined twice a year, I really clench my jaw at the thought of having my teeth cleaned and examined three times a year. However, it seems that we’re twice as likely to have gum disease if we have diabetes. Furthermore, serious gum disease such as periodontitis can lead to diabetes…and vice-versa. The way to prevent that? Take very good care of your teeth, including getting them professionally cleaned more often. Like three times a year.

There’s much, much more to cover. More than just one blog entry. So I’m going to continue this next week or so. I’ll tell you about an argument with a former family practice doc that began with a blood pressure reading he thought was just fine, but that I told him wasn’t “fine enough” for somebody with diabetes. Geez, they can be so sensitive…



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