A Week In The Life

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Those medical artists, those doctors, that health-care system and those office staff and nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, and pharmacists; indeed, also those insurance company reps and medical-supply folks toiling away in cubes and warehouses…they all deserve my praise for the work they do to help me as I try to live as healthy and normal a life as possible with this thing called Type 1 diabetes.

But I’d be lying if I said that, despite my good fortune to have an excellent health-care team and pretty awesome insurance coverage, I don’t find the practice of physically going here and there to make this appointment and that appointment and to pick up yet another prescription refill somewhat tiresome. Every few months, the rigmarole of it all ramps up, and the time I take out of my days and weeks begins to wear on me.

This past week has been one of those several-day stretches of “does it ever end?” (And, of course, I know that answer to that: Until there’s a cure, It Will Not End.) As much as I love being in hospitals and doctors’ offices (yes, it’s true, I really get a kick out of the physical structures—the bigger the better), the appointments’ and prescriptions’ stars often seem to align so that I’m doing all of it within a five- or six-day stretch.

  • Last Thursday, I had my quarterly visit with the endocrinologist. Commute, waiting room, doctor exam, checkout, and blood lab—Total Time (TT): 2 hours.
  • That same day, I called in a refill on two prescriptions.TT: 1 hour.
  • That same day, I learned while at the pharmacy that a scrip I needed to refill needed to be renewed, so the next day I returned to pick it up. TT: 1 hour.
  • Over the weekend, I realized that I should have refilled my insulin, because the box in the fridge that I thought had a bottle in it was an empty box. (My fault, of course, for not pitching the old box. But hey.) On Monday, I return to the pharmacy, where they know me by name. I feel special. TT: 1 hour.
  • Wednesday morning, I have my six-month checkup with my primary care physician. TT: 2 hours. (After which I had to schedule an ultrasound on my liver for next week, which will be at least another TT of 1 hour. Oh, and in case you’re curious, the reason for the ultrasound is to establish a baseline image of how my liver looks because of some slightly fluctuating liver-function numbers from a blood test. I’ll spare you the details, but the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in people with diabetes is a good reason to be a little more cautious.)
  • Today, I’m headed to my therapist’s office after work for what is now a once-every-three-weeks appointment. TT: 2 hours.

Over the next six months, my appointment calendar for my involvement with those who practice the medical arts crawls into the double digits: Another doctor visit, an ophthalmologist visit, a blood lab, two endocrinologist visits, one trip to the podiatrist, at least one trip each month past the pharmacy, as well as the ongoing visits with my therapist. Oh, and there’s a dentist appointment in there as well.

I’m probably forgetting a few things.

Recently I put a bumper sticker on my car to proudly announce who I support for president (to go with the sign in our yard and the button on my work bag). I’d love to tell you who I support, but you can probably guess. However, when the election’s over, I should have two bumper stickers made up. I’ll put one on each side of the back of my car. On the left side, it will read: “I’m doing this for diabetes”; on the right side, it will say: “I’m doing this for me.”

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