This week I’m obsessing about the continuing saga of my Achilles tendon (and you’re nowhere near as tired of hearing about it as I am of putting up with it) and attitudes about people with Type 2 diabetes.
To bring you up to date, I tore my Achilles tendon and it was surgically repaired. Then the incision got infected and I had surgery to clean that up and wore a wound V.A.C. (vacuum-assisted closure) device, which helped with part of the incision on my leg that was not healing. However, the part of the incision on my heel did not — and has not — healed. And the top part kind of grew too much tissue. The incision in between those two problem areas is just fine.
Which puts me at needing more surgery to deal with the over-healing wound as well as the nonhealing one. To top it off, the person reading my CT scan believes I may have a bone infection in my heel. My infectious disease doc, who I’m seeing for MRSA, also believes I have a bone infection. My podiatrist doesn’t believe I do. The bottom line is that I’m to be admitted to the hospital instead of just having outpatient surgery.
Oh, joy. I just love hospitals. They’re so good for people with diabetes. (NOT!)
To top it off, my podiatrist and infectious disease docs are in Indianapolis, and my primary-care doc is not. Neither the infectious disease doc nor the podiatrist can admit me, and my regular doctor doesn’t have privileges at that hospital. Therefore, instead of having an attending physician who knows me, I’ll have somebody who’s never met me and will — I promise you — make a lot of assumptions.
The first thing he will see is that I have Type 2 diabetes. From that, he will assume I’m a know-nothing, noncompliant idiot who is unable to care for herself. I will tell him my last HbA1c was 6.2% (and that was through surgery, infections, and nonactivity). He will not believe me and will waste my money by ordering an HbA1c. He will send the dietitian to talk to me and explain why I need a “diabetic diet” as I attempt to convince her to just give me a list of foods that are available all the time so I can make up my own meals. I will give him my endocrinologist’s number and tell him to call and ask about me. He won’t.
How do I know? It’s happened before. And I so enjoy using up my energy to try and make some doctor understand that I know how to take care of myself when I should be recuperating from surgery. (That “enjoy” word was sarcastic.)
It’s beyond my ken why doctors assume you don’t know anything. Wouldn’t it be just as easy to for them to find out what you know and go from there?
Do they do that to people with Type 1, too? I don’t know. There seems to be a perception that people with Type 1 know what they’re doing (although I’ve met some who don’t have a clue) and people with Type 2 don’t.
Admittedly, Type 2 can be a lot easier to ignore, and there are many who take full advantage of that. I’ve heard diabetes educators complain that people don’t show up for diabetes self-management classes. It seems to me that people would want to learn about something they’ll have for the rest of their lives and that can result in some very unpleasant complications.
It could be that they “know” all about diabetes because their grandmother had it. It could be they’re afraid they’ll be told they can’t eat many of their favorite foods. And, yes, I’m speaking for myself, too.
Gee, I wish more people knew how to manage their diabetes. It would make it a lot easier for me when I run up against doctors who don’t know me.