LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Another Kleenex moment in the trenches

Flipping through his blood-sugar logbook was like using one of those cartoon flipbooks where the horse runs across the top of the page. The slow changes, logged a day at a time, became a gallop when time was accelerated by the turning of the pages. It was fascinating. And horrifying. Sickening, actually, as the full impact of what I was seeing dawned on me: I was watching his death in slow motion.

In the summer of 2011 his morning fasting sugars were running in the 120s. By early 2012 they were generally over 200. By the fall of last year 300s where the rule. Now, in the 400s.

His doctor told him to take his medication. So he did. Every day.

His doctor told him to test his blood sugar. So he did. Every day.

But no one ever took the time to tell him what the numbers meant. When to worry. When to call. Apparently, no one ever looked at the numbers he carefully logged every day and took with him to every doctor’s visit, either. That made me mad.

More than mad. Angry. Furious. Enraged.

Here was a guy who did everything he was told to do, but was let down by the system he placed his trust in. Next to his logbook on my desk was the little cash register receipt-like printout from our urinalysis machine. There was protein in his urine. LOTS of protein. His kidneys were failing. It fell to me to tell him. It fell to me to teach him for the first time the vocabulary of numbers. To explain to him the truths revealed when you listen to what the numbers say. To explain to him why meeting me was too little, too late. To explain to him why we were giving him a nephrology referral.

I wish someone had sent him to our clinic three years ago. Hell, two years ago. Or even six month ago! Then maybe I could have made a difference. But it was too late. He’s another casualty in the war we call Diabetes. A solider who was given a gun, then sent into combat with no training. No ammunition. Now he’s become another diabetes complication statistic. But to me, he isn’t just a statistic. Not just another number. He is a man. A scared man, with a kind face, and sad eyes.

This is diabetes in the Real World.

And on days like this I don’t know whether to cry or to scream.


Blogger George said...

How do we fix this? What can we do? I am sick to my stomach with anger and have eyes spilling tears because of my sorrow.

I just want to walk out the door and help fix this but I have no clue what to do.

That poor guy who was not NON-COMPLIANT just uninformed. That is a crime.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Janis Nussbaum Senungetuk said...

Where was his doctor?

When he brought his log to previous appointments wasn't it looked at? How was his medication type and dosage determined? When he was first diagnosed wasn't he provided with some basic information?

What will it take to prevent this tragedy from happening again?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Bruce in the mountains said...

It's much too common, I had D for 20 years before I heard of an Endo, didn't hear about CDE's till I found the DOC last fall, even my Endo of 17 years never mentioned CDE's or the DOC. Do we need to take out newspaper ads or ads during the evening news?

5:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I got a bit peeved when I eventually found out that I could have done something when I was in the pre-diabetes stage but that pales to insignificance in comparison to this tragedy. My heart goes out to him and his family.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I am in this right now!

My boss' husband has T2. I've known that for a while. She made an uneducated comment about diabetes a few days ago, which led to some education from me. Which led to me understanding that they don't actually know anything about his diabetes or the five medications he is taking.

He goes to the doctor (internist not endo) who prescribes more medication, but has not talked to him about his testing habits. He hasn't checked his blood sugar in over a year.

I don't know what to do.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

It's things like this that MAKE me HAVE to reach out and help.

I think crying and screaming are both appropriate. Crying that this happened and screaming until it stops happening so frequently.

10:01 AM  

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