Saturday, November 2, 2013

November day : eyes

When you are diagnosed with diabetes the doctors are sure to remind you that high blood sugars are leading to certain doom. That when you sneak Crunchie bars while sitting under the jungle gym with your friends, you're doing harm and you are slowly killing yourself and shows signs of depression and mental illness (actual words from my former paediatrician, who I fired at the ripe age of 12.) 

Admittedly, here's a shocker....I let my diabetes care slip in my late teens and early 20s. I had SO much else on my plate, something had to get my bare minimum attention. It couldn't be my marks because I was depriving myself of a rich future to educate myself, it couldn't be my first or second jobs because they were fuelling my social life, groceries, and laundry. It couldn't be my social life because I was human and in university. So I was diabetes. I let it go, sometimes days, or months without a sugar check. I would Bolus, change my sites and carry on. I had few lows and my A1C hovered around 8-9 for years. I was lucky, I know. Somehow I managed a relatively average A1c for my age, without caring. Like, at all. Even though my roommate was also Type One on a pump, we fuelled each others indifference. So much so that one night while we were out, (we happened to be wearing the same infusion set) my pump ran out of insulin at a party, and while normally I would go home to refill or have a refill on me, every hour or so we found each other, I plugged in to her pump and micro bolused. I don't recommend that, FYI. We probably narrowly avoided a lot of problems doing that. And we did it a lot.

So fast forward. I am in my late 20s. I am with the man I intend to spend my life with, I have a house am working on getting a career I am proud of and I read about diabetes. A lot. I know what doctors, scholars and others say about complications. I always thought that it couldn't be me. I still am lucky to not be diagnosed with complications, but it's a nagging thought at the back of my head always. I have some issues with my legs getting painful when I work out, but I am 1.5 years on a waiting list to see an endocrinologist (Canadian Healthcare ain't what it's cracked up to be).

I had my yearly eye check up today.

It's a clammy hands, looking to busy my brain kind of feeling, waiting for a check up like that. The doctor always asks me to check my sugar at the appointment time, 3.7mmol/l. A few glucose tabs, and we are on our way. Puffs of air. "Can you read this letter without your glasses?" "No." Wearing the glasses, can you see it now? Of course. Retina scan. "This is scary" I disclose. A warm smile, desperately trying to comfort me "it just takes a picture, we don't touch your eye, no pain!" I nod, he doesn't know that the scary thing isn't the pain it doesn't cause, it's the pain that a new diagnoses could cause.

I put my forehead onto the medical plastic and state blankly ahead. Dots and lights. "Isn't this better than dialation?" He asks cheerfully. "Oh yes. Yes it is" my freckled fingertips dig into the hard leather of the exam chair, the sweat on my palms makes my hands slowly drip down the sides the chair like wax on a hot candle.

"All done!"

The photos appear on the large computer screen and he studies them carefully. Zoom in and out, move around, drag the mouse. Look in. Scribble on the paper. Look up, notice the anguish of waiting on my face.

"You have beautiful retinas. There is no sign of retinopathy. Not even a vessel out of place. Beautiful, just perfect! You're done have a nice year"

Exit stage left for the doc.

A sigh of relief from the patient. One more year I don't have to worry about it. I don't need more worry. 

One more year. 

1 comment:

  1. Yay that's awesome! I know my last check up I was so worried myself. With just being diagnosed with a hypothyroid in the beginning of the year and really trying to get ready to start trying for a baby I was super nervous that they would find something at my eyes exam but they didn't, all good. I hope something happens and you can get in to see the endo sooner.