Monday, July 21, 2008

The Forgotten Patient

On a non-D message board that I frequent, an individual posted about the problems he was having with his diabetes..this being your regular run of the mill website, there were the usual admonitions to suck it up and take care of it, along with the tales of aunts/uncles/cousins/dogs dying gruesome deaths from it + how it would be him, if he didn't start trying harder.

That made me see's this guy, he has type 2 diabetes and little D education..he gets sick,ends up in the ER with a blood sugar of over 500-the ER doesn't refer him to anyone, they treat his bg w/insulin and fluids and kick him right back out. Continues to take his Metformin, and his blood sugars continue to hang out in the 300-400's. Doc tells him to increase his Metformin(apparently no ketones)but he's still high.. this guy needs to be on insulin. He's going to switch doctors, but right now he's floundering around with no support whatsoever.

Nope, this guy isn't the forgotten patient.(as sad as it is) The forgotten patients are the sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, children, wives, husbands, friends, grandparents, grandchildren, etc.. their loved ones die from diabetes, and they don't get the real scoop- they are left to make their own theories about how rotten a person they were, not to take care of themselves. And the doctor's quick "they died from diabetes" does nothing to alleviate the automatic blame placement.Mentally, these people need more then the bare-bones facts..they need to know what a complex mess it is.

This is diabetes. Even people who try, may eventually get complications, and pass away from them. There is nothing moral about it- yet "you're killing yourself" is the phrase on millions of lips, millions of tombstones, millions of doctors' conversations. Yet, someone who is driving too fast, gets into an accident, and gets killed is never accused of killing them self.

We need education, THEY need education, that diabetes is not some simple x-y-z equation and you live happily ever after. Doctors need to tell the families that their loved ones weren't horrible people intent on killing themselves as quickly as possible. Honestly, the many impediments to good control...(financial-if I had no health insurance, I'd be in significantly worse control then I am now, skimping on test strips,cheaper insulins, etc.) emotional...other illnesses...lack of a good, basic diabetes education..

the list never ends. Shouldn't we be trying to help people, giving them what they need, and not making them feel even worse about the situation then they already do? Who DOESN'T know that this isn't the right path, even if they're merely ignoring/engaging in deep denial about the diabetes? They know, they just don't want to face it. There are steps to accepting a chronic disease, and it can take a pretty hefty combo of things to get a person to start caring.

I guess the only real solution is to come up with a cure, then we can all forget about the archaic disease called diabetes + start blaming people for other diseases.(although I can't think of any that incur so much blame as diabetes)


Anonymous said...

I was in this same situation..First diagnosed as T2 due to my age (37) and Dr's just kept increasing metformin. The extent of education about diabetes was "eat a South Beach type diet & exercise".. I was normal weight at dx but numbers kept getting higher 400-500 and I started losing weight; no ketones etc.. I demanded my PCP send me to an endo who took my history and said "you're T1" FINALLY ..Insulin.. The sad thing is most PCP's seem to assume only children have T1 and only adults get T2..WE need to re-educate the medical community. Makes you wonder how many of the forgotten patients or "careless diabetics" were actually misdiagnosed and being treated improperly.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post Heidi. And it is posts such as this one that help educate the fogotten.

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts and the healthcare system has not educated those with Type 2. Whereever I go I meet people who are Type 2s and when they talk about their disease they say "my doctor takes care of that." Dealing with this disease can be scary but I talk and tell them things they can do to help themselves. Until the healthcare system mends it's ways and stop putting the blame on patients because it's easy, we have to help each other and help educate others.

Bob Hawkinson said...

Amen......nicely said.