December 23, 2013

Again, a Doctor Refuses to Test for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Allen called Friday morning in a panic. He said that a friend of his could not get tested for vitamin B12 deficiency. He was seeing the same doctor Allen had his trouble with. Allen wondered if he should take his friend to the endocrinologist we see or take this up with the local doctor. He said his friend had been taking metformin longer than he had.

I suggested that he try the local doctor and see if he was sincere in the concern he had expressed earlier. Allen said this was what he was thinking and said he would call me back later. That afternoon he called and said the doctor had taken him immediately and did several tests like the endocrinologist had done on him. Allen said that his vitamin B12 level was even lower than his had been. His vitamin D level had been slightly higher than Allen remembered his had been. Then Allen said the doctor had also checked the potassium and magnesium levels and they were low.

Once the doctor had the test results and found out why he had not been tested by his doctor, Allen said he had called the doctor and made his results known and told the doctor to be in his office that evening. Allen said he then called the pharmacy to see what they had for potassium and magnesium supplements and wrote a note for him to purchase the supplements and take one a day for 30 days and he would be retested then.

Then Allen was asked to leave the room while he gave vitamin B12 and D shots. In the discussion when Allen was back in the room, the doctor asked his friend not to drive until his levels were back in the normal range. He then asked Allen to let him know if he did drive and he would ask for his license. He was scheduled for shots in the next two weeks and then he would be tested again the third week before they decided whether he needed more shots. He would be started on vitamin B12 and D supplements at that time if no more shots were required.

Allen said that he was asked to stay while his friend checked out. The doctor had thanked him for bringing his friend and said that this would go a long way in helping him convince this doctor that many people could not eat their way to good health and levels of vitamin B12 on metformin. I told Allen that I had sent the URLs for this article and this article to the doctor and received a thank you for sending them. Allen asked me to send them to him as well.

Allen said his friend wanted to drive, but Allen said the doctor was serious and recounted what had happened to him. Allen said he had also alerted his friend's daughter about the situation and she had agreed to help her father until this was over.  I asked Allen how old his friend was and Allen said only a year younger than he was.

Allen anticipated my next question and stated that he was on VA assistance and that he had been warned about his vitamin B12 levels, but had ignored them. I said he may not have been very low or they would have given him a shot then.

Allen said his friend had asked him to drive for his tests the following week at the VA and then for his appointment the week after. I said that he may be taking them serious now, but at least he knows. I commented to Allen that he could send out an email to everyone now and emphasize to people the importance of being tested for vitamin B12 especially if they had friends or relatives on metformin. Allen thanked me for allowing him to do this and he would have Tim send it on to people in the other groups.

Allen concluded by saying he had asked his friend to consider joining our support group, but his friend was not sure he wanted to. Allen said he was not going to pressure him, but would continue to promote the idea with him.

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