October 10, 2013

Casual Meeting with a Doctor

At 7:00 PM, seven of us gathered at the library with the doctor Jason and I had met that afternoon. Jason said that there were others that wanted to be there, but already had plans for the evening. After introductions, the doctor asked us if we could discuss what made us successful as a group.

Tim started the discussion by stating that we always support each other no matter what the problem. Jason said we try not the let our personal problems dominate the meetings and since so many of us do research, we normally have this to guide the conversations. A.J. stated this was what appealed to him and the fact that two or more people always sent out emails summarizing the meetings, and therefore if it was necessary to miss, you were included after the fact. I stated that we all have email addresses for each other and telephone numbers if necessary. We use video conferencing if needed and use emails quite a bit to let people know about different articles.

The doctor asked how he could apply this to a group that seems to desire secrecy in everything. Rob stated that this could make it difficult to overcome, but if presented correctly, could be overcome. Allen said that secrecy was bad as far as he was concerned, but it is true that many do not want to talk about their diabetes and don't want to hear about other people's problems. Max added that with only two of us being overweight, he was always concerned about people making comments about our weight, but this has not happened.

Sue's husband, Bob asked if a lot of our success has come from our willingness to accept people as they are. Jason commented this is probably contributes to much of our success and not being judgmental. The doctor asked Bob why he would say this. Bob said that he was the one that had outed his wife's diabetes and he had actually hoped that we would give her payback for being the diabetes police. He said no one would and instead asked where they could be of help. They gave her the encouragement to adapt her food plan, continue her exercise, and maybe eliminate medications. Bob continued that when I announced that I had type 2, the support was there and I have been able to get off medications. A.J. said he has been able to do the same.

The doctor asked what age range the group included. Tim stated from 60 to 76 years of age. The doctor then asked the range of time people had diabetes. I said I think I am the oldest there with ten years and A.J. said he was just past his 6-month point. I asked Allen how long he had diabetes, and he stated just over 9 years. I added that four people of the group presently were not on medications with the remaining 10 on insulin.

The doctor was shaking his head and Tim asked why. The doctor asked why so many on insulin? Jason said because we were not liking the side effects of oral medications. Allen said at just almost 8 years, Tim and I had questioned him about how long he had been on metformin. Then they asked if I had been tested for Vitamin B12 deficiency and Allen said the doctor would not test me. They would not let me go any longer without being tested and set up an appointment with their doctor to be tested.

Allen continued that the doctor would not let him leave with his driver's license and that he had two shots that day, one for Vitamin B12 and one for Vitamin D. At the next appointment, he was given two more shots and put on a daily supplement that included several more vitamins and minerals and scheduled for two more shots the following week. When his two vitamins were back in the normal range, he was given his license back. Allen concluded that if we had not insisted that he see their doctor, he might not be alive today as deficient as he was.

Bob said this creates a loyalty that makes people want to be part of a group. A.J. added that this is why people like the diabetes clinic they use. The clinic will suggest insulin for the right reasons, to bring diabetes under quick management, and then if you adapt the lifestyles, they allow you to get off medications as they allowed me.

The doctor said this will be difficult to use to bring a group together and then asked if we had a doctor in the lead. He was a little surprised when we gave him a unanimous NO. Tim said this was our choice and another reason we feel like we have been successful. Allen said that about the only person we listen to as a group is the nutritionist relative of our blogger. The doctor said you don't have meetings with a certified diabetes educator and he received a no, a registered dietitian, and again the answer was an emphatic no.

Then the doctor just had to ask what our A1c's were. Tim answered that Sue, Bob's wife was the lowest at 5.2% and Max and I were the only two above 6.0%, but under 6.5%. Now the doctor was in shock and asked how many episodes of severe hypoglycemia each of us experienced on a quarterly basis. Silence and Tim asked him to define severe. Tim said we receive so much grief about this that we want to be sure were are talking about the same numbers. The doctor said to start at 45 mg/dl, and he could see that he was not getting any answers. Tim then said that most of us very seldom get below 55 mg/dl and this is infrequent. I stated that in the last year, I have only been below 55 mg/dl one time and that was 54 mg/dl. Two others admitted that they had been as low as 64 mg/dl, but the rest had not been lower than 70 mg/dl.

Tim had been looking for the blog of mine on hypoglycemia and when he had it asked the doctor what he considered the start of hypoglycemia. The doctor knew he was being tested, but said 80 mg/dl. Then Tim asked him to read my blog. After he completed this, he asked Tim to open the link and Tim directed him to the next tab where he already had the link open. After he read this, he said you fellows are more up-to-date than I am. Allen said this is because we do our research and try to educate ourselves.

With that, the doctor looked at the time and said he needed to get back to his parents, but asked Tim to enter his email address and send him a list of those present. Tim said okay and entered the email address. The doctor said he appreciated our time and that we were different than most groups and apparently took our education very seriously. Then he said to Jason and me that he would be in touch. I will write more on communications with the doctor in another blog.

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