July 11, 2014

Diabetes Doesn't Have to Mean Complications

Allen and I are having sessions with a person with diabetes that has basically given up on living. Allen has Barry and Ben both helping him with research and they came up with this from WebMD. Since Ben is not yet comfortable with an intervention, I asked Tim to help us. After reading all of this we decided to talk with Dr. Tom before going forward.

As soon as Dr. Tom heard the name, he called his office manager and asked if the person had an appointment for the next afternoon. He was informed that the appointment had been cancelled that afternoon. He asked that the last appointment be moved up and that time be reserved for the patient. Then Dr. Tom asked if we could see that he showed up. He gave us the time and said he would call us if there happened to be a problem. Tim said he would be unable to be there the next afternoon, but Allen, Ben, Barry, and I said we would have him there.

The next afternoon, it took some shenanigans, but we had him there and the office manager met us and escorted us to the office. We were a couple of minutes late, but Dr. Tom was waiting for us.

As soon as we were all seated, Dr. Tom told the patient that he understood why he had given up. He said that his father had type 2 diabetes and did not take care of it and died about 18 months after diagnosis. Then he asked the patient how long his mother had lived after diagnosis. He hesitated, but finally admitted that his mother had only lived about three months, but it was cancer that had killed her.

Dr. Tom then asked Allen when his diagnosis happened. Allen said just over 10 years, and Dr. Tom pointed to Barry and asked us to continue. Barry said he was diagnosed almost 9 years ago. I stated that I was less than four months to 11 years, and Ben stated he was at 10 years. Next Dr. Tom asked us to tell the patient the complications we had. All of us stated we had neuropathy and nothing more serious. I said I have sleep apnea, but that is not part of diabetes, but could make managing diabetes more difficult.  I had some heart problems, but had not had any problems in the almost 11 years since.

Dr. Tom then explained that with the number of years each of us have had diabetes, why he was giving up when he was not yet 60 years old. Dr. Tom explained that we were all in our 70's. Now the patient was thinking. He turned to Allen and asked why he had neuropathy. Allen said he had neuropathy because he had been vitamin B12 deficient and he could not speak for the rest of us. Barry and Ben agreed that was the cause of their neuropathy. I said mine could have been from diabetes before my diagnosis, but I had wondered if I had some chemical exposure at the time.

Dr. Tom then asked if he wanted a copy of his test results. No was the answer and both Allen and I told him to take a copy. He asked why when he was not planning to control his diabetes. Everyone looked at him and finally Barry asked him why with all of us here and our years of successfully managing diabetes, would he throw his life away? Dr. Tom then asked him why with a wife and three sons, would he not want to live to see his grandchildren.

Dr. Tom told him that just because his father had not managed his diabetes, this did not mean that he could not. Dr. Tom told him that the four individuals in the room with him were managing their diabetes and he could as well.

Allen took out a copy of the WebMD article and said this should provide him some ideas and why life is worth living even with diabetes. Allen told him to read it and think about it. We had taken enough of Dr. Tom's time. I will see you this weekend and I expect some questions about what we can do to help and educate you about managing your diabetes. I asked him if he would mind giving me a copy of the lab results for me to go over them and set them up on a spreadsheet for him to use.

He hesitated and finally asked Dr. Tom to give me the last three results if he would. Dr. Tom asked the manager to make copies and give them to me. Then he turned to the patient and told him this was a good start and with the assistance of the support group, he should be able to live a long life. Then Dr. Tom told us that he would expect reports on his progress and was available if needed. Barry thanked him and we left.

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