I go this week for my quarterly checkup and blood tests. I'll meet with the doctor again in a week or so to go over results. A part of me feels like I'm going before a judge who will deliver a verdict on my 'compliance'. It's not a pleasant feeling.
While too many health care providers foster such an attitude, usually unintentionally I assume, that's not what I'm addressing. In fact, I quite like my current doctor. But the way I'm wired, I'm quite capable of producing this anxiety all by myself.
How do I do this to myself? One big factor is that I allow too much of my self-regard to hinge on approval from others. While I believe that interaction with my doctor is important, I almost wish it could be done electronically.
Anxiety before the checkup is also clearly related to my sens of how I'm doing with my self-care. I'm relatively calm about that for this visit. While my fasting BGs have been running a little higher than I'd like, I'm generally feeling pretty good these days. And, the "belt notch" test suggests that I've lost some weight. So, while I worry a bit about surprises, I think my results are going to be okay.
In the end, feeling like this is a choice. So, for this visit, I'm going to try a different choice. I'm going to go into my appointment with my BG log, with my list of questions, and with my head held high!
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)
This an experiment. Please let me know what you think.
In a dream....
I was sitting in a molded plastic booth at a fast food restaurant, finishing my breakfast, when a woman slipped into the seat across the table from me. "We have to talk", she said.
I was startled - by the interruption, by the woman's loveliness, and most especially by such words coming from someone I didn't think I knew at all. A case of mistaken identity? I wondered in a moment of anxiety. Was I about to be drawn into some drama I had no part in?
"Um, okay, but who are you?" I asked, trying to recover my sense of calm.
"I'm your blood glucose meter."
In the logic of dreams, this simple statement seemed quite sensible, and I felt reassured. "I don't remember my meter looking like you!" The woman was sleek, handsome rather than beautiful, and dressed stylishly in silver and black.
She grinned at me. "I can take human form once in a while. It's a new feature."
I grinned back. "I don't remember seeing THAT in the manual!"
"Yeah. Like you actually read the manual."
I was stung by the shot - and its absolute truth - and made an ungentlemanly response. "Oh? And is the manual more accurate than YOU are?"
Her eyes narrowed, and she seemed about to answer my insult with one of her own. But she bit off her words, took a breath, and relaxed. "Bob, I know the accuracy issue is a real problem for diabetics that use insulin. But, honestly, is it really that big an issue for you?"
"Not that big an issue, no," I admitted. "The numbers are good enough to show a trend in the fasting levels, and that's probably the most important for me. But when I do pre/post testing on a particular food, I really can't learn much unless I do the testing the same way a number of times. And, since I don't really do that, it's not much more use than not testing at all."
"I understand that," she said, "I wish I could do a better job. But do YOU understand that you could be helping more?"
"What do you mean?" Suddenly, I knew perfectly well what she meant.
"Several things. First, while you do your fasting test fairly often, and that's good, it's nothing like every day. Daily would give you much more meaningful numbers. And you know how you could round out the daily variations to show trends a little better - you've just never done it."
"Guilty as charged", I said.
"Next, this pre- and post-meal testing you mentioned. You need to do more of it, both to learn about specific foods and also to compare the pre-meal number. Sure, you'd probably have to buy some strips beyond what the insurance will be happy about. But you spend money on less important things than that."
"Finally, you're pretty casual about how you test. Often, you don't wash your hands, you just suck on the finger you're going to use and dry it on whatever's handy. That introduces a lot more room for variation than you'd have with better practices."
She fell silent. I was silent, too: she was right, but I didn't want to admit it.
In the silence, she looked at the tray with my interrupted breakfast. "You're not gonna eat those hash browns, are you? Since you're also having an English muffin?"
"What are you, the diabetes police?"
She laughed out loud. "Yes! Isn't that my job?" She grinned at me, then grew very serious. "Look. You do a good job with a lot of diabetes stuff. But I want you to be healthy for a very long time. And you could be doing more to help yourself."
She stood. "Give me a quick hug, and I'll let you finish your breakfast." As I rose, I thought I saw that her eyes were a little misty. "Take care of yourself", I heard her whisper, "and let me help."
Barely had my mind begun to register the hug when it was suddenly gone, completely. As I tried to puzzle this out, I noticed something in my hand. My meter.
And then I awoke.