Monday, October 06, 2008

Diabetes

Now that I’m feeling a little better, I’m beginning the search for insurance. Naturally, I have immediately run into a problem – my diabetes. I have type 3 diabetes – the kind that exists on paper.

When I was admitted into the hospital from the emergency room, they took blood (they always take blood – I think it’s a front for vampires) and said my infection was throwing off every number, including my blood sugar at over 300. After surgery and radiation and other stuff it dropped steadily, but in less than 48 hours they changed their tune from “we need to watch that” to “you may have diabetes” to “you may possibly be able to live a semi-normal life with a severely restricted diet consisting entirely of cardboard and a lot of insulin.” By the third day my blood glucose level had dropped to below two hundred, but they still insisted I was a diabetic and needed four shots of two types of insulin daily to survive. During the following month I did no exercise and ate mostly canned soup and TV dinners since I was too weak to cook and too gross to go out, but my blood tests usually showed my glucose levels at under 200. They assumed I was taking my daily medication shots. I was not.

I’ve read various sources which claim normal blood sugar is anywhere between 80 and 200, but the hospital insisted it must rigidly be between 100 and 125 throughout the day, regardless of activity and when I had eaten. My instructions were to test my blood several times a day, shoot insulin if over 125, and take fructose tablets or drink a sugary soda if under 100. Frankly, if those are my options, I’d rather die.

I think the main reason I was slapped with the label is because diabetes is big business in America. They gave me a blood glucose monitor for the same reason most companies will (after rebates) give you a printer – they make their money selling the refill supplies. In my case they wanted me on a steady diet of test strips, syringes, and insulin. They briefly mentioned diet and actually told me I was eating too much Asian food (because those fat Japanese people have such problems with diabetes), but since they don’t sell food they quickly moved on to drugs.

So, despite the fact that I have no symptoms and I’ve never been tested while healthy, my medical record says I am extremely diabetic. Which means if I get insurance I either have to lie and risk having any future claims denied, or accept the label and pay higher premiums. I’m going with option three. When I feel healthier, I’m going to the clinic (NOT back to the hospital) to have myself tested so I’ll have some record of being healthy.

And the fun keeps on keeping on. Feckin’ medical community.

17 comments:

Avitable said...

If they amputate your foot as a result of your non-existent diabetes, can I have it in a jar?

Crys said...

you're right about diabetes being the new trendy diagnosis. they've adjusted so many ranges; cholesterol, high blood pressure, and now diabetes -- we are now all afflicted with these maladies, and must take drugs for them.

fight the power

tiff said...

Get all the way well, then test.

If you DO have diabetes, they should be chekcing more than just blood glucose. A more telling endpoint is the HbA1c, so you should be asking for that test.

Without symptoms, diabetes can hang out for eyars destroying various internal organs...once the symptomatology happens, it's a wonder things still function at all.

So, get healthy, take care of yourself a little, and then re-test sans medications. And ask for the fancy one.

Yes, I work in Pharma. Used to work in endocrinology and metabolic diseases. I know jsut enough to be dangerous.

SJ said...

Yeah those Japanese food fads... making us all eat fat overloaded paneer masala and butter chicken curry.

messiah said...

I want to say I'm amazed that they would diagnose something in the middle of another medical issue, and then permanently label it as fact without retesting in any way, but....

I can't. Frankly, after what you & Crys have gone through lately, I'm not surprised in the least.

You can have my extra blood sugar if you need it, just let me know and I'll ship immediately.

Gib said...

Diabetes sucks - my doctor snuck that in during a routine examination about six months back. The only drug they gave me was Actos - apparently mine isn't so bad I have to take insulin, but it is bad enough that I can no longer eat stuff that tastes good.

Fight the power - for all you know, the doctor went to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.

jGrrl said...

Gods, they have all kinds of "catchalls" nowadays... Anorexia, Bulimia, ADD, ADHD, Autism, now diabetes too?

All those conditions are real and serious but so many damn doctors are just tossing them out to sate the population... you start to wonder if anyone really has an issue or if its all just pop-medicine...

Bleed from orifices - screws'em up every time...

Grant said...

avi - only if you promise to chop off the toes and serve them incognito to your guests as a harmless prank.

crys - I've noticed they're very eager to sell drugs to cope with it but not so eager to suggest lifestyle changes that might cure it. I guess the fact that my dope dealer is an MD makes me classier than most.

tiff - thanks. Can you score us some morphine?

sj - those obese Japanese people will be the death of us all. Fortunately we svelte Americans are here to save the day (right after our nap).

messiah - I think they're comfortable selling us drugs we don't need if they won't do too much damage. Or in Crys's case, if they do.

gib - are you making fun of my alma mater? Actually, I went to DeVry, which is even less impressive.

jgrrl - way ahead of you on the bleeding orifice thing.

Monogram Queen said...

Oh lord that is ridiculous! You need to have your GP test you at a later date.

GreenJello said...

The docs get kickbacks from prescribing certain drugs. Therefore, it makes sense (to them) to diagnose and treat "possible" illnesses.

I hate the band-aid mentality of the medical community... take a pill, and it will be All Better. It doesn't matter what the underlying problem might be, We Are Fixing The Current Symptom. (And giving you side effects that we can give you Yet Another Pill For.)

Bah.

They can have their pills and potions. I'm not playing anymore.

Joe said...

Couldn't agree more. Diabetes is the new asthma. And it's sickening to hear that they continue to screw you over this way.

Let me know when you feel healthy enough and I'll come down and join you in taking a flamethrower to the billing office.

PBS said...

Yikes, it certainly does "encourage" a person to learn all they can about medical situations and be cautious! All those medications have side effects. I have a friend with diabetes and the cure was making her sicker than the disease. Finally she just started exercising more, eating more healthy foods and lost some weight she needed to lose. So far she's doing well just with that--dropped the meds.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

That's crazy. They need to test you when you're healthy. Certain medications can shoot your sugar levels up sky high (of course, the docs should already know that...but still).

My Dad has to shoot insulin once a day and they always told him the perfect blood sugar level is between 80 and 120.

Grant said...

mq - I don't have a gp.

greenjello - I do think it's a mistake to run our healthcare system as a for-profit business. Imagine if the police and firefighters worked the same. "I'm sorry you're being killed, but your credit card was declined."

pbs - I'm doing the same. I already ate healthy, but I'm slowly increasing my exercise as my body heals.

pq - they did know - in fact, they told me the high number was likely due to my illness since I hadn't eaten in days. But why miss a good business opportunity when they saw it?

Sweetness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prata said...

Here is what I was ordered to post because apparently she couldn't do it...or something lol.

They wanted his random blood sugar levels between that range coz between 125 and 200 is impaired glucose tolerance...IGT..and most people in that go on to get diabetes...normally its just diet modification and regular checking of levels...

Prata said...

Oh jesus, and then she starts in with.."That's not everything"...

..guess they gave him insulin coz he's recovering from a local infection if his levels are within or close, normal healing is generally faster...so maybe for that time...anyhow..you take care.

And let me reiterate what I just listened to for 30 full seconds of my life..."you have to tell him everything I said or I'll cut your flippin' balls off you bastard. He needs to take his meds.." or something like that. I wasn't listening entirely...I zoned out and started imagining Japanese women. *blinks*