Tuesday, March 30, 2010

(Lack of) Health Update

Next week will have been one year since an infected foot wound landed me in the hospital where I was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then I have been to a bad wound care center, an over-priced do-nothing endocrinologist, had an appointment bungled by a nephrologist's office, dropped my primary care physician for not giving insulin refills, found a new doctor, and have been sent to a podiatrist, gastroenterologist, and another endocrinologist. The results are that I now have a less infected open wound (but on the other foot), the same liver and kidney problems, neuropathy, loss of vision, and my diabetes is still unchecked (in fact, it's the underlying cause for all the other issues).

Healthcare is a lot like dieting, religion, or chili recipes - everyone has an opinion, and while some people are open to other points of view, most are intractable in their beliefs and consider their stance to be the One and Only Truth that applies equally to everyone. I'm bored with religion, my diet is set by my condition, and my chili recipe IS better than yours, so that just leaves the matter of finding the right healthcare beliefs. Unlike religion which must be taken on faith, healthcare is proselytized by people with medical degrees who claim to have scientific backing for all their differing beliefs. Of course, anyone with Internet access can find documented proof that the world is flat, Elvis is at the local 7-11, and that Eskimos exist. I would feel better if the doctors would just admit that they're all just guessing and don't really know what works, but that it varies by person.

So, here is what they've preached to me over the past year, and how well it has worked:

Pills and insulin - initial prescription: some initial success, lessened over time. Note - there are a ton of different types of pills and insulin, but every doc thus far keeps prescribing the same ones.
Diet - bacon, eggs, cheese, and dairy (but not skim milk): rapid weight gain (not good for a diabetic), no further impact.
Insulin - increase: some initial success, lessened over time.
Diet - no alcohol: no impact. (WebMD believes alcohol can cause LOW blood sugar in some)
Insulin - increase: some initial success, lessened over time.
Diet - no white rice, more beans and fish: no impact (except increased farting).
Pills and insulin - increase: very minor initial success, gone in two weeks.
Insulin - new type: my regular doctor believes more of the same will not help and that I need a new type of supplemental insulin, but sent me to a specialist to get that prescription.
Insulin - increase: the specialist believes I need more of the same. No impact.

I consulted the online health bible WebMD which recommended a high fiber diet (and admitted that it would be difficult to get enough fiber without over-eating, which is super bad for diabetics) and seeing my doctor. I am exercising which gives me some limited effects, but as the diabetes prevents me from healing properly, it also keeps me from recovering fast enough to get the amount of exercise I need (it takes six days before I no longer feel the effects of a workout). I think the next step will be to appease Buddha / Satan / Odin by sacrificing a cat and swinging it around over my head by the light of a full moon. Anyone who has any spare cats lying around, please let me know.


Martini said...

You know what? Everyone is the same everywhere you go. Doctors here are identical, thinking they are the sole geniuses in their field, and seemingly discrediting any other doctor's opinion simply because it is their competition. The only one looking out for your best interest is you! And maybe Jesus... but he's like, totally busy.

Avitable said...

Why haven't you just had your feet amputated and replaced with wheels by now? That seems the only real possible solution.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

I agree that doctors really don't know what to do. So they just try a different combination of drugs until they accidentally hit on something that works. Or they kill you. Which also solves the problem.

Kira said...

You know, I'm just so totally in love with Avitable's suggestion that I can't say anything else.

Gib said...

I refuse to believe your chili recipe is better than mine:

1. Open can of chili.
2. Prepare chili according to directions on back of can.
3. Realize I don't like chili and order a pizza.

Top that.

Robin said...

I'm getting worried about diabetes for myself, I know I'm getting close to the danger zone. i can't figure out what I need to do though because I don't think I'm that bad but maybe it's that I'm eating too normal and need to eat more obsessively healthy.

Captain Dumbass said...

Take it easy swinging the cat. If it doesn't appease anybody you're going to hurt the next day.

Grant said...

Martini - that Jesus guy sounds great. I wonder if he's available in Georgia?

Avitable - I'm holding out for rocket packs, or at least tank treads.

Jay - I think my current doctors want to keep me alive so I can continue to pay them. Still, a lot of my problem has been that instead of throwing different things at me, they keep trying the same thing over and over without success.

Tracy Lynn - it's actually been almost two years, just a year since I went to a decent hospital and got semi-competent care.

Kira - he's good with the useful tips.

Gib - I would bow to the master, but your recipe doesn't involve the critical "Drink beer" step.

Robin - the easiest changes to make are to exercise more and to increase the fiber and lower the sugar in your diet. I look at the ingredients on everything I buy and avoid foods with added processed sugars. You'd be surprised where you find those things, like in canned vegetables.

Captain Dumbass - the government should provide the taxpayers with automated cat-swinging machines to prevent burdening the healthcare system with just such injuries.

Muskrat said...

That blows! Good luck with the footless thing.

Grant said...

Muskrat - I've often thought that having your own original body parts is overrated.

Ricardo said...

I don't have your condition but I was able to knock out my GERD by eliminating white rice, bread and pasta and using whole wheat versions of it instead. It's a damn miracle. I'd get heartburn so bad I couldn;t draw a full breath. No joke.

I feel these docs are jerking you around though.

Grant said...

Ricardo - I followed their suggestions for awhile and tried whole grains, but it had no affect on me. I already ate whole wheat pasta since I prefer the taste, I don't eat any form of bread, and apparently white rice isn't quite the health killer the American doctors believe it to be.