There was relief from the dreary feelings of yesterday’s blog post after I went in for nerve testing Tuesday afternoon. They found a small increase in the carpal tunnel on my left hand, no sign of it in my right hand, and only a tiny bit of ulnar nerve irritation on the right side. Big sigh of relief on that one. It’s not a perfect report – the fact that I have any ulnar nerve issues and any carpal tunnel at all is never a good thing, but it’s all considered to still be in the “mild” range of things at this juncture, meaning surgery on anything is not a likely option right now. Next week, I follow up with the hand doc about what to do from here.
I’m going to make a side note here. Do you guys know what nerve tests consist of, specifically to check for carpal tunnel or ulnar nerve issues? You might have been shielded from this information because it’s just a hair away from being medieval torture – the only difference being that a doctor, not some thug in chainmail, administers the tests. They electrocute you and stab you with big needles in your hand muscles. I’m dead serious. It’s 2011 and we’re running electric currents through people while poking them with sharp objects to see how strong their hands are. It’s the opposite of awesome. Anyways…I digress. Ahem.
It seems that with every health care provider I visit, outside of my endo and CDE, that there’s a pattern to our conversation: we discuss why I’m there, I describe symptoms, they ask questions, and then I say “I have Type 1 diabetes.” Then they cock their head, their pen pauses above the chart, and they ask “how that’s going?”
Diabetes is a showstopper when it comes to your medical history. Given it’s history and prevalence in our society, I shouldn’t be surprised of how often it’s the cause or the complicator of other conditions, but because I like to think of myself as “someone who just happens to have diabetes,” I think it’s still surprising to me when it gives people pause. It was no different during my test on Tuesday. We went through my symptoms, discussed what tests would be done, and then I reminded the doctor that I had diabetes. Same reaction as always. It’s a look of “oh, well that changes EVERYTHING, and are you like so many people in this country and completely out of control and I’m going to have to dismiss everything else you just told me because until we have the reins on that thing we’re not getting anything done in here….” You know, that look.
It feels like it’s a judging look, but it’s actually warranted. Diabetes does change everything. We have a large number of people in the US with raging diabetes that is completely out of control. It puts us at risk for certain things that people with functioning pancreases don’t have to worry about. But it also makes us know ourselves incredibly well. It helps us take better care of ourselves than most people ever will. Some of us live healthier than a lot of folks who have full-time pancreases. So when doctors ask me that question I just like to leave it at “Yes, I have diabetes. I’ve had it almost 19 years. And it’s under good control.”
I ain’t perfect, never claimed to be. But I’m damn sure trying.