In an effort to take a more all-inclusive approach to my health this year, I finally got a primary care doctor back in February for the first time since I was diagnosed with diabetes. In 1992.
Yes, yes, I know this is a little ridiculous but it’s not like I haven’t been seeing any HCPs. I just happen to only see specialists. Since I’ve always gone with the PPO option for insurance (I don’t like any restrictions between me and my endo), I’ve had access to a slew of specialists. I see my endo every three months, religiously. I never miss my annual eye exam or pelvic exam, or my twice-yearly dental appointment. My endo runs a battery of blood tests throughout the year to keep an eye on everything from thyroid function to microalbumins.
But then this year I was trying to gather some health information about me and my family so that I could make some decisions about some genetic tests, and when my mom handed me a crumpled folder with three different immunization cards in it – all from the dark ages – I realized that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to get all that crap organized with one single person who wasn’t primarily treating me for diabetes. Although my endo and his staff do a great job of taking care of the whole person, their jobs are to look at me through the diabetes lens. A primary care doctor has the ability to look at my diabetes as just one piece of my health history, and then put the whole person into context.
Which is how I found myself with very sore arms on Friday. I went in to basically update the missing parts of my immunization records: I never had a Hep A vaccination and I haven’t had a t-dap in too long (tetanus and diphtheria). As we combed through my records to make sure we hadn’t missed anything the doctor finally said:
“Ok, I think it’s just those two. Oh no wait, you need a flu shot.”
Which is how I ended up not being able to lift my arms higher than my head for the majority of the weekend and took not one but two naps on Saturday (which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t also gotten out of bed at 9am that day after sleeping 10 hours).
Although it sucked the energy out of me for a day, I’m glad she suggested it, because I’d been dragging my feet on getting a flu shot this year. I know that everyone with diabetes is supposed to get one, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. It’s certainly not because I’m afraid of the injections (HA! Get it?!), but more so because I kept hemming and hawing about whether I really need one.
But then someone reminded that for people with diabetes, it’s not really about being more susceptible to the flu, it’s really about the fact that it’s such a total pain in the ass when we do have the flu that it’s worth getting. Fevers, sore throats, vomiting, dehydration, elevated BGs as your body fights of the infection are all horrible things to have to manage if you have diabetes and the flu. So although I might not love feeling wiped out on Saturday, eight hours of that sure beats several days of being down for the count.
And trying to find sugar-free cold medicine. Because all those flavors taste extra-bad.