It is an all too frequent occurrence to hear diabetics or their families say “but the doctor told me…” Guess what. The behaviors evoked from those words kill.
When do we usually hear these words? We hear this phrase when the patient has been diagnosed with a major complication that is debilitating, life threatening or potentially life ending. Guess what. After many warnings from me about infrequent blood sugar testing, ridiculously high blood sugar targets and not injecting insulin with meals and snacks, etc. Bumper has a “sore” that is likely to result in lopping off his foot.
For those who do not know my story of Bumper, he is my mate’s grandfather. Over the last 13 years, he has become more of a grandfather to me than my own. Diabetes runs in this family primarily due to obesity – including Bumper’s. No one thinks twice about serving him or themselves large chunks of cake, pie, or cookies without insulin, exercise or another blood sugar lowering/insulin sensitizing treatment to offset the carbohydrates.
In fact, the moronic doctors and nurses most recently decided that one shot a day, as opposed to long acting plus rapid acting insulin (which he’d been injecting by himself for years) were sufficient since, you see, the “new insulin” Levemir lasts 24 hours! I tried to explain I take Levemir three times a day because it does not last 24 hours. I also tried to explain you still need insulin for food. That got me – but we used Splenda (in the apple pie). Obviously, I got nowhere except thrown out of the house because the doctor said so! That is, the doctor said this negligent treatment plan was “all good.”
The other all too typical response I get is “he’s old.” Translation – he’s old; feed him whatever he wants; it doesn’t matter he’d have dementia away, he doesn’t need his foot; diabetics lose feet; no big deal, etc. etc. Well, after 32 years of diabetes, I still have my feet, why shouldn’t he have his? Idiots. All of these assertions are entirely infuriating. Just because you are a 93-year-old diabetic doesn’t mean “end of life” has to be like this. And why do they refuse to listen to someone who has more experience with successfully being a diabetic than this knucklehead doctors have in their left pinkies?
We know that high blood sugar causes dementia. We know high blood sugar causes sores that result in amputation. We know that high blood sugar causes heart disease. The mere act of having diabetes does NOT cause these complications. Many of us know and accept the real definition of high blood sugar is not 200 or even 150, it is anything higher than 85. In other words, it is not what most doctors say and they are causing the complications.
So, as I continue to watch the unnecessary "end of life" demise of this man I know and care so much about and the likelihood of the amputation of his foot due to negligence I am angry. I am frustrated. I feel helpless. So what can I do? I can continue to write. I continue to try to use my voice so that this god-awful, accepted treatment of diabetics (regardless of age) might some day stop.
Oh … and before I forget, ode to my friend Kelly whose foot was saved by an incredible wound-care physician and a hypobaric oxygen chamber – what Bumper is not good enough to leave the confines of an inept country bumpkin hospital to find similar to treatment to Kelly’s? The phrase “hypobaric” chamber has not come up (except from me); they immediately went to “amputate”!!! Ask yourself, is that the quality of care you want? If it is not, speak up for other diabetics regardless of their age or any other excuses. No one deserves this. And for those who say, it is none of your business, remember, it easily could be you and you’d want someone to make it THEIR business if you couldn’t.