Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Layers of Chronic Illness: Part Two


Hello everyone! The Unleashed One is back, continuing my coverage on the layers of chronic illness. In Part One, I revealed how I officially received my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis as well as how my condition was handled by the medical community in the early going.

The reason why I haven't divulged which clinic, along with which doctors treated me haphazardly, is because if someone else is receiving adequate treatment, I do not want to rock that boat. What I will say is that it is one of the top recommended places for those who (1) don't have the greatest insurance and (2) don't make a whole lot of income.

Okay, on with the show.

In 2012, I was selected to be a long-term temp employee for one of the State agencies. During that time, the State was under a hiring freeze, so many of its employees were coming from different temp organizations. Although I still sought full-time employment, I concluded that since this was a long-term assignment, it could serve as a cushion in the meantime. Plus, as grateful as I was for unemployment, I was ready to get off of assistance. 

In 2016, I was presented with the contract to be a full-time employee. This represented better pay, along with a slew of benefits, especially medical. Glad to be off of the temp agency bandwagon, I happily accepted.

Now that I finally had an upgrade in insurance, the first order of business was to no longer go to the clinic I was attending. I believed that by switching clinics, I would receive better doctors, along with a better level of care.

What I didn't anticipate was going back to square one - having to rehash my medical history with a new doctor and having that doctor keep me on some of the same medication as the previous doctor. However, with this doctor just taking over, I wanted to give a bit of leeway. Perhaps this doctor had to see what I had already concluded, that the treatment I was on wasn't working.

Along the way, I did experience a tiny level of weight loss, so perhaps that was why the doctor was "keeping hope alive" if you will.

But ... my body does this thing where it will P & P. I like to call it "pause and plateau". It was as if it said, "Hold on. Wait a minute. What are you doing to me?" followed by, "You know what? Until I am cool with it, let's just slow this down."

And ... just like that, the weight loss stopped. The progress with my A1C ceased as well.

When I called to schedule an appointment with the doctor, I was told that some of his patients were getting transferred to a new doctor that had just joined the practice. Since the person was a woman, I hoped that she would be more proactive in invoking alternate measures I could try.

One act the new doctor tried was a new medication on top of the one I was already on. I was prescribed glipizide. It did bring my numbers down, to the point I was now experiencing more low blood sugars than normal. When I brought this to her attention, she took me off that medication but increased my old medication. I expressed that I did not think it would work but she told me to "give it a chance". 

My body was like, "Oh, same ol' shit. No need for me to make changes."

So it didn't. 

Before I get into discussing the turning point in early 2018, let me give a small recap of what was occurring in the background.

I did the balancing act of two jobs for a while until the state of my health became worse. I decided to let go of my 2nd job in 2013.

As far as my love life, I got engaged in 2011, married in 2013. We got separated in September 2015 and the divorce was finalized in March 2017. If anyone wants further details, it's in my other blog posts.

During the time I was sick with the Super Flu in 2018, there were other complications in the mix. The 1st one was that I wasn't eating. The 2nd was that my bowels weren't moving. The 3rd was that I was constantly experiencing abdominal pain.

The lack of eating the doctor related to my having the Super Flu. But there were discrepancies in how issues two and three were addressed that led to disaster.

I went to the hospital three times over the course of two months because of the pain in my abdomen and lower legs. The pain was prohibiting my movement; that's how bad it was. 

On my 1st visit to the ER doctor, they just treated the pain with medication and sent me on my way.

The 2nd time I attended, I mentioned to the ER doctor that it had been a while since my bowels had moved, but it was not enough for someone to run additional tests to see if there was a connection. However, it was noted that I was dehydrated so I was given fluid and more pain meds and sent home.

When I went to see my primary care doctor because I was still in pain and having trouble with my mobility, I was sent away. That led me with no choice but to make a 3rd trip to the ER. That doctor decided to run a CAT scan, which revealed that my bowels were backed up. The doctor asked me how long it had been since I took a poo, and at that point, it had been close to a week and a half. Once I was given the concoction to cleanse my bowels, the abdominal pain and discomfort in movement went away.

I reached my breaking point with this clinic and my doctor in February 2018 because:

(1) No one wanted to take responsibility for what went wrong. My primary care doctor wanted to blame the ER doctor(s). The ER doctor(s) claimed the PCP was negligent. In my opinion, there was negligence on both parts. If the ER doctor during my 2nd visit would have given credence to my telling her about my digestive situation, then perhaps the proper testing would have been run at that point. If the primary care doctor would have been listening to me instead of pumping me full of pain medications, then the constipation would not have gotten worse.

(2) Despite knowing that I was recovering from the Super Flu, the primary care doctor did blood work on me anyway. Of course, my A1C was going to be out of wack because I can't take the metformin when I'm not eating; otherwise, I get nauseated. Instead of taking that into account, she accused me of not taking my health seriously and not doing enough. Needless to say, I lost my composure. Her lack of understanding outraged me.

Although she apologized, I was done. I never returned there again, but it would take some time before I put my health in another doctor's hands.

I think this is a good place to pause.

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