So the quest continued…
Before the store closed, I had developed a medical condition. A symptom of a condition, at least. For those of you who know me in daily life, this is not something I’m willing to discuss. If you bring it up, I will dismiss it quickly; you are forwarned. I don’t want sympathy, pity or advice. It is what it is, and I will deal with this. It is NOT for discussion.
My ankles are swelling and my feet are tingling. Its not life-threatening, but it has made it difficult (if not impossible) for me to seek employment in any venue that I have experience, which is one of the major reasons I’m still not actively seeking employment. This has to be handled first.
So, when my husband began asking me about when I was going to begin looking for a job, I had to confess to him the problem. And I had to start looking for answers. It wasn’t easy to admit. I have a tendency to ostrich problems…bury my head in the sand and hope they’ll somehow mysteriously resolve themselves. I’m glad he was worried, glad he pressured me into finding a doctor. I needed that.
The first doctor I tried then, was the doctor that he’s been seeing. Granted, he’s not too pleased with his doctor, either…but there was familiarity and availability, and he worked through the hospital close to us so I thought I’d give it a try.
I made an appointment to have him see me about my feet, and was pleasantly surprised that they were able to get me in quickly. I was disappointed. He was friendly enough and had a pleasant “bed side manner,” in that he was kind and seemed considerate and concerned about my well being. But the appointment consisted of questions that he asked me, and after each answer he consulted his laptop. This made me feel like he didn’t know anything but was relying on his computer for the answers. He poked my legs, and concluded that they were swollen. At no point did I even take my shoes off! Then he took my blood pressure and because it was moderately high, with a shrug concluded that it was probably varicose veins. He gave me an order for blood work and a prescription and sent me on my way.
When I got to the pharmacy, I discovered he’d prescribed a medication I was allergic to. Yes, I’d informed them of medication allergies when I was speaking to the nurse. They had been out of the blazingly orange warning stickers, so I just assumed that perhaps he hadn’t noticed it. The pharmacy called him, the office changed the medication. To another prescription I was allergic to. After another phone call, the pharmacist said all the medications in that category were basically related so he’d have to change the prescription to a completely different type of medication. Another phone call, and I finally had something I was moderately comfortable taking.
After the blood work was done, I had my follow up exam. The blood work (which I had not seen the results of at that time) indicated that I had high blood sugar and cholesterol. I looked at him and said, “so, diet and exercise, right?” Knowing, as I did, how bad my diet had really been and how non-existent my exercise had been. He said, abruptly, no…and proceeded to write out four new prescriptions, declaring me a diabetic. There was one for the blood pressure, one for the cholesterol, one for the blood sugar and one to “squeeze my pancreas into making more insulin.” When I asked him again about my feet, which was my reason for seeing him to begin with, he shrugged again and said “probably a neuropathy.” No other explanation or recommendation.
I did go to the pharmacy and I did fill all four prescriptions. One of which, again, I was allergic to. The pharmacist took a few minutes to explain to me however, that although I was allergic to sulfa medications, 99% of the people who have that allergy are only allergic to the antibiotic relatives of sulfa, not the other sulfanomides. So he tweaked the computer to allow me to fill the prescription and I added a package of Benadryl to the purchase, just iin case.
Armed with the new prescriptions and devastated at being called a diabetic, I went home and essentially cried. I began taking the medication like a good girl. All except the one that I might be allergic to. Honestly, I was too scared. There was no guarantee that I would not have a reaction, and my reactions to sulfa medications are severe. That, and the idea of “squeezing my pancreas” seemed more than mildly frightening to me. After all, in the back of my mind, I knew that I’d never really given my pancreas a fighting chance. My mouth, not my pancreas, was my main problem.
When I finally started to calm down, I took a look at the blood work. The blood sugar was only border-line high, and the cholesterol would be considered well within normal ranges if I hadn’t been declared diabetic. Huh. Not to mention that my diet had not been under control the week prior. In fact, we hadn’t been grocery shopping yet and I was so panic-stricken about the blood presure that I’d been only eating the few low-salt items we had in the house…bread, white rice, white pasta…simple carbohydrates that digest into almost pure sugar.
It was at this point I knew that I needed a different doctor. One who would be willing to let me work my body, to make it do what it’s supposed to do with a minimum of medications. I knew I could do it if I was given the chance. And I wanted someone who knew what they were doing and would take my concerns about my feet seriously.
Taking what I knew about my favorite doctor into consideration, I began earnestly looking for a replacement. Someone who fell into these categories:
A doctor older than me, but not even close to retiring.
Someone who was foreign-born, and might have the “Old World” sensibilities still.
Someone with privileges at the hospital closest to me
Preferably a female doctor. I just relate better to them.
Using the internet, I found a list of doctors that worked with our insurance. I narrowed it down by name…female, foreign. Then I looked each up individually. Finally, I had a list of only three possible doctors.
With a deep breath and a lot of anticipation (as well as anxiety) I made a call to the first doctor on my list, and my first choice. A doctor with a Polish surname…Old World enough that her last name ended with “-ska” instead of “-ski.” In looking at her credentials, I knew she’d gotten her first degree in Poland, and the others at University Hospitals locally.
I was extremely surprised and pleased when my phone call was answered immediately and I was given an appointment within a week of the phone call, and that only because I didn’t want to get up too early in the morning. Maybe, just maybe, I was on to something here.