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Ten Minutes 

April 6, 2017

I get it. I see you for 10 minutes every year. Or, I’ve seen you for 10 minutes every year since I moved to Boston. You’re always very nice and ask about my job, my activities and my A1C (which I don’t get because you have access to it). You’ve always been at the top of my list for personality as far as doctors go. 


And then it happened. Normally your speech goes like this: How long have you had diabetes? That’s amazing; your eyes are still perfect. This is how it went this year: How long have you had diabetes? I can see some retinopathy. 

The tears instantly started falling, but you had already turned your back to write this diagnosis in my file and order images of my eyes. You had me go there and the elderly medical professional made me completely and utterly uncomfortable, forcing my head into this machine, no matter how many times I told her that just by pushing harder, didn’t mean I could see the light. When I saw you again, you told me that the retinopathy was minimal, and that you’d see me again in one year. Why is the timeline for perfect eyes and starting retinopathy the same? It doesn’t make any sense. And to lower my A1C. Don’t you realize that I’m trying desperately to do that, but just because I’m working on it doesn’t mean everything else in life is making that an “easy” task. I was sniffling and probably used your entire box of tissues, but you never asked how I was feeling, just if I had any questions. I don’t even know what questions to ask!! 


You work in a diabetes eye clinic where retinopathy is probably an everyday occurrence. But I’m a person with diabetes who has never had a complication of any kind before. I’ve been taught to freak out about my eyes, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m scared out of my mind. 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2017 1:56 PM

    Oh, Briley — I’m so sorry that you had to go through this when hearing something that’s just so scary. It amazes me how insensitive and tone-deaf some doctors are, not realizing how freaking unnerving just one single word can be — because we’ve dreaded it our entire life. Totally agree, that it’s a bit strange the timeline visits are the same (can’t say I’ve ever fully pondered that, but not I’m curious). While clearly Your Diabetes May Vary and no one can predict or compare, I’ll just say that I first heard that word a decade ago, it was described as minor as it can be and really not too much has changed in the years since, and my most recent eye visit in March had the same tone — very mild, just BGs and so on. I am thankful for that. Here’s to sending you all the best, wishes and hugs to make up for their insensitivity and everything else.

  2. April 6, 2017 3:20 PM

    Briley, I’m sorry to hear about this, and sorry that your experience through all this was horrible. Obviously, you are not any less of a person today than you were before the diagnosis. Hope all your HCP experiences are better in the future. I will always be in your corner, no matter what.

  3. April 28, 2017 7:51 AM

    As a T2, I get the same drill about my A1C. And then I’m told how lucky I am not to have retinopathy yet, like I’m trying to develop it. Ophthalmologists and Optometrists just don’t get it.

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