One Day

In Diet and Weight, Food and Health on June 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm
a hospital room on doctorfoodtruth

a hospital room

What a difference a day makes. Mrs. X was in the hospital a while back, admitted for her out-of-control diabetes. Her health had been declining for years with multiple complications caused by her weight and the diabetes it brought. I knew she was pretty miserable most of the time but this hospital stay was particularly bad.

Her feet burned from the nerve damage sugar can cause, her breath was constantly short because of the pressure on her heart and lungs, and this one morning even her mood and thinking seemed to be going bad.

We talked about how much trouble she was having at home just taking care of the basics.  She admitted that she had let even those go in the days just before she was put in the hospital because she just felt too bad. I gently suggested that it might be time for her to be in a nursing home.

There the things that were getting too hard to do could be done for her. Even disoriented as she was I knew it hurt her to agree with me, but she did, saying she knew she had to.

I finished my exam, saw my other patients and then finished my charting while hoping to make it to the office in time for my first appointment. Just as I finished her chart, I saw the note her night nurse had written.

“Doctor, could Mrs. X see the diabetic educator? She said she would like that.”

Now I’ve known Mrs. X long enough to have sent her for education myself at least twice and had her tell me no another time or two.  Every office visit for diabetes would sound the same.

“How have your home sugars been?”
“Pretty good, but sometimes I cheat a little and they get to 200.”
“Really? Hmm”

My ‘hmm’ was frustration because I know that sugars like she reported don’t match with the lab results I was getting. I had gotten her new a sugar tester, sent her for more education, even taken the slightly scary step of adjusting her insulin dose based on my numbers rather than hers.

Nothing would help for long. My goal had become helping her stay out of the hospital as much as possible rather than anything to do with her diabetes.

So when I walked in the next morning I was pretty surprised to find her sitting up straight, hair styled, eyes wide open and smiling. Did I have the wrong room?

“Well, you look better this morning,” I said, not sure what was in store for me.

“I know!  I learned what I was doing wrong!  The diabetes educator had to pretty much yell at me to get through, but I realized that you can only help me if I tell you the truth.  So, I’m going to!”  She beamed.

And that was that.  That one little bit of understanding, that she and I were on the same team, that I’m not a cop or her boss, was all it took.  To this day she has an outlook on life I’ve never seen from her.  She counts calories and carbs, measures her sugars and helps me understand when they change with honest info about her diet.

Now she is steadily losing weight and feeling better.  Best of all, now she how much her attitude and approach affect her health.

Change Your Mind, Change Your Health!


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