Recently, I was asked to write a brief opinion piece about an experience I had as a patient. As I began writing, I realized that I have so many stories because living with a chronic illness means constantly going to the doctor.
Since I could only pick one story for the magazine, I decided to post a few stories on social media. For eight hours, I posted a new story each hour. You can find them below along with some bonus ones.
1. When rather than admit to medical malpractice, my physician blamed the 3rd degree burn I had after childbirth on diabetes.
2. When I think about the release form my physician made me sign because she didn’t think I needed to go to the ER and that I was acting against her advice and doing my own thing.
I told her I felt like I was dying and didn’t think she was helping me.
When I got to the ER they confirmed that I was actually going into a diabetic coma.
3. When I don’t get a bill after having two surgeries abroad but I am still paying for the one urgent care visit I had in Florida.
4. When the pharmacist gave me free samples of strips for my glucose monitoring device.
(For those who don’t know. 50 strips can cost $89)
5. When the physician treated me like an idiot, but then wanted dissertation advice after she found out that I am a doctor and been one longer than her.
6. When in 2013, I got the Fulbright and couldn’t maintain my health insurance or get new insurance because diabetes is a “Pre-existing Condition” but discovered that in the UAE everyone has health insurance and my doctor visits were only $13.
7. When I went to a new doctor to find out the status of my fibroid but he instead started pushing contraceptives on me talking about “Diabetics are at high risk for having deformed babies.”
8. When I walked into the doctor office to make an appointment and the secretary blurted “We are no longer accepting Medicaid patients.”
My response, “What’s Medicaid?”
After she bit her tongue realizing she made a judgement about me based on umm…I don’t know, “Oh, what insurance do you have?”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield”
1. When I walked out of a diabetes center in the UAE after getting an eye exam, complete blood work, my A1C, insulin, a new glucose monitoring device, strips, lancets, and a visit with an Endocrinologist all at the same location within 2 hours and it only cost $13. As I reflected on all the times I had to put my diabetes care on credit cards because I couldn’t afford it.
2. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes (in North Carolina) and asked if I had Type 1 or Type 2 and the Endo replied, “Well, we don’t know. We have to send your blood to California and wait for the results to come back.”
3. When the dentist told me that I needed to be fitted for dentures because I would lose my teeth within a year.
(By the way: 16 years later I haven’t lost one tooth yet)
4. Every time my Endo tells me my A1C has dropped or remained within range.
5. How I feel when I run into another person with diabetes who tells with me that they have had similar experiences. The struggle is real!