The Diabetes alley.

I think I was still in school when my father was diagnosed as having Type II Diabetes Mellitus.The circumstances in which the diagnoses was made itself was terrible.My dad had series of infections which didn’t get cured.Then he had fever which lasted almost a month.The stubborn man that he is, we never got to take him to a doctor. He despises them and probably thinks that doctors and hospitals are the worst thing that happened to mankind.Until one day my mum got the colony watchmen to force him into a taxi to take him to a hospital.

During that time, he had unremitting fungal ear infection.The ENT specialist recommended a blood sugar check up.My father asked his company doctor to write up the blood sugar test which got neglected on the pretext that the infection was gone, hence sugar levels must have been just fine. I now understand that his despise for doctors was well justified.

That year my father pulled up his act.We saw a dramatic change in his life style and I think he did a great job with himself.After the death of his mother who succumbed to illness due to long standing diabetes, I felt my father let go. His attitude towards his life long companion deteriorated. So did his health.

I graduated to become a doctor.All the time I was studying he refused to hear my point of view or even consider my plea for better blood sugar control.Excuses ranged from me still being a student,later lack of experience.My frustration stemmed from the fact that strangers would benefit from the knowledge I had gained due to the efforts my parents made to educate me.But not my dad.

That frustration has continued over the years.His diabetes has gone from bad to worse.Fears due to the known and pain due to the unknown have only escalated. I have tried every technique in the book to try and convince him to be a better patient of diabetes.I have been nice, pleaded, yelled, thrown food, thrown tantrums.I had no luck. What I didn’t want to do was instil fear in him.I don’t think that is the best motivating factor.

When I decided to take my exams from India and stay with my parents, one of my main reasons was to get to know my parents again. When you have stayed away from your parents for a long time, there is a huge distance that needs to be bridged even in simple communication. I wanted to figure out how I could get through to my dad and his resistance to see logic when it related to his health.Make him realise that I wasn’t the enemy and that I really wanted what was the best for my dad.

His main fear was getting prescribed the insulin.He is scared of it and he believes the doctors out there only prescribe insulin due to monetary benefits to themselves.Did I tell you he hates doctors.Some times I don’t know why he has supported me through all my education and my continued struggle.Some times I wonder whether I really make him proud.Some times I want to pretend he is not really my problem.

When he asked me to let things be and for me to concentrate over my education and my life and let him live his life the way he wanted to, I knew that was exactly what I couldn’t do. I cannot ignore the fact that each day he goes with uncontrolled sugar in his body he is killing himself faster.He is making his heart work harder to pump more blood.He is clogging his arteries and destroying his kidneys.He is nearing blindness and a potential stroke any minute.Tingling sensation in his leg and loss of appetite made things only worse.I knew that I could never live with myself if some thing happened to him because of something that was very treatable.

A part of me didn’t want to know the truth and I was ok with my dad not getting regular check ups. I wondered if I let my dad be just the way he was I wouldn’t know how bad things had gone with him.May be ignorance would be bliss. Or would it really be? I have battled this question for a while.So I spoke to him.Of my fears, my pain, my insecurity,my constant worry and sleepless nights.

I guess that must have worked.He has finally got all his tests done.He is on a proper diet.He is losing weight.My mum has decided to take matters in her own hands.His sugar is better controlled the past few months and he is doing a lot better. He got prescribed his Insulin today and he has bought his first insulin pen.Knowing his concerns around insulin I know what a big day this is in his life.I have been very emotional all of today.It is just that I haven’t been able to decipher what it is that I feel exactly.

If you have lasted this post until now, thanks for reading. This means a lot to me.More importantly, if some one in your family isn’t keeping too well and their best way of dealing with it is avoiding it, painful as it may seem please help them deal with it.Avoiding issues only make them bigger.You really don’t want to find yourself or you loved one in a big dark alley.

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16 Comments

Filed under Communication, Decisions, Disappointments, Emotions, Expectations, Experiences, Facts, Fears, Health, Issues, Life, Loss, Pain, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Sad, Society, Thoughts, Wishes

16 responses to “The Diabetes alley.

  1. Yeah, very true. Avoiding issues only make them bigger. Your Father is one lucky person to have you as the daughter. Good that he finally listened to you and got the check up and medication.

    It is fairly common in many homes to avoid the periodic medical checkups. I wish everyone takes these issues seriously.

    Nicely written.

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  2. It was almost like I was reading about my dad. He doesn’t listen and every day there’s a fear looming ‘coz we know that he hasn’t taken his medicine. Mostly been nice, been a little angry too but stay away from that ‘coz the problem itself is high blood pressure – but doesn’t work.
    I wish I could do something to bring about a change too.

    Glad to know about your dad though. I’m sure he’ll do well. 🙂

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  3. Of course, I read your post from beginning to end. I know how it feels to be the specialist and yet not being able to encourage your loved one to seek medical help. But I’m glad that you finally found a way for him to finally subject himself to trreatment and proper diet and all. That should have made you feel very happy.

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  4. GreenSatya:
    I am one lucky girl to have a father like that. I am glad too he sees the light and is positive about doing the right thing.At least then we eliminate regret of not having taken our precautions.

    Richa:
    I have been struggling with my dad for a very long time.I realised that the problem wasn’t about me and my fears it was really about him. I left my dad to do his own thing but I would encourage him to talk about it freely.After all the tantrums and threat that was a difficult stage to reach.Patience and prayers help. Good luck with your dad.If there is anything I can do, please do let me know.

    Abaniko:
    Thanks, but I can understand if long posts can be a deterrent to read until the end. I am no specialist, but yes it hard when you have been exposed to the worst.It adds to your fears and paranoia.You are right, I am happy my father sounded positive about the new life style that he would need to adopt.

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  5. Can’t tell you how glad I am that he finally decided to get checked up and treated. I have had similar questions and frustrations, being a doctor and coming from a family of physicians. I did a post a while back on the exact same things that you talk about here that you might want to check out.
    http://treadsoftlyupon.blogspot.com/2006/02/is-ignorance-bliss.html

    The very best to your dad and a long healthy life.

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  6. Hmm. Thanks. 🙂

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  7. i’m sure ur dad is proud of u and ur career choices, regardless of what his personal feelings are…and i’m glad u talked to him..sometimes all that it takes to stir things into action are a few words to let the other person know…

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  8. I hate doc’s and hospitals etc .. avoid them at all costs but when it comes to my parents .. i’m the first to lecture them about their precious health. It’s increasingly worrying as i now become the parent and hem the kids .. their falling health always frightens me 😦

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  9. I’m so glad that I finally found you! Somehow I messed up your new blog address. I’ve got it correct now!

    At the moment I am being tested for diabetes. I may not have the results until next week, but it runs in my family so I have no illusions. My father had his leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.

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  10. M(Tread softly upon ):
    You have addressed some of my own concerns in your post.I am so happy about my dad too.Thank you for your wishes.

    Richa:
    You are welcome.

    LMM:
    I hope he is proud of me too. I don’t know what triggered his actions.I glad they did.

    Sangeeta:
    I am saying this again, though we do care about our parent’s health and well being, it is our own fears that we are battling.Make it about them and it would help in having effective communication.That helped me.

    Nick:
    Hey so nice to see you here.I though you weren’t looking for me.

    It is a good idea to get checked for diabetes after 40 anyway.So good thing you have decided to be informed. Well good luck with the results.

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  11. I think there is no bigger motivating factor for parents other than their kids worrying so much about them. Sometimes I wonder if its sheer willpower that gets them through the pain and suffering they go through.

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  12. Grey Shades:
    It is always will power that gets people through their suffering and pain.I very strongly believe in the power of the mind.

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  13. It is good news that your father has chosen to re-mould his lifestyle a little… 🙂

    Reading your post reminds me of my own grandmother, who has diabetes (and, I am almost too ashamed to say, I don’t know whether it is type one or type two..).. and who tends to (ah… how do I put this nicely? :D) get a little carried away with her high-in-sugar foods… sigh – she had THREE ice-creams in one sitting at a function! (Admittedly, that was the first time since a long time – but eating three ice-creams in one sitting, one after the other… sigh!)

    Reading your post also makes me think about the skills you develop as a doctor… skills of being able to talk effectively to different people who have different ways of living life… somehow or the other, you got through to your father… I am sure there have been some cases where you found your communication skills were developing due to being in contact with such a varied range of the members of public.

    … which quite neatly summarises my feelings about “ignorance is a bliss”… I guess, over the years of practise, you learn to feel what might be best for the person concerned… and we can only do what we feel is best. I have seen some doctors push and push their patients when they know their patients can do it, and at other times letting go when they know that is the best thing for their patient. Well, those are my thoughts anyway…!

    Of course, there is the other factor to consider that you are father and daughter, and this may have nothing to do with the fact that you are a doctor… 🙂 Well, whatever it is, I guess the important thing is that your father is now taking his insulin, and you don’t have a “What if?” cloud hanging over your head.

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  14. Sunrise:
    Thank you for your comment. Not only have you read my entire post but also thought over it. There is so much we can discuss here, but I want to say this.You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself.You know your grandmother’s condition is called diabetes and not ‘sugar’.

    When it came to my dad, I was just a paranoid daughter who wanted the best for her dad. 🙂

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  15. Hmm, this post touches me closely. I am up (down?) the same alley and my kids don’t let me EVER cheat on my diet! (Painful, but ya, its worth it)

    Thanks and take care!

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  16. Shankari:
    You have good kids. 🙂

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