“Diabetics get sick a lot. It just happens.”
If I had a nickle for every time I heard that during my lifetime, I could retire at 30. If just one doctor I had as a child had realised that even diabetics aren’t supposed to be sick as often as I was, I could have been saved a lot of time and money.
Those words I heard today with Baby Imp’s pediatrician when I was discussing the events of the past week with her. I had to focus myself and try very hard to keep myself from reaching over and slapping her.
Thankfully, I succeeded.
This common theme, usually coming from someone who either has never seen my lab numbers or saw them and didn’t care, is an issue in modern medical thought. It is common for diabetics to be immunocompromised, this is true. But being immunocompromised is one thing – being immunodeficient is something ENTIRELY different. Why was I never tested before this? Why did no one think “hey, let’s run an antibody panel, can’t hurt right?” Why did no one ever sit down and think that 4-6 ear infections, 2 sinus infections and 1-2 bouts of pneumonia a year is not normal and something more has to be at play?
Because I’m a diabetic. And diabetics get sick a lot.
I think what irked me more than her comment on the diabetes was that in the process of trying to reassure me that there’s likely nothing wrong with Baby Imp (which I do believe, she has been healthy as a horse and her father has a champion immune system), she made it very clear that she didn’t believe me when I told her that I very likely had a primary immune deficiency. I brought it up when discussing her immunizations, and when I told her I had no immunity her first reaction was “to what?” Reasonable question from a general practitioner, but when I told her that I had no immunity to anything and informed her of my immunoglobulin levels, she promptly rebuffed it with “well, sometimes IgA levels rebound. You’re a diabetic, diabetics have immune difficulties, they get sick a lot. it just happens.”
Trust me, my immunologist thinks otherwise. Especially since I have a voicemail on my phone asking to call at my earliest convenience to discuss starting replacement therapy.
I must say, I am very disappointed in her treatment of this issue. I have had excellent conversations with the other doctors in the practice. They were all respectful and answered any questions or concerns I had professionally and compassionately. Maybe I’m just reading something that isn’t there because I’m very sensitive about this subject. To be honest, that is very likely the case. Nothing agitates me more than people who tell me how diabetes is when they don’t have it themselves or are not an endocrinologist. And I am finding myself getting equally agitated when people tell me how primary immune deficiencies are who don’t have them or are not an immunologist. The conversation ended with my telling her that I just wanted to get a line of communication open between me and them and that I was well aware that she can’t be tested for anything and even if she were I doubted she had anything to begin with. But I just wanted them to know what was going on.
The rest of the visit went on as normal. Baby Imp is in the 88.21th percentile for height and 56.76th percentile for weight, so she’s still tall and skinny. She’s still a picture of perfect health, thank the Lord, and she got her immunizations. Thankfully, the rotovirus they gave her wasn’t live, I was concerned about that one. Although I didn’t have any problems when she got it the last time, and I actually read a journal article somewhere that said that it’s pretty much impossible to catch rotovirus from someone who has received the vaccine anyway.
All in all, Baby Imp is growing the way she should. And that takes a lot off my mind. So that I can focus on myself. I will call the immunologist tomorrow about the voicemail. It didn’t help that they called me 5 minutes before the office called and my phone dropped the call when I called them back…