It’s Always There

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It, of course, is my Type 1 diabetes. And for this week’s blog entry, and in fact for the rest of my life, the there that I refer to will be my life. Yeah, I’d like to hedge and qualify and say that maybe not, maybe there will be a cure someday. Yeah, I’d like to say that.

But this week I’m not writing about the inconveniences of my condition or a wish list for the future. Instead, I’m jotting down a few of the upcoming ways in which what I do is either because of my Type 1 or because Type 1 is something I have to take into consideration first and foremost.

1. Those of you who’ve read the blog in the past may recall that I work for the University of Michigan (U-M). Although I enjoy working here for reasons beyond the health benefits I receive, it’s quite a comforting thing to have great coverage during these uncertain times.

This morning, I’m headed across campus to have a Wellness Screening. U-M has an “MHealthy” program that promotes, uhh, well, the health of its faculty and staff. The wellness screening that I’ll participate in today is a height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, total and HDL cholesterol, and glucose screen. It’s part of the Wellness Assessment that U-M is offering, on a strictly volunteer basis, and pays any staff or faculty member $100 to participate. All I have to do is go to the screening, answer a lifestyle questionnaire (that takes about 10 minutes), and then I’ll get a personal health report. And the $100 in an upcoming paycheck. Sweet, huh?

I’d probably do this if I didn’t have Type 1 (because the money’s a great incentive). But I’m curious to see what my wellness assessment will report back to me. I’m curious to see how it meshes with my own health assessments, which I unscientifically conduct quite often when trying to figure out the numbers from an endocrinologist’s visit or something as simple as a rising trend in blood glucose numbers. Also, I wonder how closely it will jibe with the assessments I receive from my health-care team.

2. Next week, I’ll spend a morning at the Kellogg Eye Center here on campus. I’m visiting my ophthalmologist. The appointment was originally scheduled for this coming April, but after the holidays I noticed, while driving at night, quite a bit of streaking when I looked at lights. It’s frustrating to not have crystal clear night vision, and I initially thought the trailing light may be eye fatigue from several dozen hours of driving over the Christmas and New Year’s break.

But the streaking continues. My first thought, pessimist that I can be, was retinopathy. However, I doubt that I’m at risk for that condition — not for many years, and hopefully not ever. No, instead I’m sure it’s that I’m getting older (I turn 35 in a few weeks) and that I haven’t needed to have my prescription changed in four years.

3. At some point over the next few weeks, my wife and I will be meeting with our Family Centered Experience medical students for the third and final get-together this school year. The last two visits that Emily and Mike made to, first, our home, and then, for the second visit, the Corner Brewery, were quite enjoyable. Delicious pizza or tasty café sandwiches, possibly a beer, and definitely great conversation is what is had at such meetings.

Kathryn and I really like spending the few hours each time with these second-year U-M medical students and discussing — in addition to what it’s like living with a chronic illness — local and national politics, med-school life, our pets and families, and good food.

I am not sure what the topic of conversation will be for the third visit. I mean, I’m not sure what the medical students are supposed to discuss with Kathryn and me regarding my diabetes. Rest assured that if it’s anything I can squeeze a blog entry out of, I’ll gladly do so and report back to you at some point in March.

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