I can be a bit of a stubborn bastard at the best of times, which comes from a lifetime of having every adult around me dying to tell me how to eat, how to sleep, what medications to take and when to take them. As a child, I would often be resentful of having to wake up on the weekends to take insulin injections, to the point where my mother started getting into the habit of simply yanking down my pyjama bottom and injecting me in the buttock as she felt it simply wasn’t worth the fight. I’ve obviously gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but kids don’t usually understand the NECESSITY of the medication they may be on, and I was no exception.
In 2009, I faced a new aspect to my Diabetes therapy. I had just moved to Saskatchewan and got myself a new doctor. After a couple of appointments to “get to know each other,” he introduced something that I had promised I would never allow: pills. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against pills. They’re necessary, required and important. So long as they’re used for their intended purpose, that is. But I grew up watching my brother ingest dozen different pills, first thing in the morning and again around dinner time. And we all know how THAT ended as he passed away in 1991.
When it was suggested, I firmly told the doctor that I had no need or use for pills and that I had no intention starting on them. He then asked me if I took a multi-vitamin. Yes, I did. He was quick to point out that multi-vitamins were pills and I was voluntarily taking those, so why would I object to the ones he was proposing? Mostly, it was because I didn’t know what the pills he was suggesting did, so there was a fear of the unknown. This is where he actually took the time to explain the medications in detail and what they would be for, which if you’re even mildly familiar with doctors in recent years, they aren’t big fans of taking extra time when you visit.
Once they were explained, I learned that I would be taking a medication call “rosuvastain,” more commonly known as Crestor. This one helps prevent raising cholesterol. Not a problem I’ve ever know to have, but okay. The other one is Ramipril, which is commonly-used to treat high blood pressure and renal failure in folks with Diabetes. The explanation made sense until he the doctor pointed out that these were “preventative” measures… What the fuck?! So, I’m basically starting to take pills I don’t need? That’s like getting open-heart surgery IN CASE you eventually have heart disease…
I know, I was a little over-dramatic and it’s not really comparable, but what would think about starting to take medications you don’t need? Although renal issues are a recognized side effect of Diabetes, it seemed odd to me to take medication for it when, by all accounts, my kidneys were clear. Alright, he’s the doctor and I’m the patient, so I trusted him and accepted the prescription. I’ve been taking those two medications as part of my Diabetes therapy, ever since.
Flash forward to over ten years later. I’m still on both medications AND as of last year’s endocrinologist’s appointment, both medications have been increase to satisfy the demand of my body’s condition. In fact, during my last appointment with my endocrinologist, which was las February, tests showed that my kidneys showed some mild level of struggle, meaning that the medication was providing some active support. It kind of makes me wonder where I’d be at and how far gone I would be if I hadn’t accepted these “preventative” therapies.
I guess my point here today, is that it can be extremely important to take ownership of one’s health and be clear and understanding about what’s being put into one’s body. By the same token, preventative medicine can be an effective way of putting off some of the difficulties that one may face when dealing with Type-1 Diabetes. Although it can be difficult to take it on faith when it comes to taking pills, well-trained doctors will often be able to identify the need for such prevention early on, where the patient may miss it or be unaware. Food for thought…