One unexpected bonus of pregnancy has been the chance for the husband to really start to understand what I’m whinging about when it comes to hospital appointments. Normally I go alone to diabetes appointments, unless they’re for something exciting like a pump start, in which case he comes along because two heads are better than one. Now I have combined antenatal and diabetes appointments, he comes along every time.
Geoff is used to me coming back from diabetes appointments with some factual statements on how my control is going, along with my opinion on whether I’m happy or not. That’s usually followed by some kind of rant about the ridiculous things that are often said at these appointments by people who supposedly know about diabetes. He humours me well, he nods in the right places and lets me get it off my chest. But I’ve never been convinced that he’s actually believed that it’s as irritating as I make out.
Now he has the pleasure of witnessing the cause of my frustrations first hand. I fear he may need drugs soon, it’s all come as a bit of a shock to him as someone who’s never really had to bother with the medical profession too much before.
The stress started with our initial appointments at the diabetes and pregnancy clinic. I was 6 weeks pregnant and we were all wide eyed and gobsmacked that we’d managed to make a baby. The Dr said: “Congratulations on your news! Now, having diabetes does mean that you’re more likely to have an enormous baby with heart/kidney/other unpleasant issues, the pregnancy could damage your eyes and kidneys and by the way there’s an increased chance it’ll be stillborn.” It perhaps wasn’t quite that insensitive, but you get my drift.
I actually stopped the conversation halfway through to explain that my understanding was that all these risks did indeed exist, but that they could be mostly mitigated by maintaining excellent blood glucose control. Clever Dr, please tell me, have I misunderstood, given the conversation we’re having seems to position most of the risks as unmanageable acts of random bad luck? No, he was just going straight in at Terror Threat Level: Armageddon rather than taking a duller yet more measured approach. If only he’d read ShootUp’s views on this, he’d have known already that this really wasn’t a helpful approach. I was just grateful the husband and I had already talked about all of this, it wouldn’t have been the nicest way to hear it for the first time. We walked out of that appointment sharing an unspoken look of “WTF?”.
That started things off nicely, but the stress peaked just after we’d finished telling the third Dr the same load of information that we’d told the previous two, which they’d all then written down in incomprehensible scrawl on slightly different forms. As we awaited the arrival of the fourth clinician, to no doubt go through the same exercise once again, he looked at me in complete disbelief that anything could be quite so inefficient or ineffective. Oh welcome to my world husband dear.
The fun really started when the Dr asked me why I was an 8 rather than the recommended 7.8 after a meal, in a tone similar to the one I’d use to ask you why you’d just run over my dog. I felt Geoff physically flinch next to me and could feel the vibes coming from him “Be nice, don’t savage the poor woman, she doesn’t know quite what a stupid question she’s asked”. These appointments have turned him into a very nervous man.
The husband comes out of every appointment with a different set of questions, which I’ve long since given up asking. It’s giving me fresh eyes. Like “why do they dutifully write down all your basal rates but don’t ask about your carb ratios – surely that only gives them half the picture?”. I’m impressed by his knowledge, he’s quite right, I’d just stopped asking this years ago.
And “how did you not shout at that Dr when in response to your question he told you the physiological causes of insulin requirement changes in pregnancy are too complex to explain to a lay person?”. I admit, I was close to telling him that I learned to understand big words when I did my law degree so perhaps we could give it a try. But then I decided he was evidently too stupid to answer the question, I’d be better off searching for the answer myself on t’interweb from someone who is bright enough to explain it to me.
And “why do they act surprised when clinic always runs late, yet whenever we’ve had the first appointment, they’ve started that 10 minutes late so surely it’s only going to get worse?” It’s a bit like dealing with a bright 5 year old – these are all excellent questions, but are impossible to answer.
There’s something very comforting in seeing the husband puzzle his way through all of this. It makes me feel less alone in my frustrations which have built up over the years. And now when I come home ranting, I know he’ll believe me.