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I really dislike change or is change a good thing? I don’t like to change banks, I don’t like to change automobiles, I don’t like to change grocery stores and I don’t like to change doctors. But after much thought and stalling and not feeling any better health wise than from the first day of the onset of this diabetic situation; plus telling the doctor the medication was giving me problems and getting no welcome ideas for change, I got up the nerve and called an organization that services both Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. For the past couple of years, as “The Farmer” and I have aged and as we travel back and forth to our retreat in Platteville, I have worried that if we had “home based” medical care only in the Rockford area, what would we do if we needed our familiar medical providers and were in Wisconsin. The health care system I’ve been eyeing also has outlying offices around Platteville and our home base in Illinois. Because I think a doctor should listen to his patient, work as a team, as my old retired doctor and I had done for 30 years, and because “The Farmer” saw how unhappy I was with the care I was being given, I “changed.” I made the mistake in the choice of my last health care person by not choosing a nurse practitioner. Therefore, when I called to make a first appointment at what would be my new health provider, I was asked if I wanted the doctor or the nurse practitioner. I stopped for a minute to think and take a deep breath. Unlike the generation before us and especially in the ethnic communities of our parents, where there had always been talk of the old lady and her herb potions that healed, we grew up with full fledged, degree educated in the world of medicine, doctors, most of whom were men. Until now, nurse practitioners have been new to us. Having had really bad luck with the generic doctors since my doctor of 30 years retired, I decided to go with a nurse practitioner to be followed up by an endocrinologist. I thought with the two I could get the results I was looking for. Interesting as it may be, I’ve learned that nurse practitioners came to be in the 1960s because physicians, nationwide, were in short supply. NPs are qualified to provide primary and some acute care and more. My NP has a master of science nursing degree and a bachelor of science in nursing and is most understanding — something I welcome. Also, the first thing she did was change my medication, an issue I had been going around and around with the just released doctor. So there you have it, I did it, I took the bull by the horns and stood up for my rights and beliefs. Yesterday, “The Farmer” and I had a three-hour session with two new diabetic teaching providers, and last night I could go to bed much relieved with the new care I was being given. This was our third meeting with them, and the thing that really made me cheer was the fact that none of our eating habits have to be changed. The amount of carbohydrates, “fresh” vegetables, “fresh” fruits and the good proteins we consume and have consumed over our married life are all in range. Also, even though I have dieted all my adult life and kept my weight close to normal, I haven’t been fat or obese, so that hasn’t played a part in all of this. We were told that the diabetes I have, Type 2, came from someone in my family and there was no way to avoid it, but if we hadn’t lived a healthy food consuming life, I probably would have had it earlier. We have learning instructions for the next three weeks with follow up appointments. I have a whole lot of work to do to bring this miserable condition under control, but with the team I have behind me, which also includes my biggest cheerleader — “The Farmer” — and my kids, life will get better, especially if spring comes and I can hear the hum of the farm tractors. Daughter Gretchen is learning everything she can about this illness hoping that she isn’t next in line for it. Daughter Alicia attends the meeting when she can. I plan to inform my children and especially my grandchildren that diabetes is hereditary and to keep a check on it. I think, but I don’t know, that my father might have had it and I’m trying to get health records in order to learn and inform the next generation. I hope this column gives you the courage, that if you are not happy with the way things are going, that sometimes change is good. Also I need to thank all of you for your suggestions and support, I’m turning all of them over to family members because, so to speak, my plate is full, of carbohydrates, protein, fruit and everything else that is a healthful food and oh yes, water, plus the dreaded treadmill for more exercise. Ciao!
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