Being a “bad patient”, taking care of business & seeing the light

I have a confession to make. I have canceled my eye specialist appointment this year. Seven times……yep. Bad patient. πŸ™‚

I don’t know what it is, well maybe I do actually. To start with, he went and moved all the way across town, so to go there, sit in the waiting room for an hour, get drops, sit in the waiting room for half an hour, get checked, pay the bills and drive home again, takes a good 3 hours out of my day, or more. Next, I hate the feeling of those drops. You know what I mean? When you can not see anything close up and if you go shopping while you wait it out to drive home, people look at you like you are wildly drug affected due to your pupils the size of dinner plates. Next, I have been trotted out to this eye doctor, the same one, for 28 years people! Yes, 28 years…that is a long time.

Finally, I think that I get on with life and diabetes just Β is. It just sits there, it often annoys me, sometimes drives me crazy, sometimes makes me so mad I could scream, and occasionally, fades so far back into the background of my life, I forget it is there. I like those times. But going to “ologist” appointments – Endocrinologist, Ophthalmologist, Gastroenterologist, Neurologist, Rheumatologist, even the Gynecologist – stop me in the busy flow of my life to slap me in the face and remind me – UM EXCUSE ME, YOU HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!!!….

The eye thing has been an ongoing problem for me this year. For the first time ever I even missed an appointment and did not ring to let them know. Yes I know, really bad patient. As a health care professional I know how much it sucks to be waiting for someone to turn up and they don’t but I think given the hundreds of people in the waiting room there, he probably doesn’t even know I did not turn up. Don’t you? Or maybe I just told myself that.

So, yesterday was the 8th appointment time for the year. And I got up and dithered. All the reasons not to go kept chattering away, all the guilt kept nagging me, all of the other things I would far rather be doing kept tempting me. And then I thought – I do NOT want to go blind. I do NOT want to wake up one day and go “if only I had that check up they would have picked it up early and managed it”.

I stopped and realised I need to do this. Yes it sucks, it is not enjoyable, it is a pain, but this thing that is hard and difficult and annoying and inconvenient – this is my health, my wellbeing, my eyesight.

This is my life.

I do NOT want to be unable to see my children and my grandchildren.

Do you find that sometimes? Have you ever skipped appointments? One thing I know, I would rather keep track of my health and be proactive than end up with all the terrible complications they waved in my face as a kid. No way am I letting that happen.

So, I went. It sucked. It’s over.Β Until next time.

The funny thing, that 28 year part? That was cool. We reminisced about how long we have known each other. We talked about our mutual diabetes genes and weight loss. He has just run the City to Bay so we talked about running. We discussed our kids. He got excited about my work in diabetes growing larger, he got really excited about the fact that now, with all the technology and developments in eyes, he can pretty much fix every person who walks in his door with diabetic eye disease, as long as they come early.

He took me in to have pictures taken with his special machine so I could see how cool it was (he did say, oh and to check your macular but mostly to show you how cool it is!) and so I could share with you. He wanted me to tell all of you, that going to have check ups on your eyes? It means he can fix us. And that is very very sweet.

I even came home with the pictures of my macular. Β πŸ™‚ Seeing him again in 12 months. Hopefully I won’t miss the appointment next year – perhaps I have seen the light.



  1. Mel on October 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

    That really resonates Helen. I blogged today about things to be thankful for and after insulin, the fact that diabetic eye problems can be fixed so you don’t have to fear going blind anymore is my favourite. My eye dr is the only dr who’s ever actually fixed a health problem so there’s no reason to avoid the eye dr!

    • Helen-Edwards on October 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

      that is so wonderful to be in Synch, what is the blog Mel – at twice diabetes? And agreed – so lucky we can now prevent and fix this issue! πŸ™‚

      • Mel on October 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

        Yes, blog is at, Helen. I’m always a bit disappointed that in most other parts of the d world the message about eye drs isn’t more positive, a lot of fear around losing sight causes anxiety that isn’t necessary.

        • Helen-Edwards on October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

          great post πŸ™‚ and how in synch were we today!! Agreed, we need to give more out on this one

  2. helwild on October 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks Helen! and Eye health is for everyone, with or without diabetes. My 99 year old Mother in law has just had cataracts repaired in both eyes, such advances in Eye care even the extremely elderly can benefit.