Check Up

Had quite an unproductive meeting with the nurse at my local surgery on Friday.

Obviously we’re only six weeks or so from the end of the financial year, doctors’ surgeries are turning their attention to all the incentives they can earn by making sure that so-and-so is checked for such-and-such. You’d like to think that these appointments are driven by people’s health needs, but actually they’re driven by money. But that’s a moan for another day…..

So, on the plus side, I am on a tablet which can have a side-effect of raising potassium levels, but the level of potassium in my blood was normal. Also, when I had my stroke, the hospital put me on a statin. I kind of get the impression that they do that to everyone. So I was pleased that my cholesterol was very low. I take several pills per day as I’d always like to be on fewer. So I will think about that, but might stop taking it.

The main subject, though, was my HBA1C, which was 70 (that number will mean something to anyone who’s diabetic; for those who aren’t, a value in the low-40s is considered healthy. I think the units here are mmol/mol if memory serves). I am already taking insulin so the nurse suggested that I go and visit the team at the hospital with a view to getting better control. I don’t mind that – after all there might well be another insulin which will work better for me, or at least they might be able to suggest some improved testing method. Plus I have the time to go up there at the moment. But of course, at the same time, the nurse’s instinct to push me on to someone more specialised meant that the meeting with her was effectively wasting my time. I lost interest at that point. I did want to talk about the possibility of trying one of the newer drugs to hopefully reduce my dependence on insulin, but clearly this woman was not the right person to talk to.

So it all turned into a humdrum meeting. At the end, the nurse said that they normally did these checks annually, but that possibly, in my case, they should be doing them every six months? My own feeling is that if the result is just to be “you need to see someone else”, then there seems little point in seeing her at all. I mean, nothing against this nurse, she was just abiding by the rules of her job, and I’d far sooner be pushed to someone else rather than be given the wrong information, but at the same time there was very little value in the meeting for me.