I'm so happy to hear Bret Michaels is out of the hospital, but troubled by some of the reports. Specifically, that there was something about the Celebrity Apprentice contestant's type 1 diabetes that kept him from getting pain relief.
I'd never heard diabetes can interfere with pain relief and, as a mom of a little boy with type 1, it made me worry. What happens if Benny – heaven forbid – ever needs that kind of help? Will he have to suffer?
"In addition to the side-effect hyponatremia, which can lead to seizures (Michaels's doctor said he has not had any), the rocker has been suffering from back pain and increased spasms – because as a diabetic, he has not been able to take certain medications. (Doctors say they'll) usually give patients steroids to lessen the pain but they can also "make glucose levels go out of control so unfortunately [Bret has] had to suffer."
I know, it's People – not the Journal of the American Medical Association – but millions of people will see it and take it at face value. I read the same thing in some other publications and in blogs, so I emailed my fabulous pediatric endocrinologists for their take.
Dr. Mark Vanderwel wrote back:
"The only thing I can think of which could even remotely limit pain relief is if he already has microvascular complications from poorly controlled T1DM, but even then I don’t know how this would limit pain relief.
If you’re talking about glucocorticoids like prednisone or hydrocortisone, the answer is yes, if absolutely needed. Glucocorticoids will cause significant insulin resistance, and people with type 1 may find that they need to double or more their insulin doses while on glucocorticoids.
But Dr. V was clear, there is no reason to assume that type 1 diabetes means pain can't ultimately be treated.
His associate, Dr. Mark Parker's response was a little more direct. I can't print his actual wording (this is a family blog) but he called the report erroneous and mistaken. Just with more, um, colorful language.
Did I mention I love my docs?