Six months ago my long-time and most trusted endocrinologist suddenly stopped practicing. The prospect of having to replace her was unsettling – after years of working together, she knew my disposition, motivation and relevant goals and shortcomings. All that knowledge translated into effective care. Transitioning to a new endocrinologist meant starting over from scratch.
Last month I met my new team and was struck by how different their model is from that of my previous team. I’ll still have an appointment every three months, but at those visits I’ll alternate between seeing the endocrinologist (every six months) and either the Nurse Practitioner or the Certified Diabetes Expert/Nutritionist.
While I appreciate the emphasis on specialized care, I wonder how easy it will be to build relationships within this structure. I believe patient/medical team relationships are closely related to both the quality of care I receive and my own motivation. So I have some concerns. With these in mind:
I Hope My New Health Care Team Will Understand:
Diabetes is demanding. Managing blood sugars is a never-ending exercise in planning, calculating, adjusting, and refining. And the resulting numbers don’t necessarily reflect that effort, which can be enormously frustrating. Diabetes is also pretty solitary.
Because of that, I hope the new team won’t say things like:
Your blood sugars look awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing!”
A comment like that, from my medical team, will make me feel like diabetes is mine alone to understand and manage. I suppose for a few hours a year, I’d like it to feel less that way.
I hope instead they'll say:
“Your blood sugars look awesome. You’re doing a great job and we know it’s not easy. Stick with it – because all the that work is paying off. Here are some ideas that may make things easier and help you get even better results.”
What I Hope My New Health Care Team Doesn’t See (just yet)
- I replace my blood glucose meter about every 5 years (not the recommended 1-2 years).
- I change the lancet maybe once a year (not with every test, as recommended).
- I do not store ketone strips properly (nor do I replace them when they expire, as they did in 2010).
- And while on the subject of expirations, my glucagon pen expired in 2007.
It’s not that I wouldn’t disclose this information; it just feels a little early in our relationship.
This post was written for Diabetes Blog Week
The Prompt (suggested by Melissa Lee at Sweetly Voiced):
Often our health care team sees us for just 15 mins several times a year. What do you wish they knew about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? What do you hope they wouldn't?