So this week I’ve decided to participate in the week long posting frenzy known as Diabetes Blog Week. Every day I will be posting on a different topic along hundreds of other diabetes blogs around the country. I’m excited to join the rest of the D-blogosphere this week in providing lots of unique perspectives on various topics. If you want to check out who else is posting each day, go to this post by Bitter~Sweet for the info!
First Topic for the Week
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?
On a whole my interaction with my care team is kept to a minimum. I generally don’t like a whole bunch of doctors, nurses, educators, etc., telling me what to do for precisely that reason. They don’t know me. All they see is my BG numbers, my A1C, and whatever other information my pump and meter spit out every couple of months. Now, before I start down a road of nitpicking on diabetes care teams let me provide a personal caveat. I am big on respect, if I don’t respect you I don’t listen to you. If you don’t respect me, I for sure don’t listen to you. Now that may seem harsh, but living with diabetes in the military system brought me to a quick realization — there are a bunch of health professionals out there who don’t know what they are talking about in regards to actual, day-to-day diabetes. I needed to determine quickly the value of this person’s experience, training, advice, and diabetes knowledge in order to decide whether listening to them was beneficial. Again, that may seem harsh or arrogant, but I’m not going to blindly follow the advice of somebody simply because they are wearing a white coat.
Okay, I’m getting off topic. All that to say, I really appreciate my care team right now. On a whole, I feel they respect me, understand what I am going through, listen to my version, close the book, give me practical advice, and generally help me take care of MY diabetes better. I didn’t have that for the first six years of my diabetes.
Every once in a while though, I get the newbie who needs to be broken in.
Example: I am horrible about changing my infusion site, absolutely dreadful. The recommendation is to change it every three days…I change it every five to six, depending on when my insulin runs out. At one of my earlier appointments a young educator came in to look over my pump print-outs with me. She was new and still mostly glued to the book version of the disease (which, while helpful, is usually not accurate for normal diabetics). So as we are looking at my pump and meter information she notices my ridiculously long infusion sites and launches into how that was bad for me, my BG numbers would skyrocket, I would build up tissue, my insulin absorption would tank, etc…All the book reasons for not leaving in an infusion site longer than three days. I waited for her to finish her monologue on why I needed to change this habit, and simply asked her, “Do my numbers reflect any of this?” She stuttered and looked at my BG read out and admitted they did not. My numbers were not creeping up toward the end of my sites, and I had yet to experience any tissue build up around my insertion areas.
I understand her need to communicate important information, but it’s also important to look at the patient as a whole and see what is relevant to their situation. Barely anybody reacts the way the book predicts and understanding that is important to helping the individual diabetic care for their individual disease.
What do you wish they could see about your daily life with diabetes?
I would want them to see how I actually handle situations, as opposed to what my numbers seem to say. Maybe how undramatic my life with diabetes really is.
What do you hope they don’t see?
How much I go off of pure feeling. Yep. How the majority of my care cannot be nailed down with numbers because I don’t rely on them. It’s not very good, and I have much better control when I check. Oh, and how much I don’t follow the rules.