I’m really curious: Does your endo, GP, diabetes nurse, whomever you interact with for your health care congratulate you when you’re doing well? Appreciate your efforts by telling you so or in some other fashion? Croon over your successes, like on your test results? It is very rare for me to come across someone (and I’ve interviewed 130 people with diabetes) who really likes their practitioner. Most of us feel our health care providers really don’t “get” what living with diabetes is like and spend our office visit addressing our illness but not us.
With a chronic illness like diabetes we all know support, encouragement and recognition of how tough this is is as necessary as doling out medicine. But most medical folk don’t seem to get this message going through medical school.
Outstandingly, three years ago my GP called me on the phone to give me my A1c result and remarked on my 5.9% value, “Riva, I don’t know how you did this or what you’re doing, but it’s great, great! Keep it up!” When I got off the phone I was flying. Not just because I liked my A1c result, but because that man in the white coat (whom I’ve been trained to please) on the other end of the phone was astonished by something I did superlatively, congratulated my effort, and admitted he didn’t know what incredible wisdom I had, but he was in awe. This recognition further fueled my gumption to keep up the good work.
Comparatively, the endo I’ve been seeing for the last three years, spends most of our visit glued to his computer screen as he’s entering test results and whatever I say. But his interaction is with his computer, not me. Frankly, I feel invisible. The last time I was in his office he pulled up someone else’s chart who shares the same last name and didn’t realize it until I told him a test result he was quoting from his screen for me was wrong. Then during our last encounter when I got a false positive on my potassium test, he aggressively instructed me to retake it and this could be dire. I did. His office did not call with my new test result. I had to call them four times over four days before he returned my call to give me the result. All was normal. Why didn’t they give me the result? Because office policy is if you’re doing fine, no one calls. Well, according to my first test result I wasn’t doing fine, so you’d think they’d think I’d like to know now that I’m not on a collision course. And, policy dictates patients don’t hear good new, only bad news? Sorry, doc. Not for me.
That was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I went shopping for a new endo and have my first appointment scheduled this month. In truth, I’m not all giddy after all the stories I’ve heard of discontent from other patients, but I know that somewhere out there, even in this fallow landscape of new york city, there must be a handful of good endos.
So, what’s your experience been? Like your doc, not like your doc? Hear good news or only bad? riva
By the way, since you’ve managed to find your way here I should tell you down the left hand side I have an rss feed to the blog on my web site. There I post thought-provoking, personal essays, about two a week. I’m going to attempt to post something here weekly, an in-the-moment, twitch, itch or authentic b_ _ _ _ (you get the idea)