If you had asked me to write this blog post before I started seeing my current endocrinologist, it would have probably turned into a long rant about my frustrations with various doctors I’ve seen over the years. I have been relatively lucky compared to other people in that I’ve never had a truly horrifying experience with a doctor—except for the time when one (not an endocrinologist) told me I would never find a job with a degree in English. That doctor was very wrong! I digress…
It’s interesting having diabetes since the age of four. This means I’ve had it for more than three quarters of my life. Growing up with diabetes is the name of my blog here on ASweetLife, and I think it fits perfectly because as I’ve matured, so has my diabetes. My needs have changed over the years just as I have changed. As a result, my expectations and desires for my healthcare team have evolved dramatically.
When I was little, all I wanted was to avoid the doctor’s office at all costs. I hated being pulled out of school early for them, I hated waiting, I hated sitting in the room and hear my doctor converse with my mom about things I didn’t really understand. And I hated that each visit meant I would be asked whether I would consider going to diabetes camp. The answer was a firm no for reasons I still can’t quite understand, but all I know is that I did not like the idea of it and was bothered by the fact that it felt like my healthcare team was really pushing for me to do it despite my blatant reluctance.
I compare my visits as a kid to my visits now and notice many differences. Now, as an adult, I’m on a pump and use a CGM. I go to my appointments by myself and have a conversation with my doctor in which I’m an active participant, not a passive listener. I feel engaged and reassured when I visit my endocrinologist. She knows me well and never scolds me, which I appreciate because I HAVE had doctors (on rare occasions) chide me as an adult—and it infuriates me. I expect to be able to visit a doctor in any field and have my concerns addressed with respect and knowledgeable answers and opinions. For the most part, I am fortunate enough to say that this is usually true when I visit not just my endocrinologist, but the other members of my healthcare team.
There is one thing I wish, though: I wish that my appointments didn’t feel so RUSHED. I know that all doctors have a schedule that they do their best to keep up with, and a number of factors prevent them from doing so. But sometimes, it feels like my time with them is being cut short because they might be trying to catch up. I often find myself leaving the doctor’s office and remembering a question I had meant to ask on my drive home, a question that I had forgotten because of the high speed pace of the appointment. I know that I’m welcome to reach out to my doctor via the messaging service the office uses, but for me, it’s not the best method. My doctor is only at this office once a week, so unless she happens to be in when I send a message to the office, chances are that a random nurse practitioner who doesn’t know me will respond. Maybe I would also add a better messaging system to my wish list, but I understand that for the sake of practicality this might not be entirely rational.
As I’m wrapping up this post, I realize I haven’t even touched upon the question about dealing with health insurance companies…I’ll have to save it for another day where I feel like I could use a really good rant, like the one I described above.