I went to the diabetes clinic last week for what I thought would be the first step in a hellish process of getting an insulin pump. I had been to this clinic once before (four years ago) at the suggestion of my then new family doctor. I remember that during that visit, I felt a little out of place. Most t of the people in the waiting room were over 60 and looked very unhealthy. I imagined they were newly diagnosed type 2’s or that they just hadn’t taken care of themselves.
The visit was composed of three parts; a consultation with a nutritionist, then a visit with a diabetes nurse, and then with the doctor. The nutritionist tried to explain to me all about carbohydrate counting which I knew about already (I had been a diabetic for 5 years). She gave me a whole pile of food tables and charts. The nurse was nice, asked me a few questions and checked my feet – they were fine. Then the doctor… I walked in, she looked at my blood test results from the last year or so, with HbA1c levels ranging between 6.8 and 7.2 and asked “so what are you doing here what do you want?”
“I’m a type 1 diabetic and this is a diabetes clinic so my doctor sent me here. I don’t ‘want’ anything” I said.
And that was the end of my visit to the diabetes clinic. I never went back and I never thought I would need to. I wasn’t angry or insulted, but I didn’t see any reason for me to go back there. The truth is that from the look of the people in the waiting room that day I can understand why the doctor may have felt I was wasting her time. (Although there may have been a better way of expressing it)
So when I learned that I had to go back to this same clinic again in order to get an insulin pump, I was a little put off and a little nervous. And that was on top of my already nervous feelings about the pump.
I went to the clinic on Tuesday expecting the worst, knowing I would have a session with a nutritionist and a nurse before seeing the doctor. The nutritionist was very nice. She explained to me that they have a ‘Pumping Team’ which would follow me through the process of getting the insulin pump. She asked me what I ate and I told her about my caveman diet. I expected her to lecture me about the need for more carbohydrates in my diet, but she didn’t. She just asked if I would eat more carbs if I could balance it more easily. (I said I probably would eat a little more.) She also gave me some papers with tables to use for logging my insulin (I’d been using LogFrog DB), blood sugar levels and meals. She asked me to log in as much info as I could for three days so it would be easier to get me started with the pump.
The next step was meeting the nurse, who was great. She explained the whole process and was extremely nice. She gave me the name and numbers of the pump distributors so I could “shop around” and decide which pump I want. She also set up an appointment for me with the doctor for this coming Monday (I will be meeting the whole team). When she told me she would set up the appointment with the same doctor I saw last time I asked (politely) to go to the other doctor on staff at the clinic.
So for the past few days I’ve been keeping very tight control, logging in everything I eat and therefore calculating more accurately the amounts of insulin I need. My numbers have been much better. I actually woke up two out of the three mornings with blood sugar in the mid 90’s (the third day was 168). For a moment I thought that maybe I should forget the pump idea and just try to be better at logging and calculating. But since I’d made up my mind I decided to stick with it. I can always go back. So now I just need to decide which pump to go with.