Appt #6 – Endo

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but I love my endo. He’s not allowed to retire, ever. He’s probably mid-60’s, short, average build, glasses, has hair like George Costanza and a slight New York accent. He kinda reminds me of a Doozer off Fraggle Rock…..or a potato, I can’t decide. Anyway, he’s dry, sarcastic, but also knows how to listen and relate. For years I thought he was just your run-of-the-mill endo. Until I saw his office. One wall was completely covered with the new Obamacare regulations. Graphs, pie charts, bullet points. Another wall humbly decorated with photos from when he served as a flight surgeon in the Vietnam War. When I saw a photo of him standing next to a fighter jet with his name painted on the side, I knew then he was a legitimate bad-ass. Not only is he a retired Air Force Colonel, he frequently (sometimes monthly) speaks in front of Congress regarding health care reform. He’s been published in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New England Journal of Medicine, among others. He knows his stuff.

Anyway, back to the appointment. Greets me with a handshake and a smile, asks me how life’s been. We chit-chat for a spell, then its time for business. He grabs my messy log sheets, pulls out his trusty highlighter and gets to work. There’s a system to conversing with my Dr. You can’t talk to him while he’s doing anything else or you’ll promptly be told “one thing at a time please, one thing at a time.” So there is a lot of silence.  I wait while he paints up my sugars.

“These really aren’t bad at all. You’re doing a good job. Not as many lows as before. But I’m sure the OB is hounding you?”

He knows the game.

I tell him my OB didn’t like my last sugars, they were too low and that he couldn’t understand why my sugars couldn’t be more consistent from day to day.

The endo laughs, “Oh he’s an OB, God bless him, but they don’t know about diabetes like we do. You know there are probably 50 different things that can affect your blood sugar that you have no control over. Your numbers are going to be different day to day. You could eat the same things every day and have different sugars. You’re a diabetic. They expect perfection and its just not possible. You’re doing great, don’t be hard on yourself.”

This may not seem like any big deal, but to a diabetic hearing those words from a doctor is HUGE. Being given the grace and permission to make mistakes. To know that its normal to have unexplained highs and lows at times. And that it isn’t always our “fault.” Yes human error is involved for sure. Sometimes I may forget to take my insulin on time, or maybe I don’t count my carbs correctly, or even forget to bolus! But as a type 1 diabetic I try my best, I know what’s at steak and I know other type 1’s that do the same. I actually try to avoid seeing Diabetes Educators, I’ve had a couple that actually understand and, go figure, they were diabetics too. But overall my experience hasn’t been the most encouraging.  They think you’re supposed to fit into some formula, that we are all the same. Makes me feel like I’m on trial or sitting in the Principal’s office. I’m not opposed to advice or getting helpful tips but it needs to come in the form of a dialogue and I need to be treated as an individual with a life. Anyway, off my soapbox. My endo is awesome and I hope other type 1’s have found someone just as good that encourages them!

He hands me back my sugar logs, gives me an order for blood-work (A1c, thyroid panel, CMP) and wants to see me in one month. Simple as that. 🙂