5 things to do when meeting your new endocrinologist or diabetes doctor
FINALLY! My appointment with my new endocrinologist rolled around last week (thankfully a week before and not post-Thanksgiving with all the food excesses we’re surrounded with!).
I’ll admit I was a little nervous waiting for this appointment. How could I not be after the negative experience I had spending four long unfruitful years with another diabetes doctor who didn’t make enough time to listen or problem-solve in positive ways with me? The experience with my previous doc not only left me with a bad taste about seeking another endocrinologist; it also left me questioning my own thinking, expectations and diabetes management style in very negative ways. In a word, rarely getting my very long-term diabetes issues addressed by that doc badly undermined my normal positive thinking. I had begun to question myself and even wondered if I knew enough–despite living over 46 years with Type 1 diabetes–to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
So this time around, while I waited for THE big heart-thumping appointment day with my new doc (who really was my “old” doc many years ago, and whom I couldn’t see until recently because I was on an off-limits health plan for his practice), I did some homework. Some planning, if you will, to help ensure our reintroduction was successful. I wanted to give Dr. E an accurate picture of what I know, what I do to take care of myself, and what I am willing to learn and do differently in collaboration with him.
So I came up with a list of FIVE THINK-THROUGHS that helped make my appointment a success:
1- Make a list of everything related to managing my diabetes that is working well for me.
2- List some daily problems or challenges that threaten my health and thinking related to diabetes.
3- Prioritize–or number–these challenges, from the most important to the tiniest concern.
4- Keep an accurate log for at least 3 days (5 days is better!), and record in it all blood sugar levels, food (carb) intake, insulin amounts, times, medications, and daily issues that come up. Then take time, every day, to reflect on patterns I understand and problems I note so that I can thoughtfully contribute to the patient-doctor conversation.
5- Think about what is not working in my own health management, and write down what issues I’m willing to address with the help of my doctor!
Doing these five things takes honesty and a little time. But the stakes are high: prepping for meetings with our doctors gives us the promise of more quality time spent living our lives productively and more independently. My new doc understood that I’d spent time thinking about what issues were most important to adddress together, and it paid off. I have a knowledgeable, caring endocrinologist who’s clearly on my side. And just as important, he has a new patient willing to do whatever it takes to team up and be successful in terms of managing her own health. That pays off physically and emotionally. For me, it’s the golden key to living life well.
B well, b happy. Until next time, kath