The doctor-patient relationship is one that is very important to me. Not only do I like to have a doctor that I can trust, but one that is â€“ even through all the years of his or her practice â€“ still human. Not some big textbook-spewing robot who has medical degree after medical degree, but one who has tremendous love for what they do and the people they see on a daily basis.
My endocrinologist is one of these people. He has a passion for what he does, and it shows with every visit. Rarely do you find a doctor that is open-minded to new technologies, yet still keeps in mind the oldie-but-goodie tricks of the trade that work when the new stuff isnâ€™t quite up to par. I know that when I go to see him, heâ€™s going to look at my numbers and help me pin-point the problems, and make suggestions (and he even stresses the word â€œsuggestionsâ€ when heâ€™s writing stuff down!) as to what needs to be changed. He is also very open to hearing my opinion as to what I think needs to be done as well. Heâ€™s not a preacher-type that is all â€œHere, this is whatâ€™s going on and this is what you must do to fix it and you have to do what I say because I have the degree and you donâ€™tâ€. He works with me.
While I was pregnant, they hired on a new endocrinologist in his office. One comment he made to me was that since he had followed me through the journey to get pregnant, he was going to stick with me throughout my pregnancy and be sure that my chart wasnâ€™t transferred over to her, in hopes to avoid confusion. If anything were to happen, I have his cell phone number for emergency cases. He went above and beyond what I would expect any endocrinologist to do to help me have a perfect-as-diabetically-possible pregnancy. His dedication to my care throughout my pregnancy was outstanding. My fear now is that because I am no longer pregnant (thank the LORD!), heâ€™ll allow my chart to be transferred.
Granted, I know Iâ€™m not giving the â€œnew girlâ€ a chance, but with me, the relationship and trust I have in my doctors has a direct impact on my care. When I was a teen and going to a pediatric endo, I didnâ€™t see him, but rather his nurse practitioner. I LOVED her. She was more than just my medical caretaker, she was a honest-to-goodness friend to me. We talked about everything outside of diabetes in our appointments and usually only spent about five minutes discussing what to change in my treatment. Sheâ€™s the one who talked me into going to diabetes camp when I was 15â€¦ the first time I had ever been away from my parents alone. If it werenâ€™t for her being at the camp, I wouldnâ€™t have gone. While under her care, I got my diabetes under control because she showed an honest care for me and my diabetes. She didnâ€™t fuss or belittle me. It was because of her positive actions and care that I, in turn, cared and wanted to do my best for her, because she made me believe that I could do it. After she left, I was heartbroken. Literally… I cried for days… Begged her not to leave. (She was moving to Florida, so it wasnâ€™t like I could just follow her across town to the â€œnewâ€ doctorâ€™s office.) I felt as if I had no one else to â€œkeep up the good workâ€ for.
The nurse practitioner that replaced her was a joke. She was very rude and easily agitated and rarely gave encouragement. It was then that I went back to the way I was before and didnâ€™t care about taking care of myself. I honestly didnâ€™t see the point. It didnâ€™t seem to matter if I were a dedicated diabetic and did everything right or if I didnâ€™t care a lick â€“ my numbers were bad, with no pattern, and she didnâ€™t care to encourage me that it was going to be ok, that weâ€™d figure it out â€“ I wasnâ€™t an easy-to-fix case. I guess because I, just as I am now, was an analyzer of the data being sent back to me from my meter, and if I didnâ€™t agree with the adjustments or couldnâ€™t get a clear answer as to their reason for their adjustments, I didnâ€™t want to make their â€œrecommendedâ€ change. The old practitioner understood this, and she worked with me. She would take the time to explain until she saw â€œthe light bulb go off in my headâ€ â€“ because Iâ€™m not one to just trust them because they say so. After all, Iâ€™m the allowing this medicine that keeps me alive â€“ but could kill me if dosed wrong â€“ to go into my system each and every day, and she understood where I was coming from if I didnâ€™t â€œfeelâ€ right about the new changes. The new one? She didnâ€™t care what I thought, she knew more than I did, and I was just being a non-compliant, hard-to-get-along-with patient.
My fear is that Iâ€™ll be dealt the hand I was dealt back then again. It took me almost 7 years to find a doctor that would, in my mind, come remotely close to being like my first nurse practitioner. My endo is such a wonderful doctor, and his manner of care has been just as good, if not better, than hers. I feel â€œat homeâ€ and safe with him. I donâ€™t feel like just some stupid, non-compliant patient if my numbers arenâ€™t great. He encourages me. Not just because heâ€™s my doctor and is paid to do it, but because you can tell heâ€™s the type that wants to. He genuinely cares about his patients.
Heâ€™s my team-leader. My coach. My friend.
I donâ€™t want to give him up just yet.