Memory Monday: The First Time I Met an Endocrinologist that I Didn’t Like

One Monday per month, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how much my diabetes thoughts, feelings, and experiences have unfolded over the years. Today, I remember…

…the first time I met a diabetes doctor (endocrinologist, or endo for short) who I didn’t like. At all.

I knew right off the bat that we would be a bad fit, because he started the appointment by sharing his own blood sugar with me (as he was also a T1D). “Oh, I’m 136 right now…that’s a bit high, so I’m going to take insulin for it.” He reached for his insulin pump and I stared at him, nonplussed. Since when was 136 a “high” blood sugar? Why was he sharing this with me? If his own target blood sugar range is so narrow, then what the hell is he going to think of me when he reviews my own data?

The face I make when I think about that awful appointment and the negative thoughts it gave me about my A1c.

The appointment only went downhill from there. At this point in my life, I was a brand-new college freshman, and my diabetes was simply no concern of mine. So my blood sugars and A1c weren’t great.

And I got scolded for it.

Throughout the entire appointment, I felt judged. I held back tears at points because I felt that I had to explain myself to this guy, that I had to somehow get him to understand that the transition to college hadn’t been easy on me, and that’s why my A1c was high. But I couldn’t get the words out. Instead, I sat there, numb, as he lectured me on what I should and shouldn’t be doing to take care of my diabetes. He kept insisting that I go onto a pump, which at that time, was totally scary to me – a non-option. He was so adamant that I got frustrated and shut down towards the end of the appointment, nodding and smiling tightly at his words.

I’m certain that I cried on the way home from that appointment out of frustration over how it went. I didn’t feel motivated to take better care of myself; instead, I felt rotten. I realized that just because someone is a doctor, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily know how to convey messages about health to patients. In other words, not everyone has an appropriate bedside manner.

Fortunately, that was the first and last time I saw that doctor. He moved to a different practice weeks after I saw him. My next endo appointment was with my current doctor, and seven years later, it’s one of the healthiest doctor/patient relationships I’ve ever experienced. When I look at it that way, it was worth experiencing the worst in order to get the best.


One thought on “Memory Monday: The First Time I Met an Endocrinologist that I Didn’t Like

  1. I changed endos over a difference in where my treatment was heading not where it was at. She was pushing the pump so hard the first time I met her and it failed miserably. I for the longest time thought it was my fault. The way I used it or the way I didn’t heed the advice I was given by her or the pump rep. Second time around I kept my eyes more wide open and realized it was not my fault. My body maybe but not my will to succeed. I am just too sensitive to insulin to use a pump. The new 670G was also a failure for me since it could not keep up with my super low basal rates. It would crash my blood sugars at work and it would take 4 hours to get them down and then only with sweet intervention. Her words were “not normal”. Those were the same words I used to describe my diabetes the first day I saw her. We parted ways over her lack of knowledge outside of using pumps, they fix everything it seemed. Another incident was in the ER at the local hospital. I had a high temp for about 3 days and couldn’t shake it. So I went to the ER, jut 3 blocks away, and while I waited for almost 2 hours in the waiting room the fever broke. Now the kicker is whenever I have a cold, flu, or other infection my sugars rise. My blood sugar came back at 245 and he sat there and told me the reason I felt crappy was the high blood sugar and then scolded me for not taking better care of myself. I explained the reason it was high was the cold, flu, or infection I had been dealing with, it always went high when that happens. He looked me straight in the eyes and said that isn’t how that works. My blood went to instant boil. I knew better than that that. 20 some years as a diabetic had taught me that much. We preceded to get into an argument about how MY body reacted to such incidents. A nurse finally had enough and separated us and later brought my paperwork in for me to sign and leave. Never have I been so furious at a medical so-called professional before. I knew how I responded to things after 20 years. His what 10 years of school for being a doctor makes him a better expert? I’m sorry but living with it 24 hours a day 7 days a week leaves me in a better spot to know my limitations and responses. I hear you loud and clear on this one Molly.


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