Several years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because I am insulin resistant. Over the next two years, I saw a total of 8 different doctors. My first doctor pulled up the wrong chart for someone else when I pointed that out to him, he became furious and commented he did not make mistakes. I was on three different insulin and five other medications. I developed a rash over 90% of my body. When I talked to the doctor that I felt one drug was causing this, his comment was, “suck it up and live with it.” When I tried to report my experience to the FDA, they informed me that I could only submit my report if I were dead. I began using various herbs with exercise. The last doctor I saw refused to look at any of the data from that even though I had reduced my blood sugars to a normal range.
Doctors are trained in medical school to assess from their clinical training by asking their patients questions. I am going to guess by saying, you most likely would have forgiven the doctor, had they apologized for their error.
I commend you for being your best diabetes advocate. The medical system can be discouraging for some, especially when you are making a valiant effort to understand your medications and their possible side effects. Fortunately, there are healthcare professionals with excellent bedside manners. Finding the best one for you is crucial to your health. No one wants to fight with their doctor. An adversarial relationship never works out in the long run.
In our COVID-19 climate, we are witnessing the armies of selfless healthcare professionals. They are our heroes, placing themselves and their families at risk for their community’s health. Sometimes it is difficult to know why people snap.
A long time ago, I took my Type 2 mother to her HMO Endocrinologist. I left angry, stunned at how dismissive and arrogant her Physician was. My mother had difficulty seeing at night or in rooms that were not well lit. Driving home after 5 pm became a concern. I asked her Physician if she could write a letter to my mother’s Human Resource department so they can accommodate her new visual impairment. Not only did her Physician refused to write her a letter, she said: “maybe she should not work.”
It was difficult for my mother to stay optimistic about working with her Physicians after that one experience. Later, she mentioned that the side effects of her blood pressure medication made her ill. I encouraged her to speak to her cardiologist about changing medications. Unfortunately, her experience with her endocrinologist affected her ability to believe that a different physician would treat her with respect. Consequently, she never made that call causing her to have a stroke. She stopped taking her medication as the side effects were unbearable. Once this happened, I started to see the healthcare world through her eyes. It made me sad. It also made me realize how important it was to have an advocate when dealing with an overburdened healthcare facility, pressured to get as many people in and out throughout the day. My diabetes advocacy gained roots that year. Fortunately, not all physicians are alike. Towards the end of her life, my mother received the best possible care.
I am impressed with your determination to advocate for yourself. It’s not always easy. Your story is inspiring—a reminder to never give up on yourself. We gain strength from each other when we share our experiences.
Nadia’s feedback on your question is not intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.
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AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google) was named “Best Diabetes Blog” for 2019 by Healthline. With 24 nominations for her work, Nadia’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community. She produces and hosts a diabetes podcasts in addition to her Diabetes Health TV show.
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