The other day I got to thinking about how I needed to see my general practitioner. It has been about nine months since I last saw her, and she wanted to see me three months ago. I conveniently forgot to put it on my phone.
There is nothing convenient about it. Why do you ask? Well, I have been thinking about how I needed to reschedule on and off for the past few months. I went to get a refill for my medications, and I had no more refills left. The physician’s office was not responding quickly. Thoughts of hearing about it from the doctor also haunt me. I will be scheduling an appointment after writing this blog.
How did this all start and what to do about it?
Scheduling and keeping doctors appointments can be overwhelming at first and at any point during a person’s life. It’s a full-time job, but don’t worry. I have offered some tips to help navigate the issues that come up when living with diabetes.
For a person with diabetes to remain healthy, at a minimum, they need to see a:
• Primary Care Physician (PCP)
• Endocrinologists (Diabetes Specialists)
• Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE)
• Registered Dietitian
• Psychotherapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
• Ophthalmologist or Optometrist (Eye Doctor)
• Podiatrist (Foot Doctor)
All of these professionals have the capability to help you avoid immediate, and future suffering.
The list seems long, but when you break it down, it is not as bad as it looks. All totaled, it averages out to be around 11 appointments a year. Right after your diagnosis of diabetes, the number of doctors visits will be substantially more, but will lessen as you get the hang of self-management.
How To Deal!
Don’t sweat missing a doctor’s appointment! Get back on the wagon and reschedule ASAP.
My general practitioner got overlooked because I keep all my other appointments, and she wanted to see me an extra visit not during the months I see my doctors. It’s okay because I am only human and remind myself when I feel guilty for not doing it perfectly. (Perfection is a mirage!)
Develop a plan that works for you. I schedule all my appointments in September and October. That way I knock it out of the way. For some people planning one a month works out better.
It’s okay if your endocrinologist is not happy about the numbers. The numbers are there to guide you. Try not to internalize them as bad; that you are bad, if they are not perfect. Open a dialog to your doctor about what you can do to lower your HbA1c.
Your doctor is there to analyze your numbers and suggest a course of action but may not have time to review all the issues you are having. If you are struggling to manage, maybe you need to seek additional help to deal with the feelings of frustration. To help you come up with a plan that works for you, you may want to speak with a certified diabetes educator or talk therapist. Ask your endocrinologist if they can make a referral or have any suggestions.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.