Type 1 Diabetes

Did he really just say that?

When you have type 1 diabetes you see an Endocrinologist TEAM every three months.  You will only see an actual Endo every 6 months.   As a parent we depend on this team to guide us along the way, they are the “Specialists” in our child’s disease.   We rely on them to be  knowledgeable,  give us ideas, advice, and mostly be kind to our children who live with a horrible disease.

A typical trip to the Endo starts off getting a current weight, height, and blood sugar test, that test is used  for the A1C, which tells us what Joey’s  3 month blood sugar average is.  From there we see a nurse, nurse practitioner, an intern, sometimes a Dr. and lastly a dietitian.

As we sit in the exam room, anxiously awaiting the results of the A1C, our hearts are beating fast.   This is our child’s health report card, so to speak.  If we have a good A1C, we’re doing a great job, if it sucks, then we feel like we suck at managing type 1.  They bring the result in on a little piece of paper, and sit it in front of you.  Kind of funny.

We are very fortunate to have Children’s Hospital of WI right here in our back yard.  Some of our friends have to travel for  hours to see a Children’s Endocrinologist.  With Children’s being  a teaching hospital, we rarely see the same intern twice, and for that I am thankful.  Not that I don’t like  interns personally, it’s just that some don’t fully understand type 1 yet.

On our last visit, we encountered an intern that really made me angry. Our appt was going well, our A1C was down a bit from the previous appt,  Joey’s growth progress was good, we were happy. Then in walks a very young-looking male intern.  He starts off with the exam, asking about what sports Joey participates in, does he like school, etc.

What happened next made my hair stand on end.  He looked at Joey and said:  “Dude, by the next time we see you in 3 months, you should lose between 10 & 15 lbs.”  In retrospect I think I was in shock for a couple of  minutes.  I can’t remember much that was said after that…when I came back to, I was mad.  Joey’s face was perplexed.

I kept my cool long enough to ask Joey to leave the room so I could talk to the Dr. I don’t even think the door was fully closed before I  ripped that Dr. a new stethoscope!   I told him that if he has a problem with my child’s weight, he should talk to me about it, not to my 10 yr old.  I explained to him that kids are very sensitive about their weight, at any age, any gender, especially if they have other issues like type 1 diabetes.  He seemed confused by my “excitement.”   I could not believe what had just happened.  I had become the teacher in this situation, teaching some common sense to this up and coming Doctor.

For the next few months Joey was constantly on the scale,  checking his weight.  Joey is 5 ft tall, and weights 114 lbs.  He plays football, basketball and throws the shot put, nothing wrong with a little cushion where his weight is concerned.   It’s not like he’s obese!  He has “successfully”  lost 5 lbs, I’m not pushing him to lose more,  I didn’t think that he needed to lose that, but Joey insisted on following Dr. orders.

Joey and friend at the April Birthday Table

So as I write this it’s almost time to go back to the Endo for another 3 month checkup.   One thing I learned from that last appointment is that not all interns are created equal, they don’t all understand how to communicate with children,  I learned that I can have a voice in that exam room, and it’s my job to stand up for my child,  so bring on the next intern…we’re ready.

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