Sunday, 14 November 2021
Thursday, 4 March 2021
With diabetes it’s inevitable that you’ll need extra care. It might just be routine check ups but you’ll need to confirm you’re receiving the right treatment and for this you need a medical professional. For me this has always been done in a hospital setting. I don’t have the relationship or trust in my GP practice to receive my care there. Trust is an important factor for me in this relationship and I’d guess others may feel the same.
To explain this let me go back to the start. My diagnosis wasn’t straight foreword. I’d been unwell and had family GP visits which hadn’t paid off. My poor parents where up the wall and the GP basically inferred they’d wasted his time. For some reason we had an on call visit from a different doctor, Dr C. She walked into the room, sniffed the air and told my parents to go straight to hospital. She could smell the ketones. I don’t remember a single thing about her, but she probably saved my life and so I’m eternally grateful.
Upon arriving at the hospital we met one of the loveliest doctors I’ve ever known, Dr A. He is my hero. During childhood if I had to be admitted I’d always ask if he was there. As I grew older he moved up the professional ladder, yet he still always seemed to be around. He instilled confidence and determination in me. He was kind hearted, funny and so pleasantly spoken it was impossible not to trust him. He was there when I went in for diagnosis and a couple of years ago my son saw him 33 years later. Even just seeing him calmed me.
My care during childhood was done by a diabetic nurse and a consultant. If I’m honest I didn’t have a good relationship with either and as I got older this didn’t change. The only thing I did like about clinic was when Cath was in. She was the most lovely nurse who did height; weight and attempted to keep you calm whilst the diabetic nurse shoved drops into your eyes. I hated going to clinic and as I got older would often try to think of excuses not to go. Thankfully my mum would always make me go but it was never a productive or inspiring chat. I’d give one word answers and try not to engage. Even though I hated clinic at 16 I was disinclined to move to the adolescent clinic!
Adolescent clinic was good and bad. They encouraged you to take part in the appointment and talked to you directly. M who was my nurse was amazing! She was firm but listened to me and what I was saying. She worked with me and encouraged me. My consultant was another matter. I don’t know if he was serving some kind of “time” or whether he didn’t like people or just didn’t like me. Either way it was the same as kids clinic when I had to see him. I felt angry that he didn’t listen and that he made lists of everything I was doing wrong with no solutions to the problems. But at least here I liked the DSN and the other staff. The problem was this was a transition clinic and as soon as I’d settled it was time to move up into the adult clinic (or at least that’s how it felt) I wasn’t very keen on another move but those where the rules. On the plus side hopefully this would be the last move as such.
Arrival at adult clinic was super surprising. The HCAs who did height and weight seemed really friendly, not judgemental which I found nice. They filled in lots of the paper work and generally made me feel really at ease. The first DSN I met, J was lovely. She made me feel welcome at clinic and made me feel safe discussing everything (probably too much). She made me feel like anything was possible and I was really surprised by how quickly I began to open up to her. She’s since moved positions but she’s not changed. Still lovely; friendly and welcoming and to be honest more someone I’d consider a friend who I talk to about my condition. This makes it so much easier to get positive results.
Around the same time I met the new consultant. This was the big issue for me as I’d rarely got in with them in the last. The nerves the night before where horrendous! It felt like the night before a job interview. I mentally made a list of all the things I’d done “wrong” or all the bad things I’d done. When my name was called I was worried a no idea why! Dr F turned out to be the most fantastic consultant. I feel like he listens to me! He talks to me about options and doesn’t ever push me into a decision I’m not sure or happy about. I’ve actually put up a fight in the past to be seen by him. When I was pregnant and transferred to a different consultant I repeatedly asked the nurse could I go back to his clinic. Always met with a no but then the consultants on pregnancy where generally good to. As always I had a preference as one termed things as instructions “you need to do this...” “you must try this...” The other talked to me in a similar manner to Dr F and made me feel like I was in control (pretty sure I wasn’t but at least it felt like I was some of the time).
Pre-pregnancy brought me to P. She is the most amazing DSN I have ever met. She’s a superstar. She knows me better than most. We have a very honest conversation whenever I see her. I don’t feel the need to hide anything. P has been through two pregnancies with me, she’s held my hand when I’ve been happy, sad, surprised and shocked. She came to see me on her day off just to make sure I was ok. I will be forever grateful to her for absolutely everything and hope that she’ll be around for a while longer as I can’t see me trusting anyone else this way!
We do have lots of other fab DSNs at our clinic and if I try to name them all I’ll definitely miss one out. They’re the people who ring me back in the middle of the week when I’m having a mini meltdown and talk me round; convince me I’m doing ok even if I can’t see it and promise to get P or J to phone me back. They’re also the wonderful people who go above and beyond when I need it. I hope they know they’re so valued even if we don’t always say it.
For the first time in a long time we also have a wonderful dietician who I feel tries to understand me. C doesn’t instruct but listens and advises. Makes suggestions about what I could try but will ask first “do you like...?”
So why the long ramble? Well lots of reasons - firstly because I’m grateful to have a superstar team. This is so important. If you can’t talk to your team honestly then you’re not receiving the treatment you should. Hiding things doesn’t help either party.
Secondly because I hope they know how grateful we are to have them. Even during the past twelve months I’ve felt like I can call them to discuss problems. Yea like everyone they’re overstretched abs yea at times it’s been a longer wait but in the main I’ve still received care as I’ve done previously.
Thirdly because I want other people to know it is possible to feel happy in your team and if you’re not it’s ok to ask to explore other options. Yes you’ll meet people along the way who are difficult, I have and still do. Some of them I’ve chosen not to mention just because I’m really not giving them room in my blog (or brain)
So I suppose in some ways this is a thank you post. In others it’s a “heads up” if you need it. ❤️
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Monday, 1 March 2021
So this week is the marks my 36th anniversary with my diabetes. I can’t say it’s been easy, interesting yes easy no.
The best way to describe it is like having a full time job that you didn’t apply for, don’t feel qualified for and can’t walk away from. But if you can’t walk away then embrace it you must.
For my children it will be completely normal. In fact my youngest actively searches people for a pod or sensor when he meets them. My eldest is perfectly happy explaining to people about “the mummy juice” (pretty sure for the first week of him getting mummy juice nursery thought I was an alcoholic)
In those years I’ve done an awful lot I’m proud of. I’ve encountered an awful lot I’m appalled by. I’ve seen some huge changes in treatment and technology. I’ve met absolute superstars and some really dreadful people, bullies almost. As I say it’s been interesting.
I decided this year I’d do a post for seven days to mark the week as when I was diagnosed you didn’t get a specific date more a week of information thrown at you!
So this will be post number one. If you don’t want to read them I’m ok with that. If you do fantastic, I hope you enjoy and maybe even learn something.
Just for fun here’s my littlest with his hand on the pod. (And O just because ❤️)