Your health care is always a work in progress. Wouldn’t you agree? And every time I hear about someone going to see their doctor, for a regular scheduled appointment to have a physical or an annual, and they are completely confident they get the best care, from the best doctor, in the best hospital, I am envious, and then I feel dubious that they know what they are talking about.
Could they really have it all? Because I have to be on my toes at every appointment; I have to scan every bill and I have to work at this partnership called health care. It’s not bad and there are highlights when it’s working well that give me a deep sigh of relief. Lately, my experience has been one of intrigue, frustration, and now becoming a call to action.
I’ve been very happy with my endocrinologist for several years. I met her when she was a resident working on her fellowship seven years ago. After she finished her fellowship, I followed her to her new practice in a different hospital. I remember the first time I called her new office for an appointment and the receptionist asked, “When would you like an appointment?” I said, “What’s her first opening?” the receptionist replied “Tomorrow 10 am!?” That sure didn’t last long!
I helped spread the word about my wonderful experience with her and her commitment to her patients, and she has often said that many of her patients have commented that they heard about her through me. I know I can ask for the random, one-off test, like I did for AAT, and we decide, as a team, if it’s interesting or worth it, or if I should rethink that direction.
Managing a chronic illness is teamwork. I need to do my own homework to know what works, I need to be aware when something isn’t working for me (like my pump experience) and I need to be flexible, because things always change. And my endo realizes she is my guide, but this is my journey.
But in the last six months, I seem to have run into what appears to be the broken health care system that grabs good doctors and sucks them into the conveyor belt of "hospital-managed health care." While doctors complain that the plight of most patients is non-compliance, I think there is a larger disconnect contributing to that factor and here’s where it starts:
My appointment six months ago went as usual...
- Blood work: micro albumin, comprehensive metabolic panel, and glycated hemoglobin
- Office blood glucose check
- Dexcom download to assess adjustment in management
At the time of my arrival, they took my Dexcom to download it. I went over the blood work with my endocrinologist while we waited for the Dexcom to download. After my 11-minute appointment with the doctor was over, they asked that I wait in the waiting room for her to review my Dexcom info. While I waited. I tried to book another appointment, but no one was there at the counter. My doctor reviewed the Dexcom information and said everything looked good, to keep up the good work.