I call myself a T1D. Do you call yourself a doctor?

The past week has been filled with some awful doctor’s appointments, and for once, it has had nothing to do with my diabetes. It’s just been a combination of poor, careless, rude, and inept care as well as well feeling like I’ve been mislead and deceived. All of this has resulted in unnecessary pain, both physical and emotional and let’s just say I’ve about had it.

But while the doctor’s appointments were not directly about my diabetes, inevitably, it always comes up. Today’s encounter with the doctor was made even worse by the following conversation.

Doc: Do you take any medications?

Me: Yes I use humalog insulin, I have type 1 diabetes.

Doc: Do you have any complications with your kidneys, eyes, ulcers, nerve damage, etc?

Me: No I don’t.

Doc: About how much insulin do you use a day?

Me: Well, I have a pump, but somewhere between 40-50 units a day.

Doc: And you called yourself a type 1 diabetic?

Um seriously?! I’m sorry, I don’t know if you meant to frame the question like that, but I don’t “call myself” a type 1 diabetic as if I have a choice or am choosing that label, that was the diagnosis that I was given 13 years ago. That is the disease that I live with and manage every day. I was not given a choice of what I “call myself” as if I could choose something else. I don’t call myself a type 1 diabetic, I am a type 1 diabetic.

Me: Yes, I have type 1 diabetes.

He went on to ask a series of other questions related to the purpose of my visit, moving away from the topic of my diabetes. Then out of the blue, he asks, “and you don’t have any damage to your kidneys?”

Excuse me sir!!! You already asked me about complications and I already gave you an answer!! Were you not listening to me? Do you not believe that someone with diabetes can not have kidney damage, is that why you are asking me twice? Maybe that’s what you learned way back when you were in medical school (yes, I’m calling you old), but it is possible to be without complications.

I couldn’t believe this doctor. I could quite possibly be overacting. But seriously, how hard is it to take 3 seconds and think about how the questions you ask and the way you phrase it can affect a person?! The appointment went on to really become the visit from hell for a plethora of other reasons. Blood was lost, tears were shed, and curse words were muttered silently.

Today is wisdom wednesday, and so I feel that I should end this post with a quote that will help me put this stressful and upsetting day behind me and to start fresh again tomorrow. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better than today.

17 thoughts on “I call myself a T1D. Do you call yourself a doctor?

  1. This stinks. I've had these kinds of comments from the assistants who see me before the doctor (reading down the checklist: “Scott, are you pregnant?”) but not from the doctor him/herself. On the other hand, I've seen staff think I look healthy, so naturally they conclude I don't have any of the serious conditions on their list — including diabetes.

    If they're really USING the information for something and not just to check off a box in a file, as sadly is often the case these days, they should understand.

    It stink that you had to go through this, but it looks like you handled it well and that you didn't let it bother you … too much. Good job.


  2. It was more of a mental checklist because he was writing it on a blank piece of paper. I know I shouldn't let it get to me, but sometimes I'm just amazed at the lack of sensitivity and ignorance. Just glad I haven't had too many encounters like this!


  3. I'm so sorry Reva! That's totally awful. I've had my own share of horrible doctors appointments so I understand the hurt and frustration. I hope you never have to see this one again.


  4. #uggghhh. I hate those kinds of doctors who are so insensitive and have no bedside manner whatsoever. at my last eye appointment the doctor made me cry over my a1c of 7.8, nonchalantly throwing out phrases like “ohh, so you're an uncontrolled diabetic? do you know that increases your risk of complications” and “did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness?” and so on and so forth. Unlike you, i did not handle it well and pretty much told her that I thought she was incredibly rude while reminding her about the newest ADA regulations that underscore the importance of not making patients feel guilty about their control, because that is just not helpful! Needless to say, I will be going to another eye doctor, and I hope that you can find someone who is more sensitive and knowledgeable about patients with T1D 😀


  5. Geeeez!! I totally would have cried too if the doctor started saying stuff like that to me! I think you handled that even better than I did! She should know how rude those comments are and how unhelpful they are! Definitely get a new eye doctor! Sorry you had to go through that too!


  6. Grrrrr, after that kind of comment, I would have definitely said, “And you call yourself a Doctor?” Jerkwad. Hope all your health issues are getting betterand don't require you to go back to that guy again. I do wish doctors were required to take some sort of regular “sensitivity training.” But who knows if it would do any good :-/ HUGS!!


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