Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Why so glum?

Lately, I’ve been reading the most appalling stories about the way people are getting diagnosed – or misdiagnosed – and the dreadful lack of proper advice, support and care they are receiving from their health care teams. How some of these medics can remain in practice and not be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, I do not know. People are being told they have diabetes and then simply being left to their own devices, or given poor and useless advice.

Of course, one of the topics that always crops up is that newly-diagnosed people are being refused test strips so that they can monitor the effects of diet and exercise modifications and determine what works best for them. This is terribly short-sighted, as establishing good habits early on is the best way for someone to remain healthy and capable of managing their diabetes well. Instead, people are either being forced to self-finance or wait until things deteriorate to a point where medication may be needed and possibly damage already done.

Given the huge effort being put into trying to alert people to the dangers of diabetes, why is it that so many are then being treated as though it’s no big deal after diagnosis? I personally received excellent care, and continue to do so, so I know that healthcare professionals are capable of delivering it. A person should leave their doctor’s surgery with a sound plan for their future care, a good basic understanding (and direction to where they can find out more) and hope for the future – that things don’t have to get worse before they are considered worthy of attention. The following may sound a little extreme, but it is frighteningly close to the truth for many people – shame on doctors who think like this!

OK, so you have diabetes,
But you don’t seem to have it too bad!
So just lose some weight, and I’m sure you’ll do great –
I don’t know why you’re looking so sad?

Why would you test your blood sugar?
It’s really not worth it for you…
It’ll make you depressed – believe me, I know best!
It’s a waste of good money in my view!

So make an appointment for next summer,
Then you should be sufficiently worse
For me to give you medication,
And a five minute chat with a nurse!

In the meantime, don’t eat any chocolate,
And be careful if you develop a cough,
For there’s every chance if you cough while you dance,
That one of your feet might fall off!

If you find that your eyesight gets blurry,
Or if you wake up and can’t see at all,
Take that as a clue it’s the right time for you
To give our receptionist a call…

Well, goodbye then, and see you next summer!
Please close the door as you go,
And don’t darken my doorstep until then –
I’ve told you all you need to know!


  1. Sad, but unfortunately way too true. I think the type 2 population is grossly underserved by the medical community. I'm hoping that as more people get to the internet and get useful and safe advice, they'll realize there are way to effectively manage diabetes...with or without help from a medical team.

  2. Thank you, an eye opening (albeit depressing) truthful post.
    It seems that the medical world isn't tuned into the severity and common diagnosis of adult type 1's.
    Yes, the internet is a wealth of information but not for those who aren't familiar with it, or of the "older" generation.

  3. I'm sure if it wasn't for the DKA I'd have been misdiagnosed - even then they were non-committal.

    I got called a 'silver surfer' the other day! I'm only 51! Rather worrying though, I keep seeing books like 'Computing for the over 50s', or 'retirement apartment - over-50s only'

    Inside my head I'm about 32!

  4. The advice I got from the nurse and desmond course were ok - even if there wasn't much mention of GI.

    Got the old "no need to test - the hba1c is the important one!" - can you imagine anyone driving a car with no speedo?