Welcome to day four of Diabetes Blog Week! I hope you’re having a great time and are ready for our last few days. So, let’s get to it.
Our topic today is The Healthcare Experience. Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!
Overall I guess I’d say my healthcare experience isn’t so bad. I mean, if I compare myself to my husband, whose only issue is some heartburn, then yes, things could be a lot better. So at the top of my Wish List is not to have a chronic illness and my Biggest Frustration is diabetes. But when you put that aside, I know my situation is pretty damn good. I have a great medical team and am able to receive the things I need to stay alive. But still, I have a few wishes on my list . . . .
Wish List for My Endocrinologist: Not much on this one. We respect each other and take on my care as a team. You never make me feel rushed during my appointments, and yet you are also always on time. (I never have more than a few minutes to wait once I arrive for my appointment. Somehow you and the office staff have scheduling down perfectly!) You explain things thoroughly and also answer each and every question I have. Although I have to mention, when I saw you two weeks ago and we gave my basal rates and carb ratios an overhaul, we definitely dialed the insulin back too much. I was stuck in the 200s for days and couldn’t come down until I rage bolused! It’s okay though, you’ve taught me well and I’ve tweaked things a bit more and have landed somewhere in the middle between the old settings and the new and things are going splendidly.
Wish List for my Optometrist: Not much here either. I’m trying to remember how long I’ve been your patient, and it might be about 30 years now, right? You’ve always made me feel respected. Back when we discovered some small bleeds in my eye, you found a balance of treating the matter seriously without making me panic more than I should. We stepped up my monitoring, but as you predicted, things cleared up on their own. If things should ever start to decline again, I am confident that you will help me get the best care and the best outcome possible.
Wish List for my Insurance Company: Yeah. This is the part when I have some major grumbles. “We’re in this together.” No, we aren’t. You make me fight for the number of test strips I need. You make me fight to keep the meter that communicates with my pump. You’ve forced me to change my insulin, when I’ve been doing so well on my current brand for eight years. You leave stupid messages on my voicemail that insinuate I’m an idiot. Seriously, if I have questions about taking my medications, I’m certainly not going to ask your pharmacist, who doesn’t know me at all. I have enough common sense to call my doctor, who knows me well and is the one who prescribed the medication in the first place! And while one-on-one coaching with a health advocate for my chronic condition sounds like a good idea, it was somewhat discouraging when I spent an hour on the phone with her only to hear her say “Wow, you know more than I do. You could be doing my job.” You think?? (Although I will dial back my rage a bit and acknowledge that the health coaching is probably very beneficial to many patients who haven’t already received the proper education. So okay, you get a point for that.)
Wish List for The Healthcare System Overall: I feel the healthcare system in our country is so freaking broken, I don’t even know where to begin. All patients need access to the tools they require to stay healthy. And that access need to come at an affordable cost. I know I have my grumbles (see above) but I also realized that I am so so blessed and yes, privileged, to have the things I need - even if the costs are very high and the insulin isn’t the best brand for me. People over 65 should not have to give up devices that are crucial to their care and wellbeing. People should not be on the brand of device that their insurance company dictates they use, but should be able to use the brand that works best for their personal situation. Same goes for medication brands. And mostly, people should not have to choose between buying the things they need to stay alive and healthy or paying their mortgage and putting food on their tables.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I realize my Wish Lists didn’t turn out to be actual lists but are discussions instead. (Oops) But there are probably about 100 other posts to be read today, so I’ll end here and pass the torch to other #DBlogWeek participants who have important things to say on this topic . . . .
You can find more posts about The Healthcare Experience on this list.
What is Diabetes Blog Week? Click here for an explanation and to sign up. You can also check out the Participant’s List here.