Endocrinology Appointment-More Frustration

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Last July, I wrote a post about my struggles to find an endocrinologist in Richmond.  I thought I had found a good one finally.  She was nice and seemed to know a lot but as I’ve continued to see her, I’m getting more and more discouraged.  Here is how my appointment went today:

9AM appointment, was taken back right at 9AM on the dot (at least that was nice). Nurse took my BP-120/64 pretty darn good. She didn’t check my blood sugar or take my pump to download or anything.

Doctor came in around 9:05AM.

Doctor  Your A1C was 6.8, great job! How have you been doing recently?

Me  (To myself thinking 6.8 isn’t that great if I’m trying to get pregnant but anyways) I’m good, nothing much going on.  The main change is I haven’t been running lately.

Doctor  Oh ok, well running is good so maybe try to pick that back up.

Me  OK, will try.  I have two big races coming up over the next month.

Doctor  Good, so how has your insulin been?

Me  (To myself-hmm what is she asking? Insulin hasn’t gone bad?) It’s been fine, I’ve been basal testing recently to try and get better control.  Do you want my new basal rates?

Doctor  Sure.

Me  I tell her my new rates.

Doctor  OK well things seem good, all your blood work was great so how about you come back in 6 weeks?

Me  (To myself-what?! you aren’t even going to look over my numbers? That’s IT?!) OK, thanks. Oh and I wondered if you could write me a prescription for a different meter.  I’ve heard good things about the Contour Next Link, it takes less blood than my One Touch Ultra and I’ve heard it’s more reliable.

Doctor  Well, all meters are basically the same, it’s just a personal preference. But OK, I’ll get the new prescription for you.

Me (To myself-not what I’ve heard at all…there is the whole Strip Safely campaign and there is clear evidence that some meters aren’t as reliable as others). Thanks.

I was out the door by 9:10AM-FIVE minute appointment and $50 later.

Seriously, that is how my appointment went.  I have to know, do I have too high expectations from an endocrinologist???!! I read blogs where people love their endo.  Mine endo is really nice but she offers me zero guidance in help with my diabetes.  Maybe it’s because she thinks I don’t need any help because my A1C is good? I would think she would at least want to review my blood sugars.

I did get a test strip prescription out of the visit so that was good I guess.  But seriously, are my expectations too high? I was at least expecting her to review my CGM/pump data or even review ONE day of blood sugars/anything.

What sort of value do you get out of an endocrinologist visit?  What am I doing wrong? Do I need to keep looking for a new endo?  This endo is at an office of a doctor that was recommended to me but when I called to make an appointment for the recommended endo, she was booked up for a while so I made an appointment with my current endo.  Would it be bad to switch to a different doctor at the same office? Or is this all I should be expecting from an endocrinologist visit?! I’m so confused.

On the plus side, my A1C is 6.8.  I wouldn’t have minded if it was a little lower but I was expecting it to be around 7 so at least it was still below seven. And I have started to see a great Diabetes Educator at Integrated Diabetes Services.  I have only been working with Gary for one week and already I’ve had some great help with my diabetes.  I’m really beginning to wonder what is the point of an endocrinologist. Sigh…


14 thoughts on “Endocrinology Appointment-More Frustration

  1. If this is becoming a “typical” experience, run – don’t walk – to another endo! It’s so easy to become complacent with these kinds of doctors because the appointments are easy, they never challenge you, and they are relatively stress-free. But you really get very little out of them, except for prescriptions.

    I was speaking to my pump trainer recently, and she noted how, at my endo’s office, the Carelink (Medtronic) reports essentially run the appointment. After the regular formalities are done, it’s down to business analyzing all of the data. There are doctors who do that — I hope you can find one.

    • Yeah, my old endocrinology practice in Northern VA did that (although the doctor would say she couldn’t make sense of my reports because I was all over the place but the RN was great!) so I was expecting that down here, but three of the four times I’ve visited this new endo, she hasn’t looked at a single BG! She is really nice though so I feel bad going to someone different :-/

  2. Hi there, Just checking out your blog (I think I commented before on some of your other posts). Just wanted to say I also experience this frustration with endocrinologists. I recently switched because of this problem. I think you said you are in the Richmond, VA area. I was in Virginia Beach and saw an EXCELLENT endo there who I LOVED. I now live in NYC and have started with a new endo- we’ll see what happens. I’m frustrated with what seems to be the “shrugging off” of Type 1′s who have decent control by many endocrinologists. Just because we’ve got a nice A1c doesn’t mean we don’t need help, have questions, or want more support. Argh! Just wanted to say I completely understand.

    • Thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one! Yeah, I do have a good A1C but I don’t have great control. There are definite areas I could improve on and I wouldn’t mind having another set of eyes looking over things with me (meaning the endo). I’m thinking it’s time to try someone new

  3. I have zero expectations from an endo, other than to get me out of dka if that ever happens, and to write prescriptions. They can never understand the day to day as well us us, unless they are type 1 also.

  4. I’m sorry you are frustrated. It does not seem like you are asking for too much. Even though your A1c and bloodwork came back good doesn’t mean everything is perfect. I think there is ALWAYS room for improvement when it comes to diabetes management. She may think you have it under control but still should have given you more time. Maybe you have to be more assertive with her? Like bring up the things you’ve heard about meter accuracy? I hope your relationship improves :)

    • Thanks :) I do too although I’m leaning towards trying someone new. She is really nice though so I feel bad switching, but I want someone who is going to analyze my data with me a little bit, or even just look at one single blood sugar number.

  5. I wouldn’t hesitate to make your next appointment with the other endo in the same clinic. You are the client in this situation and you aren’t getting the services you expect, so on to the next provider.

    Also, if you find that you’re getting what you need out of Gary’s business, I wouldn’t keep going to an endo every 3 months. (As long as you can keep getting the prescriptions you need.)

    • Yeah, I think that’s why I initially sought Gary’s company out, because I was skeptical if I would get anything valuable from the endo and so far (besides the prescriptions) I’m not. I’m leaning towards either canceling the 6 week appointment or rescheduling with a different doctor. I was really hoping to find someone I loved (like the nurse practitioner I had in Northern VA) but I guess I just need to keep looking.

  6. KEEP LOOKING! She sounds awful and your expectations are not too high. You need someone who will be more detailed and supportive of your self management and actually work with you and the goals you have for yourself. (I think I just said that as much to myself as to you.) I just saw a new endo myself at there beginning of the month and she told me that checking my bgs 10+ times a day that “we’re a bit obsessive compulsive now aren’t we?”.

    Maybe keep your appointment and make an appointment for the endo you have a referral for so you aren’t waiting so long to see someone. I think that’s what I’m going to have to do. Good luck! I know this totally bites.

  7. Nope, I definitely don’t think your expectations are too high. Even if your labs look great, I think she should still upload your pump and look at that info. Because a ton of highs and a ton of lows can average to a good A1C, but that’s not good!! The other weird thing to me is – if she thinks you’re doing so great, why would she make you come back in 6 weeks? I would think 3 months (or more) would make more sense. It makes me think she just tells everyone the same thing without really looking at their case. :(

    • Yeah :-/ I need to make a switch but she’s so nice, I feel bad, but I’m not getting any benefit at all. I still can’t believe she didn’t look at a single blood sugar number! *Sigh*

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