Visits to our endocrinologist are unlike visits with any other doctor. Our endo sits us down, and for the better part of an hour talks with us about all kinds of things. We go over blood sugar numbers and A1C numbers; he examines James and we chat about how the routine is working. It's wonderful. Our endo knows a lot, is understanding and approachable, and James really likes him. We're grateful to have such a wonderful resource to help us handle type 1 diabetes. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- the reason that we've had a generally positive experience with diabetes is largely because of the wonderful professionals we've had the privilege to know. Our endo is fabulous!
Getting to the endo, on the other hand, can be quite the excursion. We live about an hour away from his office. This would be a much less than ideal situation for a primary care physician -- someone whom we might have reason to visit on short notice. But for someone that we see only four times a year, an hour isn't so bad. Unless it really isn't just an hour, of course. The endo that we see is in the heart of Los Angeles, and so an hour can easily become two -- or more. Each way. Add to that the length of the meeting with the endocrinologist and the fact that the kids are generally hungry either coming or going (because our trips last through mealtimes), and you have a better picture of what our endo visits are like.
Notice that in the previous paragraph I mentioned "kids," plural. Yes, that means that I usually bring all three with me. It's too long a visit to easily find a place for my other two kids. Our family is starting to get large enough that the little rooms used by the doctor are starting to seem a little small!
They might seem even smaller because in order to satisfy my brood of three little boys for a five-hour excursion, I have to bring a lot of stuff. Each kid needs something. James is an insatiable reader now, and it's nice to be able to bring just a book to entertain him. Of course, I also bring his meters, supplies for low blood sugar, and blood sugar log book, being that it's an endo visit and all. Luke is not really reading independently yet. Since I'm often occupied with the baby, sticker books and coloring books work well for Luke. Maybe even a toy or two -- something really novel to keep his interest during our long consultation. The baby is my wild card. I rely on equipment and prayers to keep him occupied so that I can really focus on what the endocrinologist is saying! We bring a stroller, snacks, new toys, diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, blankets and as much patience as we can muster.
Somehow we usually make it through. Meeting with our endocrinologist is energizing. He is positive and helpful, non-judgmental and inventive, and he makes me feel good about parenting James and about our health and future prospects. While it takes a lot of preparation, a lot of stuff and sometimes a bit of luck or divine help to keep the kids happy, in my view, it's totally worth the schlep!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.