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From Abby: Dr. Awesome.

Newly-minted as a nurse, Abby sees the health care system from a myriad of perspectives. Thankfully, today is about Dr. Awesome. 

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This is a blue stethescope.  Yup, that's all I've got for this alt text.  There is often a lot of talk in the Diabetes Online Community about health care professionals. We deal with them on a regular basis, and we deal with quite a variety of different providers - so I'd say our opinions are valid when it comes to ranting about or praising HCPs. As a newly-licensed Registered Nurse, I take everything that I read and hear into consideration as I begin my own journey in this field, as someone who will (hopefully) have her own set of patients some day as a Certified Diabetes Educator (hello life goal).

That being said, I talk about my own providers as much as everyone else. I've encountered some nasally sensitive lab techs, and some doctors at conferences that like to put everyone on pills no matter what their test results. Fortunately, as far as my own physicians go, I've got an arsenal of excellent people on my team. (Seriously, my ophthalmologist calls my retinas "beautiful" - and he wears cartoon ties.)

Principally, my endocrinologist. She is everything I want in an endo AND she emails me. WOAH.

When I first transferred to Dr. Awesome's practice from my pediatric endodrinologist at a large hospital, I went to her purely because her office was closest to my house. I didn't do any research; I didn't try different doctors. My first A1c with her was in the 10s (so she says, I don't recall this at all - ignorance is bliss I suppose, and college was rough for me).  Needless to say, we didn't see eye-to-eye those first few visits. Dr. Awesome put me on an upgraded Medtronic pump (I had been wearing mine for over five years), and started in with her plan of attack, or so I assume.

Long story short, within a few years, a lot of hard work, and an awakening from going to Clara Barton Camp and realizing diabetes was something to embrace and not avoid, my A1c has now been under 7% for over a year (I'm not bragging, seriously - I have only myself to take care of and a ton of free time and get really lucky at carb guessing), I'm wearing a Dexcom almost all of the time, and I feel great.

The point of this whole story, is that sometimes it can take one bad apple to ruin the taste of the pie - er, one bad HCP to ruin our image of doctors? But there are a plethora of helpful, caring, patient, and understanding professionals in this world that really do worry about us.  Case in point, an excerpt from the email I just received from Dr. Awesome, in response to me thanking her for dealing with my new hypothyroid diagnosis from four hours away:

"Please give some heads up when you are in town so that I could arrange patients and get you in.  I don’t want you to feel you are hanging out there doing this on your own ... Hope to hear from you soon.  I am in the office several days over the Christmas holiday week if you want to try and come in then."

So if you have a doctor that makes you feel guilty when you admit to eating an entire cheesecake and dealing with the 350+ mg/dL blood sugars just because it was delicious, or a nurse that scowls at you when your A1c isn't under 7% - talk to your provider about how you feel, or keep searching and don't think they (we) are all like that. There is a Dr. Awesome out there for you too, I promise!

(Please note Dr. Awesome has no idea I'm writing this, and she probably doesn't even read this blog - I was just so freaking astonished at this email I had to tell everyone :) ) 

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Just like every patient, Abby has had really good, and some not-so-good experiences with health care providers.  (Just like every HCP has had good, and not-so-good experiences with patients.)  Do you have any "my HCP is awesome!" stories to share?


We have a Dr. Awesome, too. I e-mailed him a question the other day about switching insulin and got a response within 10 minutes saying if we wanted to we could. He even said he hoped we were doing well and signed it, "Drew." Taylor loves him because he talks to him more about golf than D.

Thanks so much for this post! I too have had a plethora of health care professionals ranging from the "I'm just not sure what to do with you.. Do I need to shake you!" to the incredibly motivational Dr. Awesomes of this world. I truly believe that what we, as diabetics, need is inspiration; someone or something that will instil the motivation within us to have more control. At the end of the day it is OUR body and WE are the only ones who can make that difference.

Strangely enough, I don't want to end up as a DSN. That's the UK equivalent of a CDE. I've seen far too much of diabetes through being diabetic and my first placement which is in acute general medicine. I'd much rather end up in A&E or HEMS as a flight nurse.

I was originally set up with Dr. Awesome. But after a few years, he left the hospital (very sad day for me). I bounced around to a few different endos before I found my 2nd Dr. Awesome. She also emails me, allows me to make all of my appts at 4pm so I don't have to take time off of work to see her. She always says my hair looks great and I look skinny. And now that I am pregnant, we are in weekly contact with me uploading my pump data and her analyzing it. Yay for Dr. Awesomes!

That's my doctor's name too! ;)

So awesome Abby!!!

Abby --

Thanks for your post. My first endo was "old school" and didn't take a proactive approach or teach me much -- he was of the mindset that care & management was his responsibility. Needless to say I didn't stand for that long. After almost 2 years of learning things on my own, I switched endo's and have been with my Dr. Awesome since. She is honest yet not judgemental, and very supportive. She's largely one of the reasons why I've been able and motivated to chase the challenges I have over the last 12 years.

We owe all good, considerate, proactive, honest, and caring HCP's a thank you and debt of gratitude. Great post!

We definitely have a Dr. Awesome in our pediatric endo. She thinks the world of M and remembers all the stories she tells her from visit to visit. She takes being a Dr. to the next level and we are so glad to have her!

We had an awesome d team... then we moved 4 hours away... went to new place as directed by insurance. It was awful, so awful. We now drive the 4 hours back to awesome d team for appointments. They are worth the out of pocket costs for travel/lodging. When it comes to my girl's care, I won't ever settle for substandard.

I have been searching for a Dr. Awesome for years now. When I was pregnant my OB was awesome, but she can't manage my day to day diabetes. I too am a nurse and have felt like I have been managing my own diabetes for quite some time. I plan on making an appt with the new endo in my town and am hoping I will find someone who I can rave about!! Wish me luck.

My endo calls me back at his earliest convenience. For some doctors, this means within a couple of days. For my endo? It's usually in the car on the way home the same day. Seriously, I have his cell phone number because he calls me from it in his CAR (I can hear the rushing wind in the background). And he's nice. That counts for a lot.

Yes, I too have a Dr. Awesome. He is from South Africa and I could listen to him talk for hours. Oddly enough, he does more listening than talking. He WANTS my opinion and will discuss his recommendations & how I feel about them. I love love LOVE him. I also love my CDE. She's awesome too. :-) Maybe I should tell them exactly how much I appreciate them when I see them next week. Thanks for the inspiration!

yay for dr. awesomes! i have one too! and an awesome-fantastical-amazing CDE, too. my CDE is the one i actually talk to the most. she helps me with everything, and i feel like i can tell her anything. she helped me find a mental health professional when i was ready to ask for help.

i wish everyone could have doctors and CDEs like that. i feel so blessed.

Yay for Dr. Awesome! We need more doctors like that, and to talk about them if we have them.

Also, thanks for saying "carb guessing." That's so true, future diabetes educator. :-)

I want an awesome D team...

I had a Dr. Awesome who always kept things positive and constructive. It was amazing. I now have fingers crossed that I can find a new team Awesome since I moved.

Thanks for the comment that some "they (we)" are good HCPs, someday I hope to be a Dr. Awesome for someone and I am sure I know some future Dr. Awesomes...

I am looking for a Dr. Awesome in then Denver metro area. If you have a suggestion- please shoot me an e-mail. Thanks so much. :)

My daughter's endo is definitely Dr. Awesome! She left the children's hospital and now sees patients up to age 40, so I don't have to worry about my kiddo leaving Dr. Awesome and having to find a new one, which is doubly awesome in my book. Hooray for all the Awesomeness! :)

I love the Dr. Awesome thread. I have been greatly influenced by my awesome endos since diagnosis 20+ years ago. So much do that I became one (doctor that is). I know what I think makes an awesome doctor (from the patient side). But I'd love to hear what the one characteristic or behavior that your awesome doctor does that makes them, well, awesome.

One of my many personal quests is to be that awesome doctor for someone like I have had.

Please send your responses to @HamboneFishguts.

As a disclaimer, started the twitter thing this week. What was I thinking?!?!

"Yes, I too have a Dr. Awesome. He is from South Africa and I could listen to him talk for hours."

So is mine. You don't by chance go to Joslin? I seriously love my endo. He emails me back no matter how many times I send concerned emails. He reassures me even after dealing with me ever since I turned 18...19 years ago. I don't know what i would do without my endo or my eye dr at Joslin.

I like my Endo, but now I want a doctor that emails!!

I did find a nutritionist/dietitian that has a diabetes background and she is my Awesome educator right now. More than once I've emailed her pictures of a pretty meal I was excited to have made for myself and she sends the most encouraging replies. It's making such a difference to have someone that is not "you're perfect or you're nothing."
I should blog about her. lol.


What a wonderful post... and great reminder to us, as patients... :) Not just that there's hope to find a great, supportive, medical team, but that it's OKAY to not be perfect... Some people to take this as condoning of "bad" behavior, but it's not... It's condoning of the fact that we are HUMANS with weaknesses, and challenges, and things we ALL have to work on. None of us is Miss Perfect, no matter how much we may want to claim we are... Life is just TOO long to never make mistakes; it's impossible.

To nerd it up a bit... In the original Super Mario, from NES, you made a mistake once, and that was it. Game over. In today's Super Mario World games... you make mistakes and come back, again, and again, to the place you took off from. THAT is life. You make a mistake, you get up, you pick up the pieces of YOU, and you take off... where you left from. :) Nice talking to ya on DSMA, this week... And hey, I am hypothyroid, too. ;)

There's a difference in consistently keeping up with your disease vs. giving it a halfhearted effort (whether you're just not caring or you're "too busy" with life to pay attention).

I have congenital hypothyroidism. Lucky 1 in 3000. In college I forgot to take my Synthroid- a LOT. When I started working and got a new PCP, she didn't pat me on the back about it. She chewed me out for it. Guilt trip ahoy! And I didn't whimper and cry- I sucked it up and took my Synthroid every damn day because I knew she was right. After six months of this and my TSH was still 58 despite a dosage change in between (and my meticulous dosing schedule), it was a different matter entirely. (Then it was time for her to boot me over to an endo who is not only Awesome, but also isn't afraid to tell it like it is.)

I guess all that to say that Dr. Awesomes are all well and good, but not if they're not going to enforce some Tough Love every once in a while. If I were diabetic and I decided to eat an entire cheesecake, I'm entirely sure I would want my doc to pat me on the back and say "it's okay, Rescue Ninja! Diabetes is just so hard but you'll overcome it."

I too really love my diabetes team. I always tell them if they retire or leave that I'll quit diabetes.
I was really laughing at your ophthalmologist's comment about your retinas. I once has a doctor that told me that my retinas were pristine!
It really makes a world of difference when the HCPs and us are reading from the same page. Thanks for the post Abby!

I have finally found my Dr. Awesome. It is great and she has really helped me get this figured out. After having a not-so Awesome Dr. I really wondered if I would ever find one. I have now and can't wait until my next appointment in a month to see how much my A1C has improved.

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