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The Doctor Is: OUT.

Earlier this week, I had a bit of a medical issue.  Painful urination, high blood sugars, and the constant need to pee.  (Ladies, I know you already know what's up.)  Urinary tract infection looming large.  I was livid, because it was the day before I was scheduled to travel for this week's business.

I haven't got time for the pain, so I called my primary care physician, Dr. CT.  "Hi Nurse of Dr. CT!  It's Kerri Sparling.  Listen, I'm pretty sure I either have a kidney stone or a urinary tract infection, and I need to rule it out before I leave for a week-long business trip."

Dr. CT was on jury duty.  Damnit.  So I had to call a local walk-in clinic, instead. 

The clinic was a hole in the wall.  Part of a strip mall structure.  My confidence wasn't high, but my blood sugars were and my whole body was screaming for attention, so I knew I had to follow through.

The receptionist was very nice.  The nurse was even nicer.  They took my blood pressure (110/74), my temperature (98.8) and a urine sample (ew). THIS is not for urine, people!

I should have known from the moment the sample cup was given to me that it wasn't going to be a fun visit.  The very kind nurse handed me this  --->

That is not a urine sample cup.  That's like a party cup that you use for lemonade on a hot summer day.  Not for pee.  Oh God. 

And then the doctor came in.  For the sake of anonymity, we'll call him Dr. Idiot.

"Hi.  I'm Dr. Idiot." 

"Hi, I'm Kerri."

"Kerri, I see you are here for pain when urinating.  Are you urinating frequently?  You see, you are spilling a significant amount of urine.  I believe we may have found the source of your troubles." 

He closed his file, proud of himself.

"Dr. Idiot?  On my chart there I wrote that I have type 1 diabetes.  I know my blood sugar is elevated right now, which sucks but at least it's not a surprise.  But that's not why I'm here.  I actually suspect that ..."

He cut me off.

"I think we need to address this first problem.  You are aware of your diabetes, you say?  How many times a month do you check your sugar?  You know, with the glucose machine and the finger pricker?"

If I wore bifocals, it's at this point that I would have slid them down my nose and given him a hard, Sam Eagle-type stare. 

"I test about 12 - 15 times a day.  But the real reason ..."

"You mean a month,"  he corrected me.

"No, I mean a day.  I have type 1 diabetes.  I wear a continuous glucose sensor.  And also an insulin pump.  I'm very aware of my condition, and I'm also very aware that it's slipping out of control today because of this other issue, the pain issue.  Can we talk about that?"

He looked at my chart again.  "So you don't use a meter?"

"Sir, I use a meter.  And a machine that reads the glucose levels of my interstitial fluid.  This is in addition to my insulin pump.  I don't mean to be rude but ..."

Now he gave me a hard look.  "Why the interstitial fluid?  Why not the blood directly?  I mean, you could have more precise readings with the blood."  He picked up my Dexcom from the chair next to me and pressed a few buttons to light up the screen.  (Mind you, he did not have permission to touch it, but I'm again not saying anything.)   

"You mean like a pick line?  I don't know.  I'm sorry.  Ask them?"

"Yes, but it would make much more sense and ..."

I just about lost it.

"I'm sorry.  I didn't come here to talk about that.  I want to talk about the issue I'm here for.  Which is not diabetes.  Or your ambitions to know more about CGMs.  Please can we address what I'm here for?"

"The sugar in your urine."  With finality, he says this.

"NO.  The fact that I think I have a UTI or a kidney stone.  Please.  Help.  Me?"

I kid you not - we went 'round and 'round about this for another ten minutes.  He didn't believe me that I was at least sort of familiar with diabetes.  His ignorance included, but wasn't limited to, the following statements:

  • "High sugar causes frequent urination.  Maybe that's why you are peeing often?"  (Not because I was drinking a liter of water per hour to flush my system?  Nooo, couldn't be that.) 
  • "Did you have weight loss surgery?"
  • "Grape juice also causes high blood sugar." 
  • "That thing should really be pulling blood samples.  Pointless otherwise."  (Meaning my Dexcom.)
  • "The urinalysis won't be back until Friday, and in the meantime you should start on a regimen of insulin immediately." 
  • And also:  "I didn't peg you for a pink girl."  (Are.  You.  Serious??)

The end result, after an escalating argument that involved me yelling, "Stop.  Talking about my diabetes and PLEASE focus why I'm here!" was a prescription for Macrobid that I could elect to take if my symptoms didn't alleviate, and the instructions to call back on Friday for official lab results.

"Thank you.  Really.  Can I go now?"

He at least had the decency to look ashamed. 

I've had some wonderful doctors over the last 30 years, and my health is better for it.  But this guy?  Complete disappointment. 


You have got to be fricking kidding me.

LOL I'm sorry don't mean to laugh but you have a way of writing it that is so funny!!!!

I can't believe what an idiot that doctor was!!!

I am sorry that happened to you. Some GPs are better than others. When I get a UTI most do just try to talk about my diabetes. I like to say sometimes diabetics get sick too and it is not always because of the diabetes.

Wow. Just wow. Stunning incompetence. I have had some amazing urgent care doctors - but based upon many of my other experiences, I have begun to wonder whether doctors with poor patient interactions end up in urgent care where people expect to be rushed, and don't have to plan to see that particular doctor again.

I kept waiting for you to say "and that's when I slapped him in the face". What a moron - him not you - you are (used to be) a Morrone!

I have a GP who younger than I am by a few years, which originally filled me with dread... But upon my diagnosis she kind of admitted her lack of experience with younger diabetes patients (I was 38) and set me on an education track and prescribed meds, diet and exercise. Then proceeded to learn all she could about my case and condition so we could better treat it TOGETHER.

We need more like her.
Thank "The Big Guy" for Dr. Gauthier !

That is ridiculous! Some people are just oblivious to others and think they know everything about the world, and you have no idea what it is like. Every once and a while I get this with one of the nurses when I go in for my diabetes check-up...drives me batty! Hope your feeling better though!

You should have started pulling his pens and asking him what they do and why he uses them. Just as relevant conversation right?



You have the patience of a saint. I would have told that guy he was fired after the first round of "discussion"

The stupid, it burns...!

Remind me never to get a UTI again. Also, don't they need a STERILE collection cup to do those labs correctly?

It seems a version of this happens to me every time I see a different GP at my clinic. As though their profound wisdom- and, usually, scare tactics- is going to be what (finally) gets me on track the way my endocrinologist never could.

In my better moments, I see that they are trying to help. More often, I think they need to shut up and give me some credit for living with this disease for 20 years.



My urgent care can get the lab results back in less than 30 minutes. They won't prescribe the antibiotics without that (no good to call my endo from the north woods when I know what it is; there has to be lab proof). That North Woods clinic actually told me that for the UTI labwork it doesn't HAVE to be a "clean catch", but many tests require it so they generally tell you to get that regardless.

Find a new urgent care clinic, Kerri, STAT!

Oh WOW. This is SO much worse than the nurse who asked me if I needed some insulin for Jada when she had a low blood sugar. Unreal.

OMG! AHHHH! What a dork!

So did he ever give you antibiotics? Are you still dealing with the pain? There's an OTC med called peridium that really helps with the symptoms, doesn't cure the problem though if it is a UTI.... might give you some relief though (and it turns your pee an AWESOME color!!)

wow, that deserves some follow-up somehow. that guy should not be in practice.


Oh Kerri you are a patient soul! You should have fired him. What a incompetent doctor.

Unfortunately, I can identify. I was trying to get test strips through a former primary care doctor... We had troubles with my insurance approving the # of strips he prescribed. When I called back to inquire about the process, his staff (note: NOT medically trained) yelled at me and told me to stop checking my blood sugar so often. More than three times per day was just too much. Ha! And we expect medical folks to be aware of the ins and outs of type 1 diabetes. Right.

I thought this joke was totally fitting...

As a pre-med student at Washington University in St. Louis, I had to take a difficult class in physics.

One day our professor was discussing a particularly complicated concept.

A student rudely interrupted to ask, "Why do we have to learn this stuff?"

"To save lives." The professor responded quickly and continued the lecture.

A few minutes later, the same student spoke up again. "So how does physics save lives?" he persisted.

"It usually keeps the idiots like you out of medical school," replied the professor.

Wow. Couldn't believe that doc - that's why I don't like my mom's current doc (it's like a guessing game rather than a plan), she needs to see an Endo. I can relate to the cup...my endo has his patients pee into one of those crystal clear dixie cups. Yeah, first time I was like "oh boy, here we go".. however, he knew what he was talking about and so far so good. Hope you feel better soon.

I had a somewhat similar experience when I went to have potassium checked at an Urgent Care when I was traveling recently. The potassium turned out to be fine (whew!) but I was amazed with the doctor's obsession with my high blood sugar, which I had checked and bolused for shortly before the appointment. While I appreciated that the doctor probably experiences a plethora of diabetes patients with different levels of successful self-care, it was difficult to talk about my care out of context. Thanks for sharing your story - with a slightly guilty conscience I have to say I laughed out loud several times and was just what I needed after a pretty rough diabetes week...

Very funny. I found myself reading with a convienience store accent. Is this what we have to look forward to with a Federally run health care system?

Oh, my...I almost have no words. This is, quite honestly, alarming. You would think he would have stopped at the 'hello, pain' part, but no...

Also, I've learned that OTC Uristat is my friend. It's an analgesic that at least makes the pain go away. And, most docs don't have a problem with the labs (mine test for bacteria and have a result right away...is this unusual?) if you are taking it. Warnings though, turns your pee bright orange and can stain soft contacts. TMI?

I hope you are feeling better...both from the UTI and suppressed rage...again, what a doofus.

Dr. Idiot? Was that a completely random pseudonym? HAHA

It's like a "diabetic" seinfeld episode. Good grief that's ridiculous.

Wow. Insane, but somehow, not too unbelievable. I have had numerous similar run-ins with nurses or doctors that you think should know better - a whole conversation of "Humalog vs. Humulin" (I do know which one I take!), guilt trips over a random finger stick, etc. I do realize that there are thousands of medical conditions and they can't be expected to know the up-to-date particulars of each, but seriously, diabetes is epidemic in this country, both type 1 and 2. This is one they all should be educated on.

I don't think I could have last that long, especially with a high blood sugar I would have snapped. That's weird about the cup, I had A1C test yesterday with pee test, and that's about the same looking cup I had!

Oh my Kerri... I don't quite know how to respond to that guy other than I might have been tempted to ask for his credentials... are you SURE you're a doc?
Please please please find a back-up clinic or doc for when your PCP is on jury duty, vacation, etc.!

I like to go to health fairs, have a juice box, and then have them test my BG to see how they react.

I'm kind of twisted like that.

A few of the nurses at my last doctor's office always threw out a gem or two at each appointment. One nurse told me there was no way that my period would have any impact on my blood sugars. Another asked me what my insulin pump was, right after she pricked the middle of my finger (right on the bone) to test my blood sugar on the office's $15 WalMart meter.

I don't go to that doctor anymore.

It wasn't, so I'd love to hear what the culture claims is wrong with you!

Nice guy.


I went to a substitute doctor once when my PCP was out of doctor because of a UTI and she waltzed in, sighed and slapped her clipboard down on her lap before asking me, "So ... how did you get diabetes? Aren't you even curious?"

I almost punched her. Let's not talk about hypotheticals when my crotch is on fire!

Oh, and I'm about to board my flight for BlogHer so hopefully I'll see you there. :)

My face is turning red and my blood pressure rising just reading about this doctor....grrrr

I think I had his sister, Nurse Idiot, during a physical for my job prior to this one.

Nurse: "Is there a history of diabetes in your family?"

Me: "Um, it says on my paperwork at least 3 times that I have type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 1990."

Nurse: "But there's so much sugar in your urine!"

Me: "I'm aware, I just tested before I came in, my BG was high, and I've already taken my correction. I must not have taken enough insulin for that bagel I had for breakfast!"

Nurse: "Well it really concerns me. Let's check your BG again."

Me: "It's already going to be high. I just told you that."

O to the M to the G...*sigh*

Oh. My. God. That is insane. I'm impressed that you were able to stay as focused as you did though. I would have turned into a huge smartass pretty quickly. "Really? You think blood would be more accurate than interstitial fluid? I bet no one at Dexcom has ever thought of that. You should totally go work for them. But while you're waiting to hear back about when they'd like to schedule an interview, what do you say we focus on the fact that it feels like I'm peeing razor blades, mmkay?"

Oh Kerri, I am so sorry you had to go through this! I think having a sense of humor in these situations really does help keep one sane..... ((HUGS))

I just walk out on Dr's like that and refuse to see them again but thankfully I haven't had one in many years. I did put up with a eye Dr for way to long, only one close by on my Ins, who would give me a lecture every visit that I was really wasting his time by doing an eye exam on me if my blood sugar had been over 200 for 72 hours before the visit because my eyes may not be "back to normal" from the high. This was before my pump, my Dex and my ability to afford more than 4 test strips a day. So needless to say I was always wasting his time and I think he enjoyed letting me know it.

Hello, Dr. Mail-Order-Diploma.

You have the patience of a saint. I would have clocked him about a minute into the conversation.

This makes me want to cry in frustration. While I know there is always the chance of encountering a Dr like that (and unfortunately we have) it still makes me crazy.

What a nightmare! I hope everything has settled down and your trip went well.

Oh wow. I'm speechless. Unbelievable. Hope you got the meds you required from this turkey. No one should have to go through that while enduring that kind of discomfort without obtaining the relief you so badly need.

OY... that is so frustrating. That Dr. was beyond ridiculous, yet, I can completely imagine it b/c some of them are so ridiculous, and so many doctors know so little about day-to-day diabetes management (and some people in general make the erroneous assumption that they know wayy more about what you and your diabetes need than you do).


Maybe you can email the url of your blog post to the clinic and ask them what they're going to do so that no other patients have to endure what you did.

I've never had a doctor that bad, but if I did I think I would be tempted to ask how he would feel if another doctor treated his wife as badly as he treated you.

And that is why he works in a strip mall clinic and not in private practice! Sorry you had to deal with that -- that's almost the norm here in Ghana.

I think you went to the same dr I did when I first went to the walk in clinic for another issue. OMG !!! what a hoot . the dr sounded like he was in awe of what you knew . He was an idiot and chalk it up to a learning expierience. Just keep saying to yourself No more walk in clinics !!! LOL !!!!

Dont you just love the attitude of some people including so called medical professionals that just because I live with type 1 diabetes for 33 years now I dont know anything about it ! I had a Dr. Idiot once. Had a red spot developing on my right little toe went to a low cost clinic cause I didnt have health insurance. This guy had MAJOR coffee breath and didnt know how to close is mouth when breathing. Everytime he got near me he breathed all over me! He told me nothing was wrong with my toe.But it kept getting worse finally I went to a real doctor. If I had waited one more day I would have lost my toe ! Oh I hope you send your post to Dexcom let them know what Dr. Idiot said about them ! His first name maybe Idiot but his last name is Jerk ! lol

My blood is actually boiling, I think.

I wonder what Dr. Idiot would say about that? "Did you know that you were going to be reading a story about my idiotic life on my high horse and how this would affect your diabetes? Make sure you take your insulin today!"

I had the EXACT same thing happen to me. I went to urgent care because my primary care doc couldn't get me in.... Instead of just testing the urine with a test strip (you shouldn't have to wait until FRIDAY) and giving me a prescription I got a LECTURE about most of the things you did (I didn't have my Dexcom yet). Dr. Idiot. I will remember that for my next interaction with 'him' or 'her'.

I don't even know where to start. My mouth is literally agape right now reading this. I cannot believe that conversation happened. WITH A REAL LIVE DOCTOR WHO WENT TO FREAKING MEDICAL SCHOOL. Unreal. Bless you for not delivering a swift right hook and a pamphlet on diabetes etiquette...good grief.

I have no words. None.

Wow! And I thought all the times I've patiently explained to doctors and nurses why an insulin pump only uses short-acting insulin (and no, you still don't need to take long-acting), and most still failed to get it, was bad.

Oh god, that is totally ridiculous. It's these stories that worry me when we're facing the prospect of universal health care. What happens to the patient that gets stuck with that idiot?

I would of hit the guy! How can someone graduate from medical school with such ignorance about diabetes?!? I'm impressed at your composure, Kerri. Did you get the pain figured out?

WOW! What a dunce! I also have been laughing out loud! Am telling you its a universal problem! Even here in Kenya they are just as bad! I always have to educate them here! Like when I need to see another specialist for something other than diabetes I always get a lecture about diabetes managemnt then another crazy doctor actually told me that I would grow out of it! I walked out! I seriosly don't understand what is wrong! Maybe they need to review the medical curriculum or something!

At least he didn't try to order an A1C like the Dr. did when I brought my daughter in for a respiratory cold. She had high BS because she was sick. She gave me the same third degree and was trying to demand an A1c,when I had just had one at our diabetes clinic a couple weeks previously. I said no. I was pretty upset, you have amazing patience for sure.

I just read this entry ( a little late, RAch). I




Reading this a little late, but...
have you thought about outing this guy to all of us so no one near you goes to him accidentally? (Plus, it would eliminate some of my own rage at your experience...)
Hope you're better now.

argh. i've had similar conversations with a few ER docs. better luck next time?

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