No Big Deal

Nearly a year after she was diagnosed with diabetes, my daughter was due for her annual physical with the pediatrician.  He looked through the chart and observed that he'd only seen us for one sick visit all year.

"Other than the diabetes, she's been pretty healthy then?"

"Well, you know, a cold here or there, but nothing worth coming in for," I said.

"Oddly," he said, "I think my patients with diabetes come in less than the ones without."  Usually, he continued, if I child with diabetes showed up in his office sick, he could be fairly sure it was something significant.

This pattern has continued to be true for us.  My daughter is rarely at the pediatrician, and if she is, there's no arguing about whether she needs to be there.

Is it because we're tired of being in doctors' offices?  With each illness, we carefully weigh whether the visit is worthy of waiting room time, excess germ exposure and a co-pay.

Is it because we're more germ-averse?  Hand washing, hand sanitizer, and avoiding germy surfaces have been a large part of my daughter's life since she was little.  Any illness provides a blood sugar roller coaster in addition to its standard symptoms, so we avoid all we can.

Is it because we're more attuned to symptoms?  The constant vigilance of diabetes means being more physically aware.  Perhaps this makes it easier to differentiate a serious illness from a passing cold.  Additionally, the clues of blood sugar fluctuations and ketones can often alert us to the severity of the problem right here at home.

None of this is to say that she's never been to the doctor to be sent home with 'just a virus.'  If it includes a high fever, a weird rash, or if it won't go away, I take her in.  It's simply that I thoroughly assess the situation first.

Those of us who care for diabetes become increasingly confident in our medical expertise.  Perhaps, therefore, we become more confident in differentiating between an illness which is doctor-worthy and one which is no big deal.

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