A Teaching Moment

We visited the endocrinologist this week.  As he glanced at my daughter's A1C slip, he was pleased with what he saw.  "This is what I'd call a good A1C."  Then, turning to my daughter, "Do you know what kind of number a good A1C would be?"


The omnipresent chart was on the shelf to her left.  She looked it over.  "6?"

"Six would be very impressive.  Five would be amazing.  But in people with diabetes, particularly kids, five would be almost impossible without some really nasty lows.  What we aim for in kids your age is an A1C around seven, and you've done that very well."

There was much to appreciate about this little exchange.  The teaching. The relationship building.  The gentle passing of the torch of responsibility for understanding the disease to my daughter.  The affirmation of our hard work which, I know from experience, would have happened no matter what number showed up on that A1C slip.

We don't go to the closest pediatric endocrinologist.  Our visits require a sometimes hairy, sometimes traffic-ridden journey.  When we arrive, we look like we're planning to camp out for the duration, with snacks, homework and books in addition to the usual diabetes baggage and the materials we need for the appointment.  Despite these hassles, we never think twice about repeating this expedition.

I hear horror stories all the time about people's relationships with their doctors.  I realize we're fortunate to live in a part of the country with lots of choices, and that we're fortunate to have insurance which allows us to make them.  Some people have neither.  But if you do, and you're not happy, find a great doctor.  It's so very worth it.

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