Not MY Adorable, Quivering Finger!

My granddaughter has been feeling dizzy once in a while. Yesterday, I decided to check her blood glucose to see if she was experiencing a bit of hypoglycemia.


Now, the kid (almost 20) has this “thing” about sharp objects. She’s happy to have her sugar checked if she scrapes her knee or a cat scratches her, but to purposely poke a hole in her finger is a no-no. So I was trying to give her choices.

“What finger do you want to use?” I asked.

“Uhhhhhhh…” she moaned.

Her boyfriend, who was holding her hand, repeated, “which finger do you want to use?”

“Yours,” she shot back.

In the end, I gave up on checking her BGs and just handed over some jelly beans.

She’s showing signs of turning into a Type 2 already, with some recent weight gain right around the middle. (Yes, I’m working on that, which is not easy with a picky eater.) I feel sorry for the doctor who tries to get her to check her glucose or give herself insulin. On the other hand, we’ve learned that doctors are disinclined to do that, anyway.

I’m still shaking my head about doctors who apparently have crystal balls that tell them what their patients prefer in terms of treatment regimens. I don’t understand why they won’t refer people to specialist or a CDE if they don’t want to mess with something or don’t know how/don’t want to learn.

I went to this doctor once (remember that word “once”) who got his tighty whiteys all in a wad because I saw an endocrinologist.

Well, it started with the doctor saying, “I want to get a finger stick.”

“Fine, but I just ate some cookies. However, I could show you my log book.”

“Why did you eat cookies?! You’re not supposed to be eating cookies!”

(To cover an insulin peak, you jerk. And it’s not like they were double-stuff Oreos: They were 15 grams of carbohydrate worth of vanilla wafers.) “So I wouldn’t go low.”

Well, that got the visit off to a roaring start. At some point, he said I shouldn’t be seeing an endocrinologist because “you’re MY diabetic.”

OK. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he doesn’t believe I should be seeing somebody who does because I’m “his diabetic.” Actually, I’m nobody’s “diabetic.” I strongly dislike that word.

“Well,” he said later, “maybe you can go in once a year to get your insulin dosage adjusted.”

“But I’ve already adjusted it myself several times this month alone,” I responded.

“How’d you learn to do THAT?!”

“They taught me.”

I don’t understand. How can you take care of yourself when you have a chronic condition if somebody doesn’t work with you to teach you how? How can you tolerate living with a chronic condition if you can’t fit it into your lifestyle as much as possible? It’ll never be 100%, but diabetes is one condition that allows some flexibility.

If a doctor is the type of person who needs to be in charge; who needs to dictate to you, how’s that going to work? Will he be available 24/7 if you have a situation you’ve not encountered? What if you want to eat green beans instead of a baked potato? Do you call to ask how to change your insulin or oral medication dosage? Wouldn’t it be easier to just have you get some education so you can do it yourself?

When you were born, you didn’t automagically know how to walk and feed yourself. When you started school, you didn’t pick up a book and begin reading the first day — or doing algebra, for that matter.

Diabetes is for the rest of our lives. If we are to live our lives so that we feel well and are, hopefully, complication-free, we need to know how to balance food, meds, and activity. And much more like, oh, how often to have a dilated eye exam, or get an HbA1c and stuff like that.

If you haven’t gotten out there learning yet — get going! It’s never too late. Your doctor may tell you. Or he may not. I think it’s really up to those of us who are dealing with the diabeastie.

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  • Kelly

    Has anybody done a serious read/trial of Dr Mark Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution? He makes some very valid (and for me right now, all too familiar points) about how most doctors don’t really know what to do about pre-diabetics or diabetics… simply saying “just watch what you eat and get more exercise” while nothing is working and you watch yourself slide down the hill into diabetes as your bgl #s rise. Crying, kicking, screaming, doing everything you can but nothing is budging those numbers.

    My fasting BGL & A1C puts me squarely in the pre-diabetic category. My PCP has me on metformin and gave me the “watch what you eat and get more exercise” lecture… meanwhile I have been desparately trying to lose weight for years to prevent diabetes with not much luck. 1,200 calories and frequent exercise. I went to a nutritionist, who advised I bump up my calories to 1,500 a day and start strength training. The scale isn’t budging but I’m gaining strength. My PCP said “well, the next thing we can try is insulin.”

    Seems like Dr Hyman is trying to make the big bucks by selling supplements – but a lot of what he’s saying seems like common sense and really resonates with my experience over the past who knows how many years.

    I was curious to know if anyone has tried his metabolism reset diet or advice. I’m not sure my PCP would approve, but what we’re doing right now isn’t working so I’m game for anything.

  • Mary G

    I,too, have been on this sad Merry-Go-Round. I have had to change doctors 4 times and all they have is the same old advice: Watch what I eat, exercise and take drugs…especially the last part. After 5 years of this nonsense (for me anyway), I realized I was going about this the wrong way. Since I was making more than enough insulin, I just had to eat in a way keep my insulin from spiking and therefore stave off insulin resistance. It took some experimenting, but for me just cutting out most breads, pastas , potatoes, and white rice was enough. I eventually got off my medications. After 5 months, my A1c has remained steady at 5.9. This is a vast improvement over the 6.2 and 6.3 I used to get with two diabetes drugs. There are no magic bullets, but education and focusing on food choices goes a long way. All the doctor can provide is a cookie cutter solution called “standard of care” which involves a laundry list of drugs. I you don’t change how and what you eat, eventually you will become dependent on these drugs and suffer their side effects. If your pancreas has already stopped making insulin, then making these dietary changes may reduce the insulin amount you need. Of course, let your doctor know before stopping or changing your drug routine to be safe.

    (By the way, Metformin is an old diabetes drug that works on insulin resistance–the “ER” form is the easiest to tolerate. Almost all other drugs may eventually wear out your pancreas which may lead to pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or insulin dependence–learn to read drug inserts or ask the pharmacist for information. Your doctor may not know about these things, as I found out.)