This post is about a client/patient we have all had.  I use the word client, some use the word patient.  I prefer client as it feels more collaborative to me.  But back to my client.  My friend.

We all know this client.  Newly diagnosed.  Frantically calls you because they know you will know what to do.

They tell you there was no mention of their blood sugars rising in the past. The doctor says they have fasting blood sugars of 16-22 mmol/L, and an A1c of 8%, 10% or 15%.  The don’t “feel” any different.  They are very emotional.

Doctor wants them to start on medications or start insulin.  Doctor is laying on the pressure and the guilt: “You could stroke at any moment.”  “Your cholesterol is high.”  “Your blood sugars are very high.”  “You need to deal with this or your health will be further damaged!”

Your friend, your client is in shock and wants to run away from this conversation!  They don’t want to start meds or insulin.  They don’t want diabetes.  They didn’t expect this conversation when they booked an appointment.  Instead, they want to get out of that office fast.  They barter with the doctor.  They will try an egg/vegetable diet that their friend told them about, or other diet, or cutting carbs, or something that isn’t pills or needles.  They will do anything for diabetes to go away!

When you work in chronic disease management, you’ve been there with your clients/family/friends/neighbours.  This is a challenging spot for a diabetes educator or any healthcare professional really.  We all want to ‘fix’ the worries of our patients.  For most of us, that is why we went into healthcare: to help people feel better, do better, live better, eat better etc.  And we trained 5 or more years in our specialty area to do just that.

But here is where the challenge really is: we are trained to ‘fix’ problems.  We desperately want to fix the worries of our client.  We want to fix the overwhelm that our client feels.  We want the client to know that things will be alright, and that life continues on, often very well actually, when you live with diabetes.

We’ve all been in this situation.  So what did you say to this friend/client of yours?  Drop a comment to tell us your thoughts.  I’ll be back to share more of my thoughts on this topic.