My company has a program through our insurance provider that does proactive health coaching for people with a variety of diseases, diabetes included. A registered nurse calls you to “check in” on your health and wellness, and he or she also helps you set new health goals during that call. By no means am I saying that I already know everything about diabetes – I can always learn more. But these calls cover almost less than the basics of the ‘betes.
For many people, this is exactly the type of support they need to get on track. It’s just that I’ve had diabetes for 18 years. This ain’t my first rodeo. So trying to answer the questions this kind nurse has to ask me is nothing short of an exercise in patience every time they call. And by the way, they call. Every. Freaking. Month.
Why are they so annoying? Well here’s a few of the questions they ask, with what I’m thinking in my head as a response:
“Are you still taking your medication as prescribed?
Oh, you mean that insulin stuff? That thing that keeps me alive EVERY DAY? Yeah I guess so…..
“Can I go over your medication list to see if anything has changed?”
Not unless you’ve cured diabetes…
“Did you know that people with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure?”
I did, but thanks anyways for the downer. My day was going a liiiiiiittle too well. Thanks for reigning that in.
“Are you checking your blood sugar regulary?”
Yes, and I also use a Continuous Glucose Monitor, so I know what my blood sugar is every second of every day, to which her response would be “You have a what?”
“What health and wellness goal would you like to set for yourself today?”
Uhm, how about remembering to not pick up the phone when this number pops up? Is that a goal?
Sigh. It’s not the nurse’s fault. She is doing her job and of course, I never give the answers I’m thinking in my head. I’m polite and patient and I go through the motions. But sometimes I feel like screaming into the phone that this disease is NOT going anywhere, I will be taking insulin for the rest of my life – so please make a note of that – and my A1c is 6.3% which is AT goal so I’d rather not pile on the pressure today by adding on another one! THANKS!
Deep breath. This program is a good thing, and I am sure that there are hundreds of people out there for which this kind of proactive support is amazing. But for a veteran of this disease, this is a sure fire way to provoke that “no one gets it” feeling. And it feels like every month when they call, I’m giving an impromptu lesson in the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and also what the latest gadgets are (“Wait, your pump is TUBELESS????”)!! To top it off, this is the same insurance company who makes me go through a health screening every year and consistently diagnoses me as a pre-diabetic because my BG falls into a range of numbers for which they check that box. They don’t even have a Type 1 box on the form!
Alright. Enough complaining. I know this program comes from a good place. Maybe next time I’ll just do the whole call in an British accent, for my own entertainment.