I have to say on reading these blogs it can appear to be an easy task – far from it. I have to ensure I have your interest and I am able to get the message out regarding diabetes by enabling motivation. Most importantly I have to look for inspiration regarding topics.
As with most health professionals in all fields of specialties, we have the theory and practice but our greatest teachers are you, the person living with the various ‘long-term conditions’. Speaking for myself, I have the utmost respect and admiration for you all.
It has always amazed me when thinking about my vast career how many people, who have sat in front of me looking anxious and worried, with regards to their results and if they were in for the daunting telling off.
Early on in my diabetes career, I realised that the true expert wasn’t me but the person I was talking too. Be that a worried mother whose child has had a severe night time ‘hypo’ (low blood sugar) and needing support in the aftermath or the newly diagnosed adult with type 2 who believes that because they have the diagnosis their whole world has collapsed into the deep dark abyss and it’s the end.
You, the person living with diabetes and those supporting you, family, friends, and carers are the experts in your diabetes.
I have always maintained that I may have a grand title of Diabetes Specialist Nurse but the reality is, I am but a guest at your table, there for support and advice. Yes, the occasional kick up the old btm but I know that the people I have met would not want it any different.
You are not stupid, you know what to do to maintain good control, and I know this, as I have a tale:
I had a young lady in her early teens, clever bright with type 1 diabetes had been diagnosed as a toddler. Mum a single parent in an extremely stressful job as well as life.
I visited this family either once a week or fortnightly, being supportive looking at diets, activities, number of ‘hypo’s’ we went through everything all with the aim of trying to bring her HbA1c within set markers (three monthly blood test to check on the overall average blood glucose, over the last three months). I left their home each time concerned and worried was I actually making an impact.
Then on one such visit, she had to do a presentation in front of her class or year. She decided that she would talk about her diabetes and asked me if I would take a look to see if she had left anything out. So I looked, I couldn’t believe what she had written, I had spent weeks months visiting to aid her control and there in black and white was the evidence that she knew diabetes inside out upside and sideways.
A lot of banter followed and the lesson I learned was that as a health professional I can educate, support, hold hands to comfort but the expert in your care is not me, I may have access to research and evidence on the way forward in prevention, the real expert is you.