Kaitlyn and I just went to another endocrinologist appointment at our hospital in Los Angeles, and as usual, it ended up being an all-day affair. We love this hospital for many reasons — our doctor, the nursing staff, and the fact that it’s a one-stop shop for all her type 1 diabetes needs.
However, one thing that I don’t love is the commute! It takes us at least an hour, sometimes two, to drive there depending on the traffic (thank you, Southern California). Kaitlyn loves the fact that she gets to miss a whole day of school, so these days are favorites for her! Sometimes I mention to a friend or a teacher that Kaitlyn has a doctor’s appointment and won’t be at school that day, and they look at me like I’m crazy. How could a doctor appointment take all day?
Well, let me tell you how. The day usually goes like this: First, we drop the other kids off at school and immediately start driving to Los Angeles. When we finally get there, we find a place to park in the parking garage, take the elevator up to the hospital, and wait in line to check in.
We get our check-in stickers and walk across the hospital and go up the elevators to the endocrinology wing. We check in and then wait in the waiting room.
They call us to get her A1C test, weight, height, and blood pressure. Next, they take us to a room where we sit and wait for the doctor.
Meanwhile, the research crew shows up and tells us about the studies they’re working on and asks us to participate. We fill out questionnaires on a tablet while we wait. (This last visit, we earned $60 in gift cards for helping out with research!) It’s been almost three hours since we left the house, and we still haven’t seen the doctor.
When the doctor shows up, we have a lot to talk about. She takes a good 30 minutes with us to talk about blood sugar numbers, review A1C and lab results, fill out school forms, make adjustments to basal rates and bolus ratios, write new prescriptions, and check Kaitlyn’s skin at insertion sites. She also tells us about the latest technology with pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM).
Next comes the lab work. We don’t always have to do this, but when she’s due for it, we make a trip downstairs to the lab, take a number, and wait for our turn.
It’s usually a good 45 minutes before we’re out of there, and by that time we’re super hungry, so we stop at the hospital cafeteria for some lunch.
Finally, about five to six hours into our trip, we make one last stop at the gift shop for our traditional Beanie Boos® purchase. (Kaitlyn has quite a collection of these little stuffed animals by now!) We make our way back out to the parking garage, pay for parking, and drive back home. Usually we make it back just in the nick of time to pick up the other kids from school.
So, why do we do it — why stay with an endocrinology office that’s so far away? Because we love our doctor. It’s what we know. It’s what is comfortable. It’s always been a good experience. We do what we do to keep Kaitlyn safe and well. And one long day is a small price to pay for that peace of mind.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
Beanie Boos is a registered trademark of Ty, Inc.