The relationship between a family and their pediatric endocrinologist is important. How important, you might ask? As a mom to a teenager, I’d say it is nothing short of critical! Let me tell you a little bit about what we do to be able to see the endo that James currently visits.
We have seen doctors that are knowledgeable, up-to-date on the latest technology, and very competent. But even so, some of them haven’t been a perfect fit. Individual dynamics are a funny thing, but there have been times when a doctor’s visit would include what felt to us like chastising. Sometimes it was for something we already knew we needed to work on (afternoon highs because of snacking and forgetting to bolus?). Or for choices that we made in stressful moments that in hindsight might not have been the smartest (like that time at midnight when a site change was probably warranted but not attempted). We’ve had a lot of very positive experiences with doctors, yet there have also been times when James has dreaded his appointments.
Although our current endo is a “mere” 45 miles away (in quotes because I don’t think that is an insignificant distance!), the trickier part is the traffic situation. The new endocrinologist is located in the heart of Los Angeles, and we always plan for at least two hours of traffic each way, or more if appointments are scheduled for the mornings during rush hour.
Then when we get to the clinic, because it’s in the heart of the city, parking costs us nearly as much as our copay. I get to drive my minivan in winding circles in a parking structure that is sometimes so busy that a valet service ends up reparking all the cars. It’s a bit much for my naturally small-town self!
But once we get there it is so worth it. We have an endocrinologist who makes us feel like we’re doing okay! He’s nice to James and listens to his concerns. He looks over our numbers and makes gentle suggestions. He doesn’t berate us for what we’ve done but will answer any questions that we have. It is such a positive experience.
For us, although it isn’t easy, it’s worth it to make the long drive to visit an endo that makes us feel good about how we’re doing and fills us with positivity and confidence.
On days that James visits the endo I joke that we have to pay the “awesome-endocrinologist tax” that day. The added cost of a long, congested drive, steep parking fees, and navigating the busy city are worth it to us for the tremendous benefit of having a wonderful relationship with our endocrinologist — an absolutely essential member of James’ treatment team!
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.