Monday, October 17, 2011

The Parent Report Card

 In the world of type 1 diabetes, there is a unique medieval ritual between doctor and patient that occurs every three months.  The patient must prove their worthiness and due diligence by providing a droplet (or twenty) of blood to the doctor for his/her approval.  The doctor actually grades this blood serum and provides back a number to determine the worthiness of patient.  The lower (but not too low) of the number, the better.  If the graded number creeps too high, than an army of medical workers will descend for remedial training and the patient will need to submit weekly paperwork in an effort to show remorse or bow to their knees and beg the doctor forgiveness.

This my friends, is the modern day hemoglobin A1c (sometimes referred to as the HBA1c) appointment.

Now what happens if the patient is a 3-year old and only knows numbers 1 or 2 due to their recent potty training?

Than this becomes the Parent Report Card.

If you attempt to talk to any endocrinologist about this grading phenomenon, they will most likely say that this is simply not true.  Perhaps they will say that they are in the business of treating the patient as a whole and not just as a statistic.  Perhaps they will say that they understand that illness, stress, puberty, Captain Crunch, growth and everything else that goes into a quarter of a year's worth of life is to be expected.

Blah, blah, blah. 

The endocrinologist has been trained to look at the A1c as the measurement of good diabetic health.  The A1c reflects how well the endocrinologist is doing in educating the patient and reflects upon the success of the clinic as a whole.  If your doctor tries to show empathy, it is because they know what they should say even if they do not believe it.

Unless the endocrinologist has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he/she truly does not understand the difficulty of obtaining perfection in a broken pancreas.

We do. 

Take a moment and savor this and re-read it to every parent, husband, wife, child, teen and adult living with type 1 diabetes:

You are doing a great job!  The A1c is not your grade in determining how good you are.  The A1c is only a snapshot of a moment in time. 

It doesn't comment on how you stayed up until 4:00 a.m., checking blood sugars and changing sheets when your child had a simple stomach flu.  It doesn't show how you won the big game and then, had to eat 200 carbs in snacks for four hours just to stay above 50.  It doesn't give high fives for getting breakfast carbs under control. 

The A1c is just a number.  By the end of the week, the A1c is not even going to be the same number.  It is a constantly evolving target. 

Rather than celebrate or bury your A1cs, instead, cherish the victories within your type 1 diabetes life.  You are on a journey to living life to the fullest.  Your family is healthy, happy and taking type 1 diabetes along for the ride, instead of hiding it under a rock.

Naturally Sweet Sisters gives you an A+!

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