Monday, 19 August 2013

GPs versus Diabetes Specialists

I've never really treated my GPs as my primary care physician. I've always felt that since a lot of them don't have a clue about diabetes I shouldn't waste my time with them. After all, every aspect of my life is connected to my Diabetes. Things that are easily treated by a GP become complicated with Diabetes. An eye infection for one patient can  mean much more to a diabetic.

When I began having trouble with numbness in my left hand, I naturally thought of Diabetic Neuropathy and mentioned to to my Diabetes Nurse Educator. Her recommendation was that I should to talk to my GP about it and if necessary get a referral to see an endocrinologist. I'm not sure why but her comment really made me stop and think. I work in a job where I refer people to their GP if they are having issues with other health providers, so I should have confidence in my own GP.

I need to find a GP I like and stick with them. My current Medical Centre makes appointments with the next doctor that's available so I've ended up seeing about 5 or 6 different ones. My latest appointment went fine and I was happy when the Doctor mentioned his friend uses an insulin pump. I thought well, hey here is someone who I know has some form of experience of Diabetes in a real life sense. I made up my mind to ask for this doctor next time.

The numb fingers are most probably not Diabetic Neuropathy which I was happy to hear. The GP I saw reckoned it was a mild form of carpal tunnel syndrome. He sent me off with a few blood tests that included words like a full blood count, thyroid and liver functions. I was happy to do it, mostly because as someone with an autoimmune condition I know I'm likely to get another one. I don't think I've ever had my thyroid checked before? Not sure. In any event, I haven't heard back from the GP which means that nothing has showed up on the bloods. My GP has said that if I am still feeling symptoms to go back and get it checked out again but that he thinks it'll go away. It hasn't but it isn't painful so is something I can wait to mention until my next GP appointment.

I like to think that over time I'll build up trust and confidence in a GP. At least now I am trying to go into appointments with an open mind not some mantra I've carried around with me for years.