We understand the pathophysiology….now it’s time to understand the clinical aspects. We ask our patient’s to take ownership of their chronic illnesses, but we do not always understand what that means. This exercise will allow us to have a discussion and learn from each other as we live in the shoes of a person with diabetes for a few days. By understanding the disease from the patient’s perspective, we can better understand and help the patient.

Post your thoughts, questions, and comments, and we will learn from each other.


By Sajal Patel

Combined Adult and Pediatric Endocrinology Fellow

2 replies on “Hello!”

I wanted to post about my general experience with the Diabetes Immersion experience. Admittedly, as someone who enjoys gadgets, I was intrigued at the prospect of being able to monitor my blood sugars and getting to use new equipment that I was not familiar with. However, this initial excitement quickly ran out as I made it halfway through my first day. Even in an outpatient clinic that treats diabetes regularly, I felt uncomfortable pulling out all of my supplies in order to check my blood sugar and inject insulin prior to my lunch break. I fumbled with them until I brought them into a bathroom where I had to lay out my supplies as best I could and remember, as well as I could, the steps I needed to take. Of course by the time I was ready to check the sugar in the drop of blood I successfully coerced from my finger, the meter had already timed out, forcing me to restart the process. It really gave me insight, albeit a very small glimpse, into the discomfort and added difficulties our patients must go through on a daily basis, and made me take considerations that I otherwise would not have done.

Another point I realized was that while initially the blood sugar checks and “insulin” injections did not bother me, I found by the third day my fingers were getting particularly tender, to the point where I was quite mentally resistant on the last day and had to force myself to continue to check. As someone who uses my fingertips frequently (as many do), I was not at all used to this added discomfort and really made me appreciate more of the unseen hardships these patients face. At the end of the day, it made me more understanding of the difficulties facing those who have to struggle with diabetes and its treatment, and will hopefully give me more compassion when interacting with these patients and allow me to be more supportive of their care in the future.

Great point with the fingers hurting. We just did four checks for three days…some patients have to do it many more times in a day (e.g. if they are on steroids, if there is a hypoglycemic episode, with exercise, if eating large carb snacks, etc). This is part of the benefit with continuous glucose monitors. Even those are not perfect though, and lows/highs should be corroborated with point of care glucose testing. In other words, there’s no way to avoid fingersticks for those who have diabetes.

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