“How are you?” These are the three words which I absolutely hate to hear, but can’t seem to get away from. Almost every person who I pass during the day utters those words, and I hate it. I know they’re not doing it on purpose. I know that they’re just trying to be nice. But I never feel that question is a sincere one.
Do they really want to hear about my lousy diabetes day as we pass each other in the hallway? I think not. Is it fair for me to dump all of my problems onto them when they’re just being polite? Absolutely not. Most of the time, I give my enthusiastic-sounding “yeah, good” response and go on my way. I feel like a robot with no personality when I give the same stock standard response every day. I feel guilty for not saying “how are you” back. But I’m not going to say those words unless I really mean them. And I’m not going to give a genuine response unless the situation allows for it.
In the diabetes world, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In the diabetes world, I don’t feel that get asked “how are you” enough. I yearn for my doctor to ask me how I am. And I don’t mean how my diabetes management is going. I don’t mean how my blood sugar levels are. I don’t mean how my latest hba1c result stacks up from last time. And I don’t mean how was that blood test that he ordered last time I was here.
I want to be asked about how I am coping with having diabetes day in, day out. I want to be asked how I feel when I wake up in the morning ridiculously high, despite feeling that I did everything right the day before. I want to be asked how I feel when I wake up in the middle of the night sweating and shaking because I’m terrifyingly low despite all my efforts to avoid it from happening. I want to be asked how I feel when my mind is plagued with thoughts of nasty complications that could affect the quality of my life. And I want to be asked about my small diabetes victory that feels like a massive achievement.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my health care professionals for the better part. And I am happy with my diabetes management, for the better part.
But when I’m in the diabetes world, hearing those three words “how are you” is enough to turn my day around for the better. And while it may seem like nothing to my doctor, hearing the words “I get it” can make a world of difference.
More how-are-you’s from healthcare professionals, please.