Bad cop

I generally try to develop strong relationships with my patients by being nice, sympathetic and accommodating. However, sometimes I change roles and become the bad cop.

Today a 12 year-old with diabetes showed-up for a regular visit. After introducing myself, I asked, “so what have your sugars been.”

The mother responded, “I’m not sure. I forgot to bring the paper with all the numbers.”

I then asked, “How much NPH and regular insulin is she on?”

Both the mother and child responded, “What are you saying? We don’t take any medicines that sound like that.” The mother then said, “She takes shots. A long one and a short one, but I don’t know the names or how much.”

As I began explaining what the medicines were, the mother put her head down and fell asleep.

I jumped into my bad cop role. I abruptly awoke the mother and said, “Diabetes is a disease that can make her blind, ruin her kidneys and kill her. If you do not take this seriously and learn how to treat this disease, your daughter may die!”

The mom became a bit defensive but the child seemed to respond. She began repeating the names of the medicines and the correct dosages.

As they left the room I said, “I know you don’t like me very much, but you will never have to see me again. Just make sure that when you come to the clinic in two weeks, you have your sugar values, know your medicines and know the doses. If you do, this will never happen again.”

I hope they start taking diabetes seriously.

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