Yesterday, the same question was posed to me twice: ‘How would you like health professionals to deal with people living with diabetes?’

The first time was after a short presentation I gave to a team of physicians visiting Australia from Thailand. I am incredibly privileged in my role at Diabetes Australia – Vic because I get to meet some amazing people from all over the world. The visiting doctors were very interested in our program and asked some great questions about how we run things – especially around the value and importance that we place on peer support and peer networks.

The second time was as part of last night’s OzDOC tweetchat. I was moderating the hour of rapid-fire diabetes cyber-chat, but it was Kim Henshaw who had come up with the ingenious topic of swapping places with our HCPs. Kim had posed some really thoughtful questions about how we would like our HCPs to respond in certain situations. The answers were amazing.

When I was asked the question for the first time -almost as I was walking out of the room after my presentation yesterday – I didn’t hesitate to answer.

‘Without judgement,’ I said. But then I felt that I needed to qualify that with, ‘And for them to realise that I live with this 24/7 without an opportunity for a break. I am doing all I can and there are going to be times that it is just too much.’

‘Thank you,’ the doctor who asked the question said.

‘Oh, and that it’s not all about numbers,’ I added quickly. ‘My A1c, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol – all my numbers – don’t give you anything more than a snapshot of a particular metabolic thing. I am much more than that.’

‘Good – that’s great. Thanks,’ said the doctor

‘And,’ I jumped in (guessing by now he wished he hadn’t asked the question), ‘It’s about more than the clinical side of things. My emotional wellbeing is just as important and if I am feeling burnt out emotionally, it’s highly likely that I’ll be struggling to get the day-to-day physical tasks done.’

‘Right. Thank you. Our next speaker is here,’ he said.

What he didn’t realise was that the next speaker was the fantastic Professor Jane Speight from the Australian Centre for Research in Diabetes. Later on she thanked me for setting the stage for her and what she was about to talk about. I thanked her for so eloquently providing the evidence to support my rantings!

I was more than ready for that question last night at the tweetchat!

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