TV’s Dr Gregory House repeatedly says ‘Everybody lies’. He believes that doctors can’t and shouldn’t believe what their patients are telling them because they will omit key points about their health – intentionally or not. Diabetes makes us liars. Not big liars, but it’s easy to tell a white lie here and there.
‘I have NO idea why my BGL is 32.5’ (conveniently forgetting two serves of cheesecake)
‘My last A1c was 7.3%’ (actually, it was 8.3%, but what’s one percentage point between friends?)
‘Of course I bolused for lunch!’
….. etc etc etc
These are small lies and in the scheme of things, really don’t matter. But we do need to ask ourselves, who are we really lying to and why do we feel the need to bend the truth?
I have been seeing the same endo for almost 12 years. After three and a half years of endo-hopping and endo-shopping, I finally found ‘the one’. I admit – the not-so-great relationships with the previous endos where partly my fault. I found them judgemental and I dealt with that by not being completely honest. I didn’t want the admonishing looks or the exasperated sighs from them when they saw my above target numbers.
So, I made things up.
This did me no favours and did nothing to foster a relationship based on trust with them. The relationships were doomed from the start when I think about it. I’m sure they knew that I was lying (they were pretty stupid if they didn’t!) and it was pretty disrespectful of me to think that they were dumb enough to believe what I was saying.
When I started seeing my current endo I made a promise to myself: I would tell her the truth. Now, the fact that she isn’t at all judgemental, is kind and caring and has the best communication skills of any health professional I’ve ever met certainly has helped me keep that promise. Her response to me saying ‘I’m over this and really don’t care about diabetes anymore’ is not head shaking, tut-tutting and telling me off. She wants to know why, how she can help and to know what I believe I can manage to do that will make ME happy. She makes me want to be honest and tell it like it is.
And I hope that because it’s always been that way that she doesn’t doubt what I am saying. I hope she knows that it’s the truth when I say things have been tough, or that I really don’t know why my sugars have been all over the place, or that I really have been checking my BGLs six times a day. I hope that because our relationship started with honesty she knows she can trust what I say as the truth and never doubts me.
A relationship with your health professional that is based on trust, honesty and just telling the bloody truth is rewarding. Starting off that way is critically important. I think that when you feel you can be that way – and it does open you up to feeling vulnerable – that you have found the right match.
But if you start with lies, there is probably no chance that either of you will be getting what you need from the relationship. If you feel you need to lie to them, ask yourself why. Equally, if they know that you are not being honest with them, they need to wonder why that’s the case. No one wins when we are dishonest about our diabetes.
Dr House may believe that everybody lies, but I believe we can start with honesty. My relationship with my endo is rewarding for me because that is how we started. I trust her implicitly and she has no reason to doubt me. It was a good starting point 12 years ago. And it’s still working today.