Thursday, 7 January 2016

Thoughts on adult clinic

I turn nineteen years old in July this year. That means that I am coming to the end of my time with my current diabetes team. Although I spent the first year of my diagnosis under the care of my local hospital, my parents and I didn't like it and so they got me referred to a hospital in London. I've seen the same consultant for the past 6 years, I have been under the care of that hospital for as long as he's been working there. 6 years ago I didn't really have an opinion on them, but 6 years later and I'm feeling incredibly disgruntled to be leaving them. As my consultant said yesterday, I've "struggled to have diabetes" which is true, and what an unforgettable struggle I have had, and I consider myself lucky to have had the amazing diabetes team that I have- who absolutely never ever gave up on me. Appointments after a not-so great A1c result almost always ended with "We'll get there", it's been a true team effort all the way, and now it's a team effort to get me settled with a whole new diabetes team, at a whole new hospital.

You're considered to be an adult in the eyes of the NHS at the age of 16. I've been admitted to an adult ward a couple of times, and on one occasion I felt totally unsettled and I cried, I was 16 years old and surrounded by 3 dementia patients which wasn't a nice experience at all. I'm 18 years old now and moving to adult clinic in time for my 19th birthday, and I don't feel ready in the slightest. If I'm totally honest the adult world of diabetes is unnerving, and I feel like I'm going into it too early, I'm still not perfect with controlling my diabetes and I feel like it's going to be hard to transfer all of that over to a new consultant from one who totally understands me and my struggles. I also get the idea that I won't see the same consultant every time, and I'm concerned that I won't receive the same level of support...it seems as though children and young adult clinics have the capacity to support you at a more intense level, where as adult clinic probably doesn't. I don't want to become just a number, I don't want to become just something that can make up targets, but I see it being like that. right now the consultant that I have could tell you my whole story with diabetes, as he did so yesterday at my transition clinic appointment, but I feel as though no one could be like that in the adult world of diabetes. Don't get me wrong, the team that I met yesterday were very nice, I just have a general apprehension about the whole thing.

What also makes me feel odd is that I've seen the same consultant every 3 months or less for 6 years, and when I move to adult clinic that's it. And your consultant knows most of the details about your life and your diabetes and your deepest feelings about things and you spend time building up trust with someone and then you cut off contact because you're no longer under their care and in the moment that you're their patient all of it is so important, it's so important to understand someone that you regularly come into contact with, but when it's time to move on it's all forgotten because you're not theirs to deal with any more. That's strange to me, and it bothers me, and maybe it shouldn't but it sort of does?

I had the support of a psychologist for the past year, and then she left to go on maternity leave, and I cried on my last appointment with her because the idea of not being able to talk to her about my issues any more unsettled me...and it took a long time for me to agree to see a psychologist, so when I found out she was leaving I was disappointed, I truly was. And I thanked her for being such a big help to me and she thanked me instead, for talking to her and I guess from every one she sees she learns and I like to think she learnt from me as I learnt from her.

My new hospital are savage, they do random blood glucose tests at the same time as checking your HbA1c...and they try to take blood from your ear lobe...since when was that even a thing? No body is coming near my ear lobes with a needle and drawing blood from it...that's what my fingers are for. Why would I even agree to having my ear pricked, it hurts enough on my hands!! Haha. I've heard nothing but good things about the hospital I'm about to move to, I'm not complaining, just comparing them to the diabetes team that I've been so fortunate to have for the past 6 years, and I suppose I have an expectation that may or may not be fulfilled by them.

In the past couple of months my insulin requirements have reduced, because I no longer experience the same raging hormones that I did as a "younger teenager", and as I have grown, so has my diabetes. And so this year, in 2016 my diabetes is fleeing the nest like a baby bird, and it's up to me to keep it flying.

-Ellie

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