Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

What I Want Her To Know About Diabetes

After a tough low this morning:

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test, or while I bolus, or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there with her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don’t get better, it’s not her fault. It’s not my fault, either. The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I’ll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn’t because she’s being “bad” or doing something wrong, but because I’m worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn’t mean that she will have it. But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we’ll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it’s like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once. That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this “diabetes,” her mommy is going to be just fine. Just fine.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Meet Marcel, The Diabetic Shell

Clara Barton Camp (CBC) is awesome — this is an indisputable fact. I talk about CBC all the time when I’m at conferences, because there is something so unique and incredibly supportive about knowing that your fellow campers are also insulin-dependent and aren’t afraid to show it.

Part of what makes CBC so cool is that it makes you feel like having diabetes is…sort of cool. Almost everyone at camp has it, so if your pancreas happens to work, it makes you the odd one out instead of part of the WYOI (wear your own insulin) crowd. What’s more empowering than taking an isolating chronic illness and making it the common — and intrinsically cool — thread? 

Which is why this video — a diabetes take on the Marcel the Shell with Shoes On — is so brilliant. It takes the Marcel the Shell concept and turns it on its diabetes head. And if you’re “in the know” with diabetes, it will make you laugh. If you listen closely, you’ll hear some of my favorite diabetes lines of all time. (Including, but not limited to: ”One time I licked a glucose tab and went into DKA.”)

It takes some serious (cotton?) balls to make this video. I love it. This video was created, voiced, and edited by the talented CBC team of Abby Bayer (who guest posted here), Savannah Johnson (her post is here), Allie D, and Alissa Carberry (I think it’s time for Alissa and Allie to post, since I have nothing to link to for them).  

What else can I say, other than this video had me in tears from laughing last night. Clara would be proud!

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Why Is Healthcare Reform So Complicated?

A common question that I get as a practicing physician with a public health background is: “Why is healthcare reform so complicated?” I feel that the question of who’s responsible for healthcare payment is not always an easy one to answer. An example from my most recent weekend on call covering an academic pediatric endocrinology practice demonstrates this point:

“Bill” is a 16-year-old African American male on state Medicaid insurance with type 1 diabetes since the age of 10.  He is followed regularly every three months by another colleague in the endocrinology clinic. Review of his last several clinic notes on the electronic medical record reveal that he has been in moderate control of his diabetes on NPH/Novolog twice-daily insulin regimen. Approximately one year prior he was changed to this insulin regimen due to concerns with missed insulin shots on another insulin regimen that provided superior control but which required four shots of insulin daily rather than the two shots daily on his current regimen. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »