So much of being understood and heard is determined by how an idea is presented. "Know your audience" is one of the first rules of good presentation. With that idea in mind, I drew this silly chart as a way I might communicate to my doctor or nurse about how I was feeling about my diabetes. There are so many factors that go into the answer to that question that it's hard to explain succinctly and with clarity at a short doctors appointment or phone call. When I see my doctor we have only so much time to talk. We review my latest A1C, discuss lows and highs, check my feet, you know, the usual stuff. If we have any time left after going over all my numbers, my doctor will sometimes ask how I'm feeling about my diabetes overall. But because it's at the end of our visit, there's never much time to go into any depth to really answer his question. I usually say something like "I'm ok" or "this is frustrating but I can handle it", and then we're done and out I go back into the world.
But I know from personal experience how much mood, attitude and feelings play in my approach to my diabetes management. Feelings have real impact yet they're not quantifiable or precise or particular like a reading from a blood test or an A1C. So much of my approach around diabetes is about balancing, about landing somewhere on a scale between 2 places, 2 opposites, 2 variables. This drawing was a beginning attempt to capture how that might look in a picture rather than as a vague idea. If understanding has to do with presentation, would my audience, those amazing medical, clinical, data focused partners in my care, consider my feelings and attitude as a part of my overall control assessment differently if I shared it with them this way? Since my attitude and mood has such direct impact on my diabetes control, why shouldn't it be expressed in a language and format that makes sense to the medical world I have to interact with? And most importantly, would this added clarity around such a key factor in care mean that we would both have more information to act on? I think it'd be interesting to bring something like this to my next doctor's visit. I like the idea of interjecting feeling and attitude into the management equation to broaden the conversation beyond the usual clinical, numerical data points. At the end of the day, feedback, context, information, clarity and understanding can only help. And a little more help is always good.