You know you’re not at the endo when…

  • you write three different ways on the health information form that you have diabetes and the doctor still manages to miss seeing it until you remind him.
  • the doctor asks you what your blood sugar was that morning and you reply 83, and he responds with surprise at how LOW that number is.
  • he asks you if that 83 was your blood sugar before breakfast but then when you say yes he still asks you if you don’t eat any carbs at all to keep it that low (P.S. the answer is no, I just take insulin).
  • while shining a light deep into the back of your eyeball with his face inches from your own, the doctor remarks how you are too young to be on insulin.
  • you respond to the previous ignorant comment by saying that you have type 1 diabetes and that you have been on insulin since your diagnosis and that all the diet and exercise in the world is not going to make your pancreas start working again. And when he says, “Is that juvenile diabetes? So you were born with it?” you just agree because it is easier than explaining that you were diagnosed with “juvenile diabetes” as an adult.
  • at the end of the appointment the doctor tells you everything looks good. You respond by saying, “as long as you don’t see any diabetes in my eyes” and he has to take a second look because he FORGOT to look for evidence of retinopathy. ALL CLEAR!
  • the doctor doesn’t dilate your eyes because he could “see everything well enough” without doing it, and that will probably cause you to have a nagging twinge of worry until your next appointment even though your diabetes has been in good control for years and you have never had any evidence of any damage and even have a picture of your eye from your retinal screening at the Friends for Life conference in July.

Since the doctor didn’t actually dilate my eyes at this appointment, here are some classic shots from a few years ago.


I know I am not alone with the crazy stories of medical doctors who know shockingly little about diabetes, but this is near the top of my list for sheer number of ridiculous statements back to back.

P.S. Pictures of the new frames and sunglasses (a necessity in Florida) once they make it back from the lab. And if you want to read a story of a visit to an eye doctor you can trust, check out Jess’ post of her visit (yes we apparently do everything together).


  • OH MY GOSH, this cracked me up and made me want to yell at the same time. You are so right. When I saw the title of this blog, I thought, “Hmm..where is she going with this?” And then the 83 blood sugar, and the fact that you write diabetes at least 3 times on the sheet and they don’t notice (because they DON’T read those things)…would be an interesting experiment if I wrote about some very rare, life-threatening disease, or if I wrote that I had polio or scarlet fever, and see if they actually read the paper at all.

    Great blog. One of my new faves.

  • I think that I would be looking for a new eye doctor! The best one was that you are too young to take insulin. I have learned to write “type 1” next to the little check boxes that just say “diabetes.” I once had a stress test that my BS dropped low at the end of being on the treadmill. When I said that I thought my BS was low, the cardiologist that was sitting there staring at my records said, “oh, you are diabetic.” You think he would have looked at some basic info before turning the treadmill on.

    • The whole appointment I was thinking… well I guess I won’t be coming back to this eye doctor. My insurance had changed which is why I was there in the first place but there has to be somewhere better!

  • HAH! I love it!
    I had a call when I was pregnant from a nurse after I had my blood test done for A1C… She left a message on my voicemail saying “I just want to let you know that your BG is at 8.0 (144mg) and that’s NOT normal! Please show up at the ER as soon as you get my message!!!” I’d like them to review files before calling, too.

  • Oh, my goodness! I had trouble finding an opthalmologist that wasn’t like that, so I’m actually seeing an optometrist now. She didn’t go to medical school, but she’s way better at doing a diabetic eye exam. Go figure.

  • Yeah, these are all classics.

    When I was at the OB last week, the nurse told me my A1C was 6.5, “and that’s pretty high.” Bob and I literally LOL’ed in her face.

  • “You’re too young to be on insulin.” I think I would have needed divine intervention to keep my mouth shut. I know lots of people don’t know… but doctors… and eye doctors at that. C’mon people.

  • Wow. So scary. I know not all doctors are experts in diabetes but come on. I’ve personally realized how important eye exams are when it comes to PWDs so I hope you can find someone that is much better suited to examine you. I’m glad everything looks good though!

  • Funny, yes, but also extremely frustrating that it’s so real! For this reason I find it easier sometimes to not try to have a conversation related to my T1. Plus, I would prefer to avoid hearing horror stories about your grandmother’s brother’s wife’s stepdaughter who suffered bilateral below knee amputations and is now blind and no longer able to walk……really?

  • I read your diagnosis story. You have a gift for finding the suckiest doctors imaginable. I’m with everyone else, I couldn’t have kept my mouth closed.

  • I always wonder why doctor’s offices have you fill out the information sheet because no doctor I have ever been to has actually read it and I’ve seen a lot of doctors.

  • haha love this 🙂 i think the best one ive come across is im also underactive thyroid dx’ed in 2005 written in my notes etc, since then ive got a new consultant whos been my doctor for over 3 years now. it wasnt until october when i was doing work experience for him and he read my health decloration that says my health condition he knew i had underactive thyroid. in fact he tried to argue with me that i didnt have it (by saying my tsh test came back normal, thats true but i also take 100 mg to keep it that way) , until he pulled up my patient record lol he was like probably should of known that

  • I haven’t had my eyes dilated since I was a kid (three different MD’s). Something about “natural dilation” if I’m stuck in a dark room for 10 minutes.

  • On that last one, I went to an ophthal… (I really can’t spell that without assistance) who put the drops in my eyes, and without going into details, missed; one eye dilated, the other didn’t. He didn’t care and said he could see well enough without it. One of many reasons my past five eye doctor visits have been with different docs.

  • Yep, pretty much heard all of those. And even when diagnosed as a kid with diabetes, it’s sometimes just easier to just smile and nod than explaining away stupidity. Except when they press. And you have to say, “Why don’t you focus on my eyes, which is your area of expertise, and I’ll worry about the disease I’ve been living with longer than you’ve been practicing. M’k? Thanks.”

  • Had a very (very!) similar experience with an ophthalmologist in Canada. Only this guy said, “You have diabetes? Were you ever fat?”

  • Great post!! I have heard some doozies in my 19 years as a T1, too. Crazy! My craziest is while in the hospital and I was on injections at the time … they would inevitably bring my food before they brought my insulin. And back in the stone ages, you had to take your shot a strict 30 min before you eat.. so my food was always cold – and I would think “this is a hospital people!” lol

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