Imagine with me that you schedule a doctor’s appointment for this sore on your foot that just will not go away. Your plan is to get the foot looked at, get some meds, and be on your way. All of a sudden, a nurse asks you if she can prick your finger to run your A1C. You’ve never even heard of this, but sure, you give her your hand. The next thing you know the doctor is coming in the room and telling you that you are diabetic. When they start talking about the symptoms of diabetes you realize that you had experienced many of them, but you had no clue those could mean you were a diabetic. The medical professionals tell you this is why the sore on your foot is taking so long to heal. They also tell you that insulin will be needed to control your blood sugars. Your head is swimming in all of this new information. After all, you just wanted a quick antibiotic, not a life changing diagnosis.
Now imagine that your provider appointment was over and you were left to figure all of this new diabetic care on your own. How overwhelmed would you be? Then add in to the mix the typical stressors the patients at His Hands face on a regular basis such as employment stability, housing, finances, transportation, single parenting, etc. A part of you would be tempted to run, if you were completely honest. To ignore your new diagnosis, to just keep dealing with life, and to wait until your health got “really bad” (maybe even bad enough to require in-patient hospitalization) to deal with the diabetes.
All these thoughts are running through your head when the clinic’s Diabetic Educator comes into the room. She acknowledges that hearing the diagnosis is hard. She gives you hope that diabetes does not have to control your life. She offers to teach you how to inject your insulin and test/log your blood sugars. You feel yourself start to settle a bit. You get the information you need to get started, and then she offers follow-up appointments to see your blood sugar levels, to talk about nutrition and exercise specific to your life, and to answer any questions you might have. So before you leave the clinic, you not only have the medications you need, but you have someone that you can direct your questions to while you are getting used to managing your diabetes. With a little help and support, you feel capable of learning what you need to do to take care of yourself, instead of ignoring the diagnosis until it hit crisis level.