April 4, 2012

What Are Friends For When Diabetes Is in the Mix?

In the group of us that meet to discuss diabetes, most of us are (6 of 8) on insulin. The latest addition to our group asked why we were testing so often. We had answered many of his questions before, but this time we knew he was fishing for a different answer. I asked Allen about the purpose behind the question this time. He stated that two in his group were only testing infrequently and generally just before they were to have their A1c test.

We knew that they are allowed two test strips per day, and asked if he knew if they were using them all within a few days. He said he was not sure what was happening. I ask Allen how many were eligible for Veterans benefits and he stated all of them. We found out that only Allen was actually receiving VA medical benefits. The rest were a question mark and he was not sure why they were not receiving benefits. I knew what Allen and I were going to be doing. I told Allen to find out where they had their DD 214 forms and we would accompany them to the local VA office.

In the process, we contacted Sue to help her brother. Sue said she was sure her brother was already on the VA roles, but that she would check and find out what was happening. I asked her to let us know as soon as she could. The next day, she called me and said he was, but for two years had not submitted a means test and he was denied benefits. She also stated something that would interest all of us. Her brother was slowly losing his eyesight and his last A1c had been above 9.0. Sue would not say exactly what it was, but the cause of her brother’s depression was now known. Sue was sure that we were on the right track in getting him reestablished with the VA.

I asked if she would help and she asked what she could do. I explained what should be needed and gave her the telephone number of the VA office where she could check what may be needed to get her brother back under VA benefits. She then asked if anyone would be able to help with her brother and I said I would talk to Allen and he would talk to the other two who had assisted him. She said that would be okay and appreciated if they would contact her.

A couple of days later, Sue contacted me and said she had the information needed to get her brother reinstated for VA benefits. She stated Allen was to accompany her to the VA office after she, her brother, and Allen had been to the attorney's office. Sue said that her middle brother (also with type 2 diabetes) was in the process of moving back and would help in the future. They were going to the Attorney's office to have a general power of attorney executed for her and her middle brother and a medical power of attorney for them also with Allen on the medical power for times when the other family members were unavailable.

I expressed my support for what was being done and hoped that everyone in that group would soon be able to have VA benefits and this should lessen the hardship they were feeling. Sue said that she was also going to work with the other group to encourage regular and more testing. She did state that her eldest brother was now on insulin and they both would be sitting in when possible with our group since so many were on insulin. I said that would be great as there is a lot to be learned.

The experiences of the last couple of weeks have been good for all of us and we have all learned from the depression and testing problems. We have been doing a volume of research to know what we need to discuss and answer questions about for Sue and her eldest brother. We are all waiting to meet her second brother.

Allen did say that the VA applications have been filed for everyone now and it is just a waiting game.

Please understand that the names are not their real names and done only to make reference easier to follow. This is the agreement with my fellow members of the group and I will abide by their wishes.

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