August 15, 2013

An Unplanned August Group Meeting – Part 2

Part 2 of 2 parts

After thinking about the events surrounding what we were able to accomplish for George, I felt it would be good for all of us to have some points to refer to and for George to consider when he finds friends that have type 2 diabetes. Do not push unless you are a good friend and they do not balk at your offer for help. Even then, you may need to take time to gain their confidence. It does not always work as easily as it did for George or like it did for A.J.(first of four parts). Even the person from this blog has refused help, but his wife is talking to Tim and me rather frequently. He just does not want to take ownership of his diabetes and his wife is working patiently in the background to do what she can to encourage him.

Points for helping friends with type 2 diabetes:

#1. Determine what their level of diabetes knowledge is. This may require some time if the person is secretive. In the case of Barry's friend, it was just that he was not aware and he had not been told or received any education. We as a group were also fortunate that everything happened as it did and we had the resources to take action. Even Tim sent a letter from the group thanking the doctor for his efforts.

#2. Assess what they have been told by their doctor. Our case was easy as George's doctor had basically left him in the dark and had not given him any resources to help guide him. For some people this may take time, as they do not wish to talk about what is between their doctor and him/her. This is where we sometimes may need to back off and just let them know we are available to answer questions and that we have a support group available to call on.

#3. Evaluate what they are doing. Have them explain what they do for their daily care and then determine what they can afford to do differently. Explain the different lifestyle changes to them and where they might be able to make beneficial changes.

#4. Determine how insurance is helping and if necessary what it will cover. This may be an area that will be difficult to draw out, but if the person is not getting supplies, it may be necessary to strongly encourage the person to discuss this more openly.

#5. Is there anything that we can do immediately. We were fortunate with George that he was willing to let his friend help him. In this case, he needed to know his A1c and to obtain some testing supplies. He was very appreciative and surprised when he tested by how little pain he was having. He even stated that he would be buying extra test strips since he could afford them to be able to test more frequently and felt that this would decrease once he learned more.

#6. Talk about self-monitoring of blood glucose and its value. Barry told us the talk that he had with George about self-monitoring of blood glucose and how to interpret the readings. He even said he would be combing my blogs for reading material for him and George was surprised at my blog when he read a couple of blogs. Barry included the URL in an email to George.

Information that may be helpful for friends and others:

#1. Talk about medic alert jewelry and senior alerts if they live alone. This blog has this information and links to other information. Tim did cover this after a few of us needed to leave.

#2. Find out if they might qualify for VA benefits. For people that have served in the military, this is one benefit that can really save the day for some. If you are uncertain, contact your local Veteran Affairs Office listed in your phone book and find out when you qualify and how to apply.

#3. Find out if they are interested in self-education and research. I do encourage people to self-educate themselves, but not everyone is interested and many will not. Relying on the doctor is not the best thing to do, as there are many things only you can do to maintain your health with diabetes.

#4. Discuss locating financial aid and develop a list of sources. Many medication and diabetes supply manufacturers do have assistance programs. You need to contact them and follow their directions to receive assistance. I am still collecting information on this.  One of the great sources is on David Mendosa's site at this link.

#5. Be available to answer questions. Often it is difficult to get people to ask questions because they honestly have no idea of what they need to ask. A few are bold and ask a question not knowing how it will be answered. What can be discouraging is receiving questions that are stated in an attempt to elicit the answer the person asking desires to hear. I know these people and they get the answer they did not want. At least most of the people that are aware of our group are asking questions they want an honest answer they can use.

#6. Discuss food plans and talk about different types of plans. Here again Tim covered this with George and there was more questions. Even Ben and Barry had a few questions. Since there are so many food plans, it is often difficult to know what plan is best. I can only suggest using your meter to discover what the different foods or combinations of foods do to your blood glucose levels. This is the way I developed my food plan, but with each person being unique, you need to develop your own.

After Tim, Allen, and I discussed the above, Allen stated there has to be more, but he would work on this and I could add those to a future blog.

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