March 24, 2014

Our March Support Groups Meeting

We heard from Dr. Tom that he had a speaker that was willing to work with us to teach us some of the things we could do for interventions. First he desired those of us that had lost friends or relatives to write as clear a picture about what our friends had done and what steps may have been taken to assist them. Tim had sent out an email to everyone asking for information from anyone that had lost someone. They were to write a detailed information description including our name and phone number for him to forward on to the speaker. This did not need to be about diabetes.

The meeting was scheduled for March 22. All the support groups were invited and we expected a full room of over 65 people. When we were ready for the meeting, we needed to delay the meeting for about 15 minutes while additional copies were produced for the overflow crowd of 82 people. Allen helped with the copying and Tim, Barry, and I passed out 3 by 5 cards. Tim asked for everyone that did not have an email address with him to complete the card with name, email address and support group name with leader. Tim explained that this was for notification of meetings and receiving information on group meetings such as this after the meeting.

As Barry and I collected the cards, Dr. Tom emphasized how important this meeting could be. Allen had asked about extra chairs while making copies and they were provided. Allen and our speaker handed out copies of the sheets our speaker would be using and Tim set up to display the sheets on the screen.

When the speaker was ready, Dr. Tom introduced him. The speaker looked at the sheet Tim had on the screen and said he appreciated that so many people were interested. He then suggested that after each sheet, he would take questions and a second meeting might be necessary if desired.

The first sheet had this:

#1. Know when to do an intervention.
#2. Know when to accept that the person did not want to prolong a treatment and wanted to die with dignity.
#3. Know what questions to ask and when.
#4. Look for clues in the answers to help guide you in providing help.
#5. Never use force or threats.
#6. Learn to read body language to know when to move forward and provide additional assistance.
#7. Make suggestions to help guide the discussion.
#8. Know when to use tough love.
#9. Know when to walk away.

Then the speaker started asking questions for the people to answer. His first question was which of these was the most important and the least important. Silence, so he picked one person to answer. The person answered that they were all equally important during an intervention. The speaker said you must have been in one and that he was right. He said that it could depend on the type of intervention and the illness, disease, or addiction that could make some of the points more or less important.

The speaker went on to say that for diabetes, all were equally important, but that number 2 was the point that most people forgot and that cancer was the same. He said that when family and other loved ones were involved, this was even more difficult.

He continued that an intervention can be done at any time, but for diabetes, the sooner the better. He asked how many had heard of denial and every hand went up. He said that as an audience of people with diabetes, he expected that. He said then that you should not be surprised when I tell you that some people stay in denial and develop varying levels depression at the same time.

He asked for a show of hands of the doctors present. There were six doctors present.
The speaker asked if any have been involved in diabetes interventions. Only two said they had been, and both people had severe depression. The speaker said those are the easiest to recognize. Those with minor depression are often able to mask this at doctor appointments.

The speaker suggested that the doctor may want to work with a group or a few of their patients that they trust and that are willing to step forward to work with patients. Then he stated that the doctors are your fist line of defense and need to help you know when an intervention or other action should be successful. Then he told the doctors he would work with them as a group, or individually, to help them recognize minor depression. He would also give them other signs to look for when a patient sees them or cancels for no reason.

The speaker said the floor was open for questions and questions he got. Even the doctors were asking questions. After over an hour of questions and answers, the speaker said I thought as much and a second session would be in order. Tim asked if April 12 would work as the following date was closer to Easter and the next was Easter weekend.

He asked for a show of hands and it was agreed. The speaker said he could do that and thanked the group for their interest. The doctors agreed and wanted everyone to be present at the next meeting. The speaker said to hang on to the handouts and read them in the coming weeks to be prepared for the next meeting. Tim ended the meeting of three plus hours. Most of our local groups wanted to talk and thanked us for including them.

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