March 12, 2014

Why Is the Other F-word Not Often Discussed?

The other f-word you ask. That would be fear. Then you add the d-word – diabetes – and people can develop brain freeze and do nothing – the other d-word - denial. Then we have the s-word – secrecy - that seems to take over and people just don't want to take care of themselves or allow family members to help.

The above is a prescription for trouble and letting the complications gain the upper hand. This is happening more often than it should and several of our diabetes support group have lost friends in this situation. Allen has lost two friends in the last year and now A.J. has lost a relative.

Tim had heard the news and suggested we have a meeting about this. Everyone agreed and we had a short meeting on Saturday afternoon, March 8. Everyone was present and Susan was welcomed as a member. A.J. thanked us for our support, as he was not sure what to do, as he had not been able to make a difference in his cousin's life. His cousin's wife had asked for his help and he had tried.

Then Brenda said she had lost a friend about 6 months ago and had not said anything.  Tim said that is why he had asked for the meeting. He said we need to figure out how we as a group can support each other and at the same time use intervention to help these people. I said we need to explore several avenues. I said that Dr. Tom would be here shortly and we should start with his recommendations.

Allen said that would be a good place to start. I added that there was another person that could help and I would see what Dr. Tom thought about that. I said this is a person, who specializes in interventions and he may be able to teach us what we need to learn or what we should do.

At that point, Dr. Tom arrived and Tim filled him in about the problems we were encountering. Dr. Tom said he was not sure how to handle this and I suggested the doctor I had spoken about earlier. Dr. Tom said this was probably the only person we should consider. I said I had a question since I felt he wanted to charge us for any help. Dr. Tom asked if he could call him and we agreed. He excused himself, stepped outside the room, and called.

When he came back, he said I was right and he would charge us for teaching us how to do a proper intervention. Even Dr. Tom seemed upset and said to give him a few days and he would see if there was anyone else that would help us. He said that this should be something that should be done without charge. He said that since he had talked to the doctor, several names had come to him that may be of use and he wanted to check them out before we talked to them.

Tim said this was okay, but we felt that the sooner the better as three of the group has lost friends and relatives. I then added that I had lost three friends that had stopped dialysis when their kidneys had caused dialysis. I said that I was not familiar with what had caused one to arrive at his condition until at that point. The third had gone into denial, his kidneys became bad, and he just refused to go to dialysis after the first time. One was not from diabetes, but from an auto accident, which I was told after his death.

Dr. Tom said let him see what he could do and if there was anyone that would speak to us without charging. Allen said we should consider bringing in the other groups and everyone agreed. Dr. Tom said this would be good and was needed and now he would work to find someone to speak to the groups. Dr. Tom asked Tim to call him late Friday if he or Allen had not received a call.

Tim thanked everyone for coming on short notice and for considering this important. He said to keep time available, as this would probably be our March meeting if Dr. Tom was successful. Dr. Tom asked if March 22 or 29 would be acceptable – depending on weather. Everyone agreed and the meeting ended.

2 comments:

Denise Elliott said...

Working with a qualified mental health specialist can be really important for anyone with a chronic illness because it is a lifetime job. This is particularly true for diabetes since there are well documented connections between diabetes and depression, and depression makes doing anything at all - much less everything needed to keep diabetes well controlled - so very difficult. I don't know how things are in other countries but there's such a stigma about mental health concerns here in the U.S. that too many people try to "tough it out" instead of seeking professional help. You wouldn't, presumably, "tough it out" with a broken leg, and depression or anxiety or whatever the mental health challenge involved is no less a valid condition than a broken limb, it's just not visible. (Sorry, I get a little heated about this topic!)

Bob Fenton said...

I don't care who people work with or see, but letting denial rule is dangerous. We have people that just won't let others help them and they won't fight the complications and give up.

One of our members worked hard to get through to a person, but was told it was none of his business. His wife even tried to get him help with a mental health doctor, but he would not give out his insurance information which the wife did not have access to.

I agree, being heated about this is a good thing. Too few become concerned until it is too late. Having an invisible disease has its disadvantages.