August 14, 2013

An Unplanned August Group Meeting – Part 1

Part 1 of 2 parts

The only persons unable to attend because of travel were Jason and Brenda. The topic was all about Barry's friend, George. George was happy to meet everyone and really felt he was in the honor chair, which in a way he was. It was because of him that we were having this meeting and to welcome him to Iowa. He was full of questions and why we stayed together as a group.

Tim explained that we had started out as a group of three originally and had added the next three quite by accident later. Tim and I had been in our favorite restaurant and waiting for Jason, and just before we had started a conversation with Lilly and her mother, Jason had called to say he could not make it. The three of us had met together the prior week. That day was probably the most interesting as Lilly had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that morning and was full of questions. Tim and I had done our best to answer. Her mother was also asking questions that were more difficult to answer, but we did not fumble although we had to correct ourselves a few times.

We had been getting together every Saturday or Wednesday since the first of the year, depending on our schedules. This was just after the Memorial Day holiday two years ago, and Jason was not able to make it back in time. So Tim and I had been discussing getting together on Saturday as well. We did get together that Saturday and because the restaurant was busy, we offered our table to three others. As they were getting ready to be seated, the table next to it opened up as the people were leaving. Little did we realize as we were talking that we had ears on us.

It was Brenda, Rob, and Max that ware seated at the next table. Finally, Brenda got up, came to our table, and asked if the three of us had diabetes. We all answered yes, and Brenda turned to the others and asked them to move the two tables together. Yes, Brenda is that way and that is why we appreciate her. After introductions, we finished our food and started to talk. The three of them had been getting together on Fridays for a month and that was why we had not seen each other previously. We decided that Fridays could work for us, but they felt that Saturdays would be better for all of us.

Tim suggested that we exchange email addresses and telephone numbers to make it easier to stay in contact. Brenda did say that the month of August would be out for her as she had plans. Max and Rob said they would be available if we wanted to get together so we set up a schedule for the rest of June, July and into August and that the following week we would confirm if we would be able to attend. The following week we agreed to the schedule with Jason also being absent for two weeks during early August.

Allen said the rest had joined as they were discovered and or needed help as Ben and he had. He said Barry could fill in the rest later as we should get to the situation with George that had transpired the previous Wednesday. Barry agreed and admitted he had been slow on the understanding of why his friend had been using generalities in his discussion about diabetes. He said that finally about noon on Wednesday, he started asking some specifics about George's diabetes and that is when he discovered that his friend knew essentially nothing about his diabetes. He did not even get copies of his lab reports, have any testing supplies, and did not know his A1c results.

His friend could only say that the doctor was concerned that his A1c was climbing again, but climbing from what. George spoke up and said he had never been shown anything about testing so he did not even realize there was a way to monitor his own blood glucose. All he could remember was the pain when his doctor's nurse pricked his finger as she did it on the tip of a finger. He continued that Ben showing him how he did it eased it somewhat for him and he finally allowed Barry to prick his finger and he said he felt no pain. After the reading, they had tried to call Tim, but he was not answering his phone, so they called Allen and waited for him to arrive.

Barry said he was at a loss about what to do and did not do anything until Allen arrived. Tim explained that he was in a meeting and had his cell phone off. Allen said he had called me and I was on the interstate and would call when I could get off and be able to talk. Allen said he was ready then and was happy that I had my thinking cap on and by that time, they had contacted George's insurance and knew what he could be reimbursed for and would be covered under his insurance. They knew from taking to the local doctor that he was out of A1c kits and that we needed to find one. Since I was still not at the town where we see the endocrinologist, I said I would have Allen call there first, ask some questions, and have a prescription for the test strips. By the time I arrived, Allen had the information and I was able to obtain the A1c kit and get the test strips and head home.

After I arrive, Allen and Barry took George to the doctor appointment. Ben and I had time to talk and Ben had said this was all new to him and we all had to learn from this. I agreed and said this was something we all needed to know and we had better learn from this. George spoke up and said he now understands how serious his A1c is and that an 11.3% is not good. He said the doctor was very emphatic about him going on insulin and was able to get an appointment with an endocrinologist about two miles from where he lived. Therefore, he would be leaving earlier that he had intended, but he would be back one more time this year when he had the insulin down and knew how to handle it. He thanked everyone for what we had done and said he came to the right place to go on vacation.

We talked about what could have been done better and why things like this needed to be built on for future instances. Allen and I both talked about the VA and George asked how he could sign up. I said I am not familiar with his state, but he needed to look up where the nearest VA office was located and start asking questions. Ben said why not go to our local VA office and ask if they knew whom to contact. Allen and I both agreed and told Ben and Barry to do this early Monday. Allen said that with the VA he should be able to obtain his testing supplies at no cost and pay less for his insulin and other prescription medications. George then stated he sure picked the right place to go for a vacation and then asked what else he should know.

Several of us needed to leave and Tim said he would cover as much as he had time for and then send out an email for George to read when he arrived home. George said you would do that. All of us said yes, that is how we also help each other. He asked George for his email address and said he would see to it that until he came back, he would be included in the emails. Then he could decide if he wanted to continue. He would be welcome to ask questions and we would do our best to answer them. Barry said he would explain how it worked and to send him the questions and he would distribute them where he felt best. Therefore, those of us needing to leave left and they continued talking.

Tim said they covered many topics and George was asking how much research we did and Barry said he would help him get started after he had his appointment and was comfortable using insulin. Tim had said that was probably best so that he could concentrate on his health first and then start his research. Tim told George to take care of himself first and the rest would come. That was why he would be sent emails that everyone received and he could ask any questions he had.

Barry sent out an email saying that Monday morning he had found out whom to contact for getting his VA application started after his endocrinologist appointment. He stated that George was on his way home.

No comments: