May 3, 2014

Helping Others

This last weekend, on April 26, I was shopping for a few groceries and I met a person I knew had type 2 diabetes. I knew this person was older than I am and was not prepared to his first question. He asked what my A1c on the latest VA report happened to be. I told him and since I knew he had been to the VA and had an appointment ahead of me, I was aware that his had not been good as I could hear him sputtering to his doctor as he was leaving his appointment.

He admitted his had been over 10.0%, but would not give me the actual result. He then stated that his doctor had wanted to put him on insulin, but he said he had refused. I asked if he had neuropathy and he said it was just starting. I asked if he was having vision problems and he finally admitted that he had not been to an eye doctor in several years.

He said that the doctor had prescribed two additional medications to take and that he would be starting a sulfonylurea and Januvia when his prescriptions arrived in the mail. These would be in addition to the metformin which would be reduced from the maximum to 1000 mg – 500 mg two times per day. He did not know the dosage of the other two medications and would know when he received the medications.

Then I started asking him questions about the number of carbs he was eating per meal and he said about what the registered dietitian had ordered him to eat. He said his wife was knowledgeable there and he relied on her for this. At that point, I became difficult and asked him if he even had an eye doctor. He admitted he did not. I asked him if later in the week a couple of us in our support group could stop by in the evening and talk to him and his wife.

When he was hesitant, I asked if Thursday would work. He continued not answering and I asked if he would give me his phone number so that I could talk with his wife and set up a time that would work for them. He finally gave me his phone number and said he would not be home until after 6:00 PM. I said I would call about 7:00 then and we parted company.

As soon as I arrive home, I called Allen and relayed the information to him. Allen asked if we were becoming advisors to too many people. Allen said he was also working with Barry to help another person. When I gave Allen the name, he said this was the person Barry had asked for help with, and I said I would back off then, as he did not need so many working with him. Allen did say his wife was the registered dietitian and was creating the carbohydrate problem.

I then told Allen to keep me out of the discussion and I would tell him that he was already working with two of our members. Allen said okay, and that Barry was a good friend of the person and had good relations with the family. Allen continued that Barry was the person who was working with his wife to bring down the amount of carbs and was better at this than even he was. Allen did say that Barry knew what his A1c had been and that it was not good. His last two had been very high so he was not surprised that the VA had added more medications.

I asked Allen to check on the number of test strips they were allowing now that he was on a sulfonylurea. Allen said he would and he hoped it would be more as they were not allowing sufficient on metformin. I said with both being retired they probably could not afford extra test strips. Allen said he would discuss this with Barry and see what needed to be done. I said I would send him and Barry a URL for a blog that might become helpful. With that, we ended our conversation.

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