This guest post is by Linda Bethea, who may be more familiar to you as Ibeth of Nutsrok blog and also the her new book Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad.
Linda had a long career as a nurse and worked with patients and their families who were undergoing dialysis. Working so closely with patients and their families provided Linda with the perfect opportunity to experience the impact family and friends made on a patients will to continue to fight the challenge of illness.
Some basic statistics on diabetes make for grim reading and these have been updated since last year with an alarming increase in numbers. There is an estimated 415 million people living with Diabetes worldwide. This does not include those that are currently pre-diabetic and at extremely high risk of developing disease. In the United States there are approximately 45 million diabetics and in Europe 60 million.
In twenty years’ time it is estimated that worldwide the figure of people living with diabetes will be 642 million.
Many of those suffering diabetes are in under-developed countries where a staple diet does not provide adequate nutrition and often white starchy foods are the only nourishment available. But, we in western countries really have no excuse. It is the ‘white’ diet that is killing us. Industrialised foods that have been chemically enhanced, contain no nutrients and to make them acceptable taste wise, padded out with table sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Additionally our exercise levels have dropped off radically in the last 30 years with two car families, remote controls, computers and fear of children playing safely in the streets. If our children are getting no exercise and are eating sugar in large quantities then they will make up the additional 225 million diabetics in the world in 20 years’ time.
A little of what you fancy does you good… I am with you on that one and I love chocolate along with most people. But instead of under 10 teaspoons of sugar a day most of us are consuming between 20 and 60 spoons a day depending on how much industrial food we eat.
You think that you are in charge of your diet and health… Sorry not so… it is the food manufacturers who have you hooked.
Although this is not specific to women’s health I think it is important to remember that we as women do tend to do the food shopping and preparing and as such do have some control about what members of our family are eating, at least at home.
Here are some interesting facts on Diabetes. As always I am very happy to help anyone who has further questions or would like to break the sugar habit.
Now over to Linda for her excellent post on diabetes and the support provided by family.
It Takes a Family by Linda Bethea
Sixty-two-year old Bessie was a delight. Even though diabetes had robbed her of her kidneys, she had a bright outlook. She had her difficulties, but after her daughter, Martha and her children moved in when she started dialysis, they all managed pretty well. Bessie and Martha had worked together at the chicken processing plant until Bessie started dialysis. Sissy, Martha’s twenty-three year old daughter, and her three-year-old girl, Martie, lived with them as well. Between Bessie’s Social Security Disability check and the younger women’s paychecks, they covered the rent, car note, utilities, and groceries. They all pitched in on childcare.
Martha had a “spell” at work one day. She was found to have had a mild stroke due to her longstanding, untreated high blood pressure as well as Chronic Kidney Disease. She had been under a doctor’s care a few years back, but didn’t feel bad, so she never went back and got her prescriptions refilled after losing her insurance. She was told she might develop kidney failure at some point if she could no longer be medically managed. Of course, this was quite a blow, knowing well the problems her mother faced on dialysis. She was extremely concerned about keeping her job. She went back to work, under a doctor’s care, determined to optimize her health. She and Sissy walked regularly, a practice that helped both with weight loss and blood pressure control. Of course, Grandma Bessie encouraged them, not wanting Martha or Sissy to go down the same road she had.
About this time, Sissy found she was pregnant. Sissy’s Fiancé, Joey, as well as his whole family was delighted to be welcoming a new baby, but very concerned when Sissy was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and hypertension. Immediately, she was put on a low-salt, no-concentrated sweets diet, and trained to do regular blood sugar checks at home. With regular follow-up, her glucose and blood pressures stabilized. Martha and Bessie helped her with her diet, making sure she had the foods she needed, since she had little time for shopping with her work schedule, child, and busy life.
Joey stepped up to the plate, with financial and emotional support. Both families were regular churchgoers and received tremendous help from their church family, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, offers for childcare, and assistance with rides to doctor’s visits and dialysis. The extra expenses would have wreaked havoc on their already tight budget. In the past, all three of these women had been staunch supporters of others in need in the church family, so they were appreciative of the help, knowing they’d return the favor sometime.
The family thrived, despite their limited resources and serious health issues. Martha, with her family’s encouragement, made her own health care and diet and issue. Sissy’s income was low enough that she qualified for the Medicaid Program to cover her obstetric and general health care costs as well as the WIC nutritional program for herself, the expected baby, and Little Martie. Little Martie, Sissy’s daughter hadn’t had medical care, except in the emergency room since she was six weeks old. She started regular checkups, caught up her immunizations, and qualified for a nutritional program. With her re-entry into the system, Martie was entered into an Early Childhood Education Program which she loved. This gave Great-Grandma, Grandma, and Mom time to concentrate on other things. They all worked with her on the work she so proudly brought home.
Sissy and Joey married and moved their growing family into Bessie’s house. Bessie and Martha moved into senior citizen housing, just around the corner. They were all able to maintain their close family ties as the three families worked together.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in our country, followed by hypertension. Most often high blood pressure goes hand in hand with diabetes. Patients are often diagnosed with both at the same time. Both are familial problems. Adult Onset or Type II Diabetes occurs when the pancreas loses its ability to effectively produce insulin, but can be stimulated with oral medications. It is usually associated with obesity. Families quite often share the same dietary habits, leading to patterns in families.
Type II Diabetes is just as serious as Type I diabetes, or Insulin Dependent Diabetes, leading to same problems if not controlled. Dietary control, blood glucose monitoring, blood pressure control, and regular exercise under a doctor’s care go a long way toward optimizing health. Getting the whole family on board is key.
©LindaBethea July 31st 2015.
About Linda Bethea
I live in Louisiana and now that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog all have a kernel of truth, perhaps mixed in with a healthy serving of imagination, embroidery, and if necessary to make a point, outright confabulation. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent. My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.
About Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad
Very nicely woven tales of one family through the eyes of one girl born in depression era and still alive. She not only shares the stories but also helped illustrate the book. The author paints a very vivid yet poignant picture of what went on in lives of ordinary Americans during depression, such that it seems that you actually seeing the scenes happen rather than just reading.
Even the epilogue is a memorable one in its own way. Kathleen, now in her eighties says this about not remarrying after death of her husband decades ago, “There’s nothing wrong with men. I just don’t want to marry another one. They keep breathing in and out!”
Those who whine all the time about money issues for no good reason should read the book to see how America survived the depression and came out stronger because of great Americans like the heroine in this book.
My thanks to Linda for this article which perfectly illustrates that it does indeed Take A Family. We would be delighted if you would share. thanks Sally