Yesterday, it came to me like a suffocating wave–I NEED to know other diabetics. The reality that no one close to me understands what I’m going through was weighing heavily on my mind. Since I don’t have the telephone number of any diabetics, I don’t have anyone to talk to who can say “I understand what you mean.”
Finally, in the midst of my thoughts, I remembered a recent visit to the eye doctor. I saw a sign on the door advertising a 7-week program for diabetics held at Better Health. Although it was too late for me to participate, I snapped a picture of the flyer with my cell phone before leaving. I decided to call.
The friendly-sounding woman who answered the phone explained the 7-week program and provided the dates for the next one. I felt like saying, I need assistance now, but I didn’t. I asked if they had other events. To my surprise, the answer was “Yes.” She explained that they have weekly clinics.
I wasn’t quite sure what a “clinic” was, but I told her that I’ll be there tomorrow. When I arrived, I saw a room full of diabetics talking amongst themselves, being jovial, and waiting for the clinic to begin.
“OMG,” I thought. I joined the group at the table and sat down. But, just being in that space (a room full of people who know what it’s like to hear the words “You are a diabetic”) was overwhelming. I started crying. I tried to conceal my emotions, but I couldn’t. When it was my turn to introduce myself, tears were the only reply I could offer. And, the group offered compassion in return until I was able to regain my composure.
During the clinic, I learned more about diabetic medications, met a few people, got my glucose and blood pressure checked by a nurse, and had an awesome conversation with Melissa (the Health Education Coordinator). To my amazement, these services were all free. This diagnosis has not only been physically and emotionally taxing, but it’s also been financially exhausting. So, to know that there is a place that provides educational training for diabetics along with a few medical health services at no cost is a real blessing.
The most touching event of the night happened when a woman at the table asked, “When were you in the hospital?” I told her two months ago. She continued to say that she was there the day I was admitted. She arrived before me (also suffering from high glucose), but the staff admitted me ahead of her because (as she said) “You were bad off that day.” While the picture from that day illustrates jut how ill I was–it takes things to a whole other level when a stranger remembers seeing me months later and can describe the seriousness of my affliction. As she said, “You are blessed.” I nodded in appreciation and recognition that I am still blessed and her sharing that with me was living proof.
Today marks exactly two months since my diagnosis and I’m sure if at least one person had informed me about the services offered at Better Health, I would have been in a better emotional space. But there’s no since in crying over spilled milk (I have bigger things to cry over), discovering Better Health has been the perfect 2-month gift and I intend to visit again.