Most of us who read this are privileged. The knowledge that We KNOW that we DON’T KNOW makes us privileged.
And hence each of us took a certain effort a few months or years back to start the process of good diabetes management. Some of us keep it simple through balance and moderation and some of us take steps to give up a few things. And then the nuances of the game take over. Our personal choices take over.
Over a period of time, we make things too complex for ourselves or start taking ourselves too seriously. We let our knowledge come in the way of simple living that is at the crux of good diabetes management. During such times, life does manage to give us another opportunity for intervention and correction. An opportunity to course-correct. An opportunity to go back to basics. This is what I encountered some time back.
Somebody who works for me, is around 40 is now diabetic. This person is in the prototypical sense of the word – financially much poorer than us. (I hate using these words, but need to, to set the context here). In her case the symptoms were a burning sensation during urination and wounds not healing. Her fasting is 120 and PP 151. I have asked her to do an hba1c so that further steps can be taken. Now here’s the deal.
There are a group of people who are our support system. Especially in India we can’t do without them. Who are they? Our maids, cooks, drivers, the guy who cleans our car every day, the guy who cleans our society every day. The list is endless.
How are they disadvantaged? When this lady went to a local doctor, here is what he told her. Don’t have tea. Reduce rice intake and take this medication for until the strip lasts. Now we all know why such instructions are given. “You will not understand-And hence I will not bother explaining it to you.” It is the prevailing attitude. While this works both ways, I don’t want to get into these dynamics in this article. But what I do want to say is that – this group of patients, do not even KNOW what THEY DO NOT KNOW. That is how they are poorer than you and me, and unfortunately so.
As a social need in our society, I propose an adoption theory. If you find that someone who is a support system to your household or family is diabetic, please do your best to help them. The help can be in any form…money, taking them to a good doctor, giving them one good meal a day if they are your house-help, but most importantly education. This could entail helping them understanding what diabetes is. Helping them understand their reports. Helping them understand the difference between low glycaemic index and high glycaemic index foods.
Money can also help. Imagine an additional load of INR 1000 per month, where the entire household income is just INR 12,000 or so. At our comfort levels we find it a drain, don’t we? If the need is insulin,inform them about Lions Club or other such trusts that will provide them free consultation and at least a certain quantum of medication / insulin free. Some of us have the privilege of quitting our jobs to take care of our health. They don’t. They are almost on a daily wage format. Imagine how difficult it will be for them if they do not understand the basics of diabetes management.
Again life follows Newton’s 3 rd law very well. What we give we will get back as goodwill and gratitude.(Being selfish here.) Adopt a (poor) diabetic and handhold them through their journey for as much as you can.
I also apologize for using words like the underprivileged, poor, support system, house-help etc. I hope in the near future our children will find more respectful words to describe other human beings.
By the way yesterday I got to know that her husband has also been diagnosed with diabetes.