If you read this blog (though I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t), you probably know that my mother has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed several years ago, and I would like if I said it’s been an easy road: it hasn’t.
Along this journey, before yesterday, she has had at least three “leaps” we’ve been able to observe:
- That “OMG” moment, when it became obvious to me that something was off: I had dropped her off in church, to pick her up an hour later. After mass was over, I kept waiting and waiting for her, to be surprised by her phone call… from her home. She had gotten a ride back home, because she had forgotten I was outside. Soon after that day, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- She had been living for nearly two years in an Independent Living facility, and some things pointed at the need for her to get more assistance in her day-to-day, things that resulted in her taking less care about herself than we were used to see her do. When I spoke with the Executive Director at her residence, she told me we needed to find my mom a place where she could get Memory Care… she was taking a “leap” into a new level of care.”
- For a few months now, more often than not she doesn’t remember I am her son. She still associates me with someone “familiar” (a kind gentleman, and at times, she is sure I am her younger brother). The first time that this happened, it was very hard to accept…
Yesterday, a new “leap” happened. I was used to her repeating herself: conversations with my mom have been cyclical for quite some time. The same topic comes back over and over. But yesterday, she started repeating words and short phrases, over and over. For example, she would tell me:
“Señor, señor, señor, señor, señor…” (“Sir, sir, sir, sir, sir…”)
This is all very fresh, and not easy. We will continue to be there for her. But it’s not easy… it’s not easy… it’s not easy…
If you have been to a diabetes conference in the past few years, there’s a good chance that you have seen this slide as part of a presentation.
This was a slide I first put together a few years ago, to convey a “back of the envelope” calculation I had done that essentially amounted to the percentage of time that a person with diabetes spends in the company of a medical professional in the course of a year. My estimate had all along been 0.1%. Today, I took the time to validate this looking for hard data from CDC, the American Journal of Managed Care, and other reputable sources, to REALLY back this finding.
I am sad to report that I was wrong: the percentage is even lower!
So this is what I searched:
Now, the math for the year 2010:
- Minutes in a year = 24 x 60 x 365 = 525,600
- Minutes in a year x number of people with diabetes, PWD = 10,932,480,000,000 (10.9 trillion)
- Minutes in a year spent by PWD in visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments = 37.3 million x 20.7 minutes = 772,110,000
- Percentage of a year’s time spent by PWD in visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments = 0.00007062532929 = 0.007%!
So I have been GROSSLY overestimating the number all these years!
What does this mean?
99.993% of the time, a person with diabetes is self-managing their condition on their own. Think about it… most people would call that nearly 100% of the time.
Most of the time diabetes discussion focuses strongly on a single type: type 1 or type 2. But as best as I know, this is the only podcast where the voice of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is captured and shared in response to a variety of issues that everyone with diabetes is affected by.
In Everybody Talks, Mike (type 1 diabetes) and Corinna (type 2 diabetes) discuss and react to interviews with the weekly guests that Diabetes Hands Foundation interviews. Theirs are refreshing friendly voices that accompany on my commute. I only wish they had his daily, but I will settle for the weekly podcast for now!
So, if you haven’t heard Mike and Corinna, subscribe to Everybody Talks for free on the iTunes Store. And, if you have already heard it, and liked it: take a minute to review it and tell others about it, so that more people touched by diabetes may learn about it.