The world, and healthcare, looked quite different 30 years ago when a Jefferson man, Freddie German, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Now, after decades of advancements, this retired electrician continues to rely on the one constant and vital link in controlling his disease—the Diabetes Management team at Greene County Medical Center.
After his initial diagnosis, Freddie was immediately enrolled in diabetes education to help him learn about his treatment options and to teach he and his wife, Jolene, about insulin, blood sugar levels and how to react. “That was scary when it first started,” he said, “because they gave you pamphlets and pamphlets and then pamphlets to tell you how to read the pamphlets.” According to Freddie, it was overwhelming and mind boggling.
However, they were very thorough and those pamphlets were only the first step in helping meet his individual needs. The booklets and the expertise of the Greene County Medical Center staff is how Freddie began to manage his day-to-day life. “Diabetes is a horrible, horrible disease, I mean it actually controls your life,” said Freddie. “You just have to learn how to control it. Manage it.”
Over the past three decades, mammoth strides have been made in science and technology. Freddie cites his advancement to the use of a continuous glucose monitor and a tandem pump as an example of how the team helped define and implement a personal solution. He is so happy, he would recommend patients discuss the combination as an option. “This thing is an external pancreas,” Freddie said, pointing to his pump and monitor. “If a person is on insulin support, if there’s any way they can get on a pump, jump on it.”
There is a lot more to diabetes management than machines, he added. It takes the human connection; the support of class participants and collaboration with a one-of-a-kind medical team who has the information you need to know. “They're there for you. I don't always have the answer, but they know where to get the answer. They are your encyclopedia,” he explained. “There were very few things I’ve ever asked them that they didn't have an immediate answer for, and if they didn't, it didn't take them long and they got back with you with the answers that you needed and wanted.”
Freddie has evolved from meeting with his team once a week to a couple of times a year…and he doesn’t see himself changing that anytime soon. This schedule, he said, allows him to stay attuned to the latest medical and technological breakthroughs, at least until a cure is found. “It’s a shame that we can shoot a rocket out to hit a meteorite, [but] we can’t get rid of diabetes,” Freddie said.
Until scientists find that cure, Freddie said he will be staying right here at home, with the consistently exceptional care he receives from the Greene County Medical Center Diabetes Management team.
For more information on diabetes education and management, contact your healthcare provider or call Diabetes Management at 515-386-0469.