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Veteran Learning to Live with DiabetesPosted: Updated:
WESLACO – Diabetes become all too real when a loved one is diagnosed. The symptoms can vary. One of the impairments that can happen is a loss of eye sight.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reporter Angelo Vargas shared his account of helping his father obtain a new perspective after he was diagnosed with diabetes.
“I noticed myself becoming more and more thirsty and more and more dry mouth, and I was having this incredible pain in my stomach,” Vargas’s father, Angelo Vargas Sr., said.
Vargas said he tried to convince his father to go to the hospital. But he didn’t.
“We finally went and they found out that I had really high blood sugar to the point where it was almost acid like,” Vargas Sr. said.
The nurse told the family his blood sugar level was 704. A regular level for a man his size is between 100 and 120. He was immediately rushed to the hospital.
“After being diagnosed with pancreatitis and being taken to the hospital, they found out that I had diabetes,” Vargas Sr. said.
The family stayed in the hospital and his father was in intensive care. It was a difficult week. He spent 16 years in the Army, doing three tours in a war zone. Like thousands of other veterans, he has PTSD. Diabetes complicated those symptoms.
“It made me feel very anxious and a lot of anxiety and another thing to deal with because of the time I spent in the military and when I got out,” he said.
Diabetes changed his daily routine, his diet and medicine.
“Knowing that you have to take these injections for the rest of your life or take the medicine for the rest of your life it’s a burden,” he said.
His vision began to change as well.
“I couldn’t see up to five, 10, 15, or 20 so I would use my flashlight to see it,” he said.
He had to ask his family to help him read his prescriptions.
“When I initially got out of the hospital, my vision was so bad that I couldn’t see the prescriptions at all so I had (my son) write (it) out for me,” Vargas Sr. said.
Vargas’s father said once his sugar levels were balanced his vision improved. He started taking advantage of his eye sight improvements and began exercising more.
“It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to be out here and smell the fresh air,” he said.
Vargas said he’s grateful his father is back on track and looking to the future. He knows his life will never be the same.
“It’s something that I have to do in order for me to stick around awhile, you know, longer, see some grandchildren, maybe, hopefully someday,” Vargas Sr. said.
Vargas said he will keep his father on track and motivated while living with diabetes.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS is dedicating two weeks of coverage and events to diabetes. As part of Heart of the Valley, there will be free screenings, live Q&A session with doctors and more. Learn more on the Heart of the Valley page.