HOV: Supporting Loved Ones Impacted by Diabetes

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MCALLEN – I am tired of diabetes. This is more than a report to me. It’s personal and should be for everyone else in the Rio Grande Valley community. 

This disease has changed my dad’s life, whose eyesight was affected by the disease. My father showed most symptoms of 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,” he says. 

We went to urgent care last year and I saw how the nurses had to act quick.

“They found out that I had really high blood sugar, to the point where it was almost acid like,” he described.

Nurses told me his blood sugar level was at 704; it should be between 100 to 120. He was rushed to the hospital.

My dad never thought after 16 years in the Army and three tours in a war zone, he would get this disease. We spent a week in the hospital.

Diabetes changed his daily routine, his diet, his medicine; his vision changed too.

“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. “I couldn’t see up to five, 10, 15 or 20 (on the syringe), so I would use my flashlight to see it.”

He asked me to help him read his prescriptions.

“So, basically I had you write this out for me because when I initially got out of the hospital my vision was so bad that I couldn’t see the prescriptions at all,” Dad said showing me his prescription I wrote on a separate paper in large lettering.

He started eye treatment early. McAllen Ophthalmologist Dr. Richard Gillett says many others in the Valley are at risk to go blind due to diabetes.

“Half of the diabetics don’t even know they have diabetes,” said Dr. Gillett.

The doctor says blindness from diabetes is 95 percent preventable if you get an early and yearly eye exam.

“Even though you’re feeling great, even though you’re 20/20, you can be just ready to bleed because you can be 20/20 and 10 seconds before you have devastating loss of vision,” he explained. 

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported last year how my father chose the right path exercising.

During walks, he says he spots the smallest movements. Being able to see a squirrel move in the park is relieving, he tells me.

I’m forever grateful he’s still on the right track and continues to get better. Diabetes will not keep us apart.

I’m still going to be there for him and keep him motivated.

If you know anyone showing the signs of diabetes, please get tested. You could save a life and help prevent this disease from spreading to someone you love.

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