Many years ago my father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis that changed his life. He was able to keep it somewhat under control most of the time, but not always. Right now Dad is struggling with the probability of losing his left big toe. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.
I know he is scared. His older brother died approximately six months after losing a leg to the disease; he was seventy-one. Dad is now 90-years-old and this is the first time he has come this close to potentially losing an exterior body part.
Diabetes is an insidious disease that can cause numerous side effects and threaten a person’s life. Millions of men and women are living with diabetes. While most can deal with the disease and lead a fulfilling, healthy lifestyle, not everyone is that lucky. The older they get the more challenging it is to deal with diabetes. Anyone associated with the person who has diabetes knows of the possibility of complications; that likelihood is always on the back of everyone’s mind.
It is very important that you and your immediate family members learn as much about diabetes as possible. Attend classes, read current books and magazines to keep up to date with findings and new ways to treat the disease.
One of the most important tasks for Dad each day is checking his blood sugar – at noon and at suppertime prior to the meal. He takes the amount of insulin that corresponds with the results of the blood test at both meals, if necessary. He also takes another kind of insulin at supper as well. Making sure he takes is insulin is very important as it helps protect his body from infection.
Stay alert to possible infection
The problem that set up the surgery tomorrow is that his shoe was rubbing on his toes in certain spots. Apparently, the big toe on his left foot became infected, but the situation wasn’t addressed as early as it should have been or in the manner that would have prevented the infection from getting deeper into his toe and into the bone.
A wound care specialist finally came in and realized how deep the infection had gone into the bone and aggressively tried to prevent further damage, to no avail. Therefore, we are going to the hospital tomorrow for outpatient surgery, debridement and probable amputation of the great toe, left foot.
Is it anyone’s fault? Yes and no. Any one of us could have noticed that he wasn’t getting the care he needed, but we tend to think that professionals are doing all they can. Sometimes that isn’t the case.
Learn from our experience.
You must familiarize yourself with proper diabetic care to insure that your loved one doesn’t start losing body parts. Tomorrow will be a sad day for all of us. We are already grieving, but the tears are not cathartic. They are of sadness that our father, grandfather, and great grandfather has to go through this situation. We are also hoping that no further surgery will be needed.