“You don’t know the blessings you guys are giving.”
At last count, 667 or 18% of the Clearwater Free Clinic’s active patients have diabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic disease which not only reduces a patient’s life expectancy but also creates a variety of related medical problems. Cited as the 7th leading cause of death in America, patients with diabetes have significantly higher rates of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, vision problems, kidney failure and amputations than those without diabetes. The key to treatment of diabetes is disease management, and the Clinic works hard to provide education and interventions to help these 667 patients monitor and manage their disease.
Eddie used to be a pipe worker, but he became so ill that he couldn’t continue to work. He knew he had high blood pressure, and when a friend suggested he come to the Clinic, his doctor here also discovered that Eddie had diabetes. A change of blood pressure medication and adding insulin therapy improved Eddie’s health immediately. And then came the diabetes education. In fact, Eddie describes Jan Humphreys (the Clinic’s nurse practitioner) “like a teacher…really firm. She lets you know how to keep feeling good.”
“Through this great team here, I’m feeling good now,” says Eddie. “And I’m not on insulin anymore. You all are responsible for a lot of lives that are now thriving. And I want you to understand that we appreciate everything you all have done for everybody who comes here.”