Guest Post: The Reasons I'm Healthy.
While I'm traveling this week, I thankfully have people like Alex Jordan, who are willing to jump in and offer up a guest post. Alex is a PWD from England, and today he's sharing the story of two wonderful women in his life that made a huge difference in his diabetes care.
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I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for the best part of 20 years now. I have also lived in 5 different countries, only one of which had a decent health care system. Interestingly, it has also been the case that almost the entirety of my health care has come from that one country. Further, for a period of roughly 12 years, my diabetic care all came from one hospital, and mostly one person.
The reason for this is pretty simple. My father worked in the oil industry, and as such, where there was oil, he was duly shipped out to handle it. However, oil is rarely found in countries with a health care system anywhere near that of the UK’s. When I was very young (6-7) I had the relative luck of being a patient in one of the best diabetic hospitals in the country. My mother, being the woman that she is, quickly made friends with my diabetic nurse, and kept in regular contact with her, as only a maternal instinct can make people do.
Not long after that, a period of upheaval started occurring, culminating with us moving to Bolivia when I was 11. Even whilst in the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, my mother still managed to keep in touch with the diabetic nurse in the UK, and she was always available should anything have gone wrong. By rights, I was no concern of hers, as I was about as far away from Oxford as was feasibly possible. However, I was still her patient, and I imagine even to this day that’s how she’d view me.
Whilst in Bolivia, I still remained under the guard of the National Health Service as well, and was kept suitably well supplied by my father, during his many business trips back to the UK. For anyone familiar with a UK pharmacy, getting a prescription filled in under 48hrs was, back then, a minor miracle. And so life continued. I don’t think I ever saw a doctor in Bolivia about my diabetes, but instead went back to the UK twice a year, to see the same diabetic nurse. The continuity of care throughout this experience was astonishing, and could certainly not have been achieved without my parents, who, although I don’t tell them enough, I am eternally grateful to for all the work they did in order to keep me healthy.
At around age 15, I returned to the UK to attend boarding school, whilst my family moved to Brazil. My school was around 2hours away from the hospital, and yet I continued to journey there, in taxis funded out of my parents’ pockets. Since coming to College, that relationship has sadly ended, and I have not seen that hospital in several years. All I know is that the continuity of care made my diabetes bearable in a time of relative turmoil where by rights it should have wreaked damage upon my body.
And it probably would have were it not for that one diabetic nurse, and my parents. Its not every day that you get to look back and reflect upon how rare people like this are. But I think my mother, in her infinite wisdom, saw what a brilliant diabetic nurse this woman was, and held on tight. All I can suggest, is that if you do find someone like this, do as my mother did. Genuinely great healthcare professionals aren’t a dime a dozen, and I can only thank my mother for realising this. Between them, these two exceptionally strong women are the reason I am as healthy as I am. It is a shame not all can be as lucky.
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Alex's bio (which I haven't changed because I like it just the way he wrote it, here, there and everywhere and all): "I've been a type 1 diabetic since I was two, and haven't really experienced anything other than living with diabetes. Since traveled here, there and God-knows-where, and have eventually settled back in the UK to pursue a Law Degree, with the possibility of specialising in Medical Law in the future. And you can find me (sporadically) tweeting about diabetes and soccer at @alexhjordan."