“I have to admit I was scared to poke myself with a needle,” says Mervin, whose uncontrolled diabetes was a major concern for his Valley primary care physician, Long Nguyen, DO. “I tried to get my blood sugar under control by myself without the insulin injections, but it didn’t work. I needed the insulin,” says Mervin. Before moving to Renton last year, Mervin had been through more than his share of health issues. A heart attack last January. A stroke six months later. Both events required intensive rehabilitation and determination. To assist Mervin in getting his diabetes health hurdle under control and lower his risk of future heart attacks and stroke, Dr. Nguyen referred Mervin into a new Valley program to help patients self-manage their chronic health conditions with the support of a RN Care Manager.
Learning how to self-administer the correct amount of insulin based on his carbohydrate intake and blood sugar level was key to Mervin’s diabetes management. “My RN Care Manager, Dieu-Hien, helped calm me down and taught me how to give myself the shot,” says Mervin. She helped him learn how to calculate the dose, a new skill somewhat complicated by his post-stroke, short-term memory issues. Dieu-Hien also advocated for Mervin with his insurance so he could receive an insulin delivery system appropriate for his post-stroke coordination. “When I first started with insulin, Dieu-Hien called me once a day, then weekly to see how it was going. Now she checks in once a month.”
In addition to eating a healthy diet and taking insulin, Mervin must also get regular, daily exercise. “Dr. Nguyen helped me get our Yorkie, Joy, certified as a service dog, which has been a huge help. Joy and I walk three to four times a day, up to an hour each time. She climbs up and puts her paws on me and lets me know when it’s time for us to walk. I can take her wherever I go to get my exercise in. Joy keeps me motivated.”
Dr. Nguyen and Dieu-Hien are proud of Mervin and his terrific progress. Since he became a patient at Cascade Clinic about a year ago, he has reduced his A1C levels, a measure of blood sugar, nearly in half. Mervin says, “I feel so comfortable knowing that Dr. Nguyen and Dieu-Hien are there for me and that they check in— it makes me feel a lot more confident in managing my diabetes. They have helped me tremendously. I’m feeling so much better with a lot more energy.”