New, and worried.

By Ethan Latest Reply 2009-10-03 02:06:10 -0500
Started 2009-09-30 18:02:05 -0500

Hello everyone! I'm totally new to diabetic connect, and even to diabetes. I'm a care giver, for my mother, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes type 2. It has been a problem for years it seems, but only recently recognized when mother had to go to the hospital, and she'll be released tomorrow, the first day of October. I'm very scared. We have no insurance. We've had to apply for a PMDT, which will hopefully get us access to medicaid and help pay for mom's medicines. But right now, I have nothing. I have to work every morning, and still somehow care for mother and afford her meds and proper diet on very little money. I don't have any clue how to even get the stuff required to check her blood sugar levels. I am sorry to sound so panicked in my first message, but I'm absolutely desperate for help and advice.

19 replies

vgarrison 2009-10-03 02:06:10 -0500 Report

Once your mom gets her medicaid or whatever you are able to get her on…ask the doctor for a presciption for home health. They can come a couple of times a week to help around the house and/or help your mom bathe or whatever it is that she needs help with.

Also have your checked into your local department of social services?? You might quailfy for different programs that will help you with food or whatever you 2 qualify for…


I myself am a home health aide…if you have any questions for her care please send me an email at small.

Blessed Be

lipsie 2009-10-02 14:01:08 -0500 Report


Just wanted to welcome you to the community and also commend you on all your effort to comfort and care for you mother. It can be very stressful and scary I know but you can do it. Though as John said I would question her breathing. Good luck! Hugs! Sheila

Ethan 2009-10-02 06:33:35 -0500 Report

Well, first night survived, barely. It's hard for my mother to get around much at all still. Her bed is very tall, made for someone over six feet tall, so once she's out of it, she can't get back in alone. Ugh. And we have lenolium floors, so it's hard for her to get her feet under her, so even getting out of bed demands help. And… she still has trouble breathing, wish the hospital had told me that. I have to try and get one of those large reading pillows from Walmart today, or something like that, so she can sleep more or less sitting up. Still… she's home, and other than having little sleep, I'm still optimistic.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-10-02 12:14:25 -0500 Report

Ethan, I'm glad that you're making progress.

I'm a little concerned about your mother's breathing difficulties. Diabetes shouldn't be affecting her breathing. Does she also have heart or lung issues? Or did the doctor say anything to you about her breathing difficulties?

Not trying to cause alarm, but sometimes it's hard to know what is related and what may be a sign of something entirely different.

Ethan 2009-10-02 14:03:43 -0500 Report

The hospital had her on oxygen usually when she had to sleep. I wish they had told me, really. The issues with her breathing are due to some pretty bad fluid retention. Her body is bloated. She's on a diarhettic, but unless she's sat up properly in bed, it's very hard for her to breathe, and I can't seem to find any combination of pillows/blankets that are stable enough to support her.

Anonymous 2009-10-02 22:25:15 -0500 Report

Ethan - there are stiff foam wedges that are sold to go under a matress to elevate the head of a bed. Also, don;t know how much room you have in your home, but hospital beds can be rented or set up on a temporary basis courtesy of charitable organization until Mom's insurance coverage issues are resolved. Contacting a DME (durable medical equipment) store or home health agency in your community may help you find the resources where you live. Keeping you and your mother in my thoughts and sending you virtual HUGS!!!!!!!

Ethan 2009-10-01 15:52:39 -0500 Report

Well, I feel a bit more optimistic for the moment. Mother comes home later today, and I'm both excited and anxious about it. At the very least, I'll know her care is largely in my hands, so I can be more certain of how she's being treated. Getting some family/friends to check up on her as I work is still an issue, but hopefully that'll be solved somewhat by the end of this evening, so we'll see. The Dr for my mother was kind enough to give us a free meter, even including some of the pokers(whatever they're called) and testing strips, and they'll be ordering more. If anyone can give me an idea of what new strips will run me, it's a Contour, made by Bayer, I think. The meds should be a slam dunk, assuming my pay stays fairly steady still. 22 bucks even for all four types of pills for a month. Very pleasing, and I can get them right from Walmart which is close to where I live. And do all of my shopping usually, heh. So, for the moment, things are looking somewhat better, and hopefully money won't become a serious problem before I can get mother put on medicaid, etc. Just have to get a routine down, make sure mother's watched when I work, and be very sure we get her fluid retention under better control and that she gets stronger with some easy exercise daily. She can walk, with assistance, but a sore on her foot and a bad bone is gonna be an issue for at least two months. So… lots to say, lots to consider, less time to worry. Thank you, everyone, again, for your ideas. It's been a great comfort, and I'm already starting to see a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

Judimar 2009-10-01 02:23:29 -0500 Report

Hi Ethan!

I am sending hugs your way as well as prayers for both yourself and your mother.

Remember not just to take care of your mom, but yourself as well. It sounds like you're doing everything you can. You have our support.



daniel velazco
daniel velazco 2009-10-01 09:54:34 -0500 Report

You might be overwhelmed right now but in time this will fall into place for you. Don't let yourself get stressed out
as you don't need to get yourself down.
Check with your community action in your area and they may be able to direct you to agencies that will be able to help you. If you have any questions just ask and there is always someone on this site that will help you get to information you need. Welcome to diabetic connect, you are at the right place for all the help you are looking for. Dan

KarenH 2009-10-01 00:17:07 -0500 Report

I'm glad you found this site because you will find much of the information you need to know to help your mom and make friends!

You can find free meters but please keep in mind that they may need the more costly strips (I've found that to be true). So in the long run it might be more cost effective to stick with the cheaper ones from WalMart that use the cheaper strips. Her diets don't have to be complicated. For me my blood sugars do better if I eat protein (chicken, fish etc.) and vegetables. I try to do that in the evenings for sure when I have the worse problem & eliminate bread, potatoes, rice etc.

I'm sorry you are having to go through this alone and I hope you are able to get some help. Your mother is lucky to have a son like you. I hope things start looking up for the both of you. Here's a BIG HUG from me! Karen

Turtle 2009-10-01 02:22:44 -0500 Report

If your mom has mecare part B, all her diabetic supplies will be covered at little or no cost to you or her. This includes meter and strips. Welcome to this site. I hope you get the support and friendship you need.

hbkunkel 2009-09-30 21:42:04 -0500 Report

It sounds as if you are a very caring and loving person feeling helpless when a loved one is involved. To accept the diagnosis of diabetes means that you need to go through all the stages of grief so you can accept the disease and move on. There are many great recipes on this site that will help you. Easy things like sugarfree jello with fruit, or sugarfree puddings are easy to make and taste good too. One of the easiest rules to remember is no white - as in bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cookies, etc. Replace them with whole wheat products, brown rice, yams, and sugarfree coookies for treats. Check with the social workers at the hospital to see where you can get help. Keep us posted and ask questions. You will find us a very friendly and helpful group of people. God be with you.

Ethan 2009-09-30 21:51:43 -0500 Report

Thank you so much everyone again. Please, do keep the advice and support coming. More than anything right now, I just need emotional support and reinforcement, and advice. I'm trying to secure financial aid in any way I can, and I've gotten in touch with some family that can hopefully come see me within a week or two and help organize things better, and just lend more physical support. I'm just at the point where I could really use a hug from someone, silly as that may sound, I'd feel so much better for it. My mother, physically, is still very frail. She is alert however, and if I can set out foods and snacks and her medicines for her at her bed, she can hopefully remember to take them when she needs to, and remember to eat snacks I set out for her. The hope is that with time, within a few months, she'll be stronger, and able to get up and walk around on her own again. But right now she has damage on her foot that makes it hard to walk at all, and due to problems from water retention due to the diabetes, her legs and other body parts are still somewhat swollen, and have to have help to drain, and it's made it hard for her to move on her own very well. So… hopefully things will improve with time, I just need so much help to get everything organized and be assured I'm doing all I can. Thank you everyone, again, for your help. I love my mother so much, she's my whole world, and if I could I'd trade places with her in a moment just to see her well and strong again. I'm younger, and I could recover a lot more easily… anyway, thank you once more, everyone. Please, keep up the advice and support. I think I can carry on another day at least thanks to all of you.

Anonymous 2009-09-30 22:49:42 -0500 Report

You got it…ONE DAY AT A TIME!!! And as Lipsie and PatR would probably say: HUGS!!!!! (Consider yourself hugged in a big group hug…!!!)

DFW 2009-10-01 01:00:21 -0500 Report

Hi Ethan…I'm really glad your here. this is an awesome place for support and guidance. You sound like a very capable and good person…you're going to do fine with this, It's obvious that you love your mother very much and she's lucky to have you by her side. Keep coming back and tell us whats going on with you and your Mother, you've got a lot of new friends here Ethan. Don't forget that!

I know what it's like to be a primary caregiver and also to have to work. It's not always easy but it's very doable. I worked a 12am to 8am shift and cared for my Dad (Cancer patient) for many years at home. Just do your best everyday and tomorrow will take care of itself. Ask family members you have for support and help, thats what family is for… there is no harm in asking your family for help, they will help out if they can.

See about getting your mother on Public Assistance or County Social Services or whatever it might be called where you live, there's no shame in getting her that help if she needs it. There is help where you live, you just have to find the right agency and apply for it. Look up your County and find their web site with phone numbers to call about locating assistance for your mom.

I love Skinless Chicken Thighs and they are a great value…you can get a family pack of those usually really cheap $6-$8 and eat many meals from that pack. Cook them all up in a skillet with a little water and portion them in store brand freezer bags and freeze what you don't use.

When shopping spend most of your time in the produce section, buy stuff for salads lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. low fat dressing or low fat vinegrette dressings. Go easy on the dressing.

Buy fresh yellow squash…it is awesome sliced and cooked till tender!!! or try frozen veggies like broccoli, peas, green beans 1lb bags to cook some (freeze the rest) and mix in with some of those pre-cooked skinless chicken thighs or lean cuts of meat.

Stay away from regular white bread, pasta, rice, potatoes
and regular corn.

Small portions is the way to go, like one of those skinless chicken thighs and a serving of salad and a serving of veggies.

Avoid any drink that is soda or sweet tea…many people love Crystal Light Drink Mix in water…or just regular water.

This is by no means an exact diabetic menu but it works for me and my A1c and daily blood sugars are down from starting about 4 months ago…and I'm losing some weight eating it. Be careful of ANY food cheating because it becomes a way of life again very quickly…trust me on that one. :(

Here are some links:

Good General Resource and Information

The "Create a Plate" method of portions

Anonymous 2009-09-30 21:32:26 -0500 Report

Ethan - I want to respond to your post with words of encouragement and support. I look forward to reading your posts in 3 to 4 months when you feel you are in a better place. Please believe that you will survive, even thrive, in the face of this challenge. To what extent can your mother participate in her own care? Even if she can do nothing, I believe, like all of us, you will slowly but surely figure out solutions to what now seem like insurmountable problems.

Ethan 2009-09-30 20:28:16 -0500 Report

Thank you… knowing that someone has replied at all really helps. I think most of her meds ARE on the $4 list. There's I think four she has to take. I might be able to afford it if just one is not. I may be able to get a meter for free from a family member, I'll have to try and find out if I can get the strips for it from Walmart or somewhere else local. I don't know if I can attend any classes for a while though, it's going to be hard just to find help watching her while I'm at work. She's still rehabilitating, right now she can barely walk very much with help. Leaving the house once she's back won't be an option for a while probably.

I'm trying my best to learn what I can/can't prepare and feed her. I'm not a very good cook, so it has to be simple stuff. The suggestion about carbs and such helps I think. I'll see if I can try and base my choices off of that. Thank you so much for this advice. And please, if anyone else is out there that can suggest stuff, please, tell me… I have so little to work with right now, I'm terrified I won't be able to care for my mom and lose her.

Bluetypetwo 2009-09-30 21:37:54 -0500 Report

I think you can just Google for "free blood glucose meters" and I also heard on Dlife (a channel on CNBC) on Sunday nights or online that some people resort to cutting test strips in half down the middle. Not sure if that's appropriate, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do to get by and try to be healthy/ have a healthy momma. Good luck.

Alicia039 2009-09-30 18:33:08 -0500 Report

Have you checked WalMart to see if her medication is on the $4 list? If she is on insulin it won't be, but some of the other meds are. Also Walmart and Target have their own brand of Glucose Meters that are decently priced and the strips aren't that expensive.

When it comes to diet, and speciality foods. You don't have to go out and buy a bunch of special foods. She should moniter her carb intake as this will break down into sugars. has some really good recipies with the breakdown of carbs and calorie content.
When I was first diagnosed I did not have the cash to go out and shop for a bunch of new food. I tried to eat by portion size and limit my carbs.
You could look into a free diabetic class and attend one with your mom. Check the local hospital, or even a doctor's office they might have information for one in your area.
Also, if you look at other threads about medication costs you will find more information with phone numbers and websites. I don't know them right off, sorry.

Libraries are a good source for cookbooks and books on diabetes.

I hope I have helped a little. I know that more people will add information. This is a great community of people that really care and share a lot of information.

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