Dr. Kenneth P. Moritsugu, MD, MPH, FACPM is a very interesting man. He served as the Acting Surgeon General of the United States in 2006 and was made Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute in October 2007. The Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute is designed to serve as a home for the diabetes family and a trusted place of diabetes learning that will inspire diabetes innovation, improved care, and better outcomes worldwide. Through the Institute, Johnson & Johnson is opening and operating state-of-the-art instructional facilities around the world to provide health professionals with education and training aimed at improving diabetes patients' outcomes by working at the community level.
I recently had the experience of flying from Tampa to Los Angeles, with a layover in Atlanta, totaling about seven hours spent in airports or up in the sky. To prepare for such a trip, you have to ask yourself a lot of "What if" questions. What if your plane is delayed? What if you miss your connecting flight? What if you have to stay over an extra night? What if your pump fails? What if you are on the tarmac for four hours and you go low?
Dr. Jonathan Beach is a 35-year-old emergency medicine physician who has had type 1 diabetes for 31 years. He owns and operates Urgicare, a wellness center that includes The Northeast Center for Diabetes Care and Education in Plattsburgh, New York, an isolated rural community that has few other resources for diabetes. This is his story of his life with diabetes and his professional experience with the insulin pump.
Tony Flores is a 50-year-old native of El Salvador who works as a construction foreman. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 12 years ago, after an eye doctor told him it would be a good idea to get his blood sugar checked. He recalls, "I did the test, and they got all freaked out and told me, ‘Oh my god, your A1C is at 12%. You have diabetes type 2. You've got to cut the sugar, you've got to stop drinking orange juice and soda."
You know that awful feeling when a sugar low is coming. I break out into a cold sweat, feel panicky, get nauseated, and have trouble answering extremely simple questions like "Do you need to eat?" Well, I was feeling it again, and again, and I didn't know why. That's what I hate the most: When things go wrong, but I think I've been doing everything right.
Ten years ago, an astute physician diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes. I exhibited none of the classic symptoms of rapid weight loss, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. I attributed fatigue to my job. For about a year before diagnosis, I experienced what I thought were yeast infections and treated them with over-the-counter medications. I later learned that this condition is a symptom of diabetes. I am non-insulin dependent.
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