New Book Needs Warning—True Stories Can Be Very Scary

Apr 1, 1996

Hypo-Hyper: 101 Short Stories About Diabetes

Compiled by Harvey V. Lankford, MD, FACP, CDE and Sallie P. Bartholomew, RN, BSN, CDE

106 pages

To order, send $15.00 to:

EDMC, 7231 Forest Ave., Suite 103

Richmond, VA 23226

Hypo-Hyper: 101 Short Stories About Diabetes is an important new book because it educates by telling real stories about living with diabetes. The stories were collected from the Endocrine and Diabetes Management Center of Richmond, Virginia, and they address a variety of different sub-topics of diabetes.

The authors have been compiling stories for ten years. They say their "inspiration to write this book grew from one of the primary ways the team works-that is, teaching patients by telling stories."

Bartholomew says people relate to personal stories better than they do to facts and figures. But, the author warns, readers need to learn in a safe setting. Many of the book's stories may need further explanation. As a nurse, Bartholemew tells patients the stories in person and can then answer any questions the patient might have.

"The book may be most appropriate for medical students to use as a teaching tool," Bartholemew says.

The book is laid out in three major sections: "Hypoglycemia" stories, "Ketoacidosis" stories, and "Other or Special Pairs," which includes such subjects as wedding day stress, pregnancy issues, and the self-advocacy issue.

The stories are very short, easy to read, and offer lessons that can best be taught from true-to-life examples. The stories are truthful, yet often frightening, Bartholomew said.

Some of the stories are disturbing, such as one about a minister with diabetes who had a hypoglycemia attack and inadvertently rolled over on and suffocated her child. The authors say, "This is probably the saddest story that we have ever heard about hypoglycemia."

Unfortunately, the book does not inform readers of the outcome of the story. The above woman went on to have two more successful pregnancies after her tragic incident.

Still other stories provide inspiration for good self-care by showing successes of others. One story describes a 70-year-old woman with a five-year history of type 2 diabetes who went into cardiac arrest due to a number of other health problems. Not only did she fully recover, but six months after the incident she was walking a mile a day and feeling no symptoms of heart trouble or diabetes.

The book contains a glossary of terms for the layperson and a detailed index of stories about specific subjects. Its valuable information make it a powerful teaching tool, but many of the stories raise questions that go unanswered.

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Categories: Book Reviews, Diabetes, Low Blood Sugar, Type 2 Issues

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