Kathy’s Diabetes Story - Pella Regional Health Center

I Can Count on Good Care

Kathy BlomKathy Blom was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1956 when she was 9 years old. It’s a time she remembers in surprising detail considering how young she was.

“I remember intense thirst and going to the bathroom a lot,” said Kathy. “Then there was the night when I was so violently ill. My parents contacted the doctor and they were told to get me to Blank in Des Moines right away.”

By the time everyone figured out what was wrong with Kathy she was almost in a coma from having such high blood sugar. Her veins had collapsed and she had lost her ability to feel pain as the nurses tried multiple times to find useable veins. She was in the hospital for about a month.

“It was such a different time then,” said Kathy. “Can you believe they used an orange to teach me how to give myself an injection? I had no concept of what my life would be like… an orange? That’s just not how it is.”

Back in Pella Kathy didn’t know any other children with diabetes. When her parents sent her to a camp in Nebraska she finally met others her age with a similar diagnosis.

Kathy says that the dietary restrictions back then were very stringent. All sugar was all bad. “Now people know better and things are more flexible,” said Kathy.

Diet recommendations are just a small piece of what has changed in treatment over the years according to Kathy.

“When I was young, I only knew what my blood sugar was when I was getting it tested in the hospital lab,” said Kathy. She goes on to explain a process of testing that involved dropping a fizzy tablet into urine making it turn color. “Red meant it was too high and blue meant it was too low. But it didn’t show how high or how low. Really, you still knew nothing,” said Kathy. “The test tape was another small improvement. It wasn’t any more accurate, but at least it was more convenient.”

Home glucose testing gives true numbers and better options for handling the disease, according to Kathy. “We finally got a real number that we could act upon instead of a vague color chart.”

The long-term effects of having diabetes have taken their toll on Kathy’s body. With that, she counts on her instincts and her health care team. “They are outstanding at what they do,” said Kathy of the Diabetes Management team at Pella Regional. “I’ve met with many, many caregivers over the years so my bar of expectations is very high. But their caring and knowledge is so valuable.”

She goes on to explain that her experiences as a while have been terrific at Pella Regional. “I can count on good care here,” said Kathy.

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