A Clear View of Diabetes
Kaweah Delta’s Community Outreach program is part of a collaborative
effort to help Lindsay residents learn to manage diabetes so that they
can live healthier lives.
Like many people, Irma Medellin is busy. She is a 53-year-old mother of
four children, a grandmother and the lead community organizer for El Quinto
Sol de America. The grassroots organization works in Lindsay and neighboring
communities to address issues of local importance.
So one day in 2009, she was caught off guard while attending a conference
on pesticides in Sacramento, when she suddenly lost her vision.
“I felt something big hit me and everything was dark. I could not
see anything,” said Irma, who was taken to a nearby hospital. She
was dizzy and had a headache. “They told me I had a mini-stroke.”
After four days in the hospital, Irma was released. Doctors said her mini-stroke
was the result of high blood pressure and not managing her type 2 diabetes.
“I was diagnosed 15 years ago, but I didn’t want to take all
the medicine. Sometimes I would take it; sometimes I wouldn’t,” she said.
Today, life is different for Irma. She is one of more than 75 people with
diabetes who are eating healthier, reporting lower blood sugar levels
and learning to exercise more, thanks to the Lindsay Diabetes Project,
which began providing services in 2016.
“I want to be there for my family and my grandchildren, but I cannot
do it myself. My God, this program is helping me a lot. I recommend it
to anyone I meet who was like me and didn’t realize that diabetes
is a very serious illness,” said Irma, who has lost 20 pounds since
her hospitalization and has dropped her blood sugar level by 5 points
in recent months. She has also regained her vision and was cleared in
2018 by her doctor to drive again.
Funded by the Lindsay Hospital District, the Lindsay Diabetes Project is
a collaborative effort including Healthy Kids-Healthy Lindsay, the Kaweah
Delta Community Outreach Program and a number of stakeholders, including
healthcare providers, community-based organizations and community members.
The project has been funded for two more years.
“This program is changing lives,” said Alma Torres-Nguyen,
Kaweah Delta Community Outreach Coordinator, noting that Lindsay is like
many small communities in Tulare County with people who are struggling
to manage diabetes. In fact, Tulare County has higher hospitalization
rates for diabetes and its related complications when compared to other
counties in the state. “Through this program and the education it
provides, we are seeing that people can manage diabetes with just a little
support,” she said.
Through a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, family-centered approach,
the Lindsay Diabetes Project offers Lindsay residents a free six-week
educational program, a diabetes support group and opportunities for people
with diabetes to review their medications with a pharmacist.
“I’m happy because the class motivates me to continue,”
Irma said. “I’ve always been [chubby] and I am still [chubby]
but I look and feel a lot better.”
“This has the potential to the best program we have supported,”
he said. “The program has helped people. It’s just a matter
of getting the word out. We hope we can increase the program by a great
number of people.”
Greg McQueen, a Lindsay Hospital District Board Member
Free Support Groups
If you have diabetes and would like to attend a support group offered by
Kaweah Delta, visit
www.kaweahdelta.org/diabetes for more information.