Blog Entries With Tag: Joslin


Posted: Dec 17, 2008

My mother-in-law had back surgery; so, I spent several hours Monday sitting at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.  I hate waiting rooms; so, I sat on the windowsill outside the elevators, overlooking the Joslin Clinic.  I was sitting thinking fondly of the last time I had been in the Deaconess and the week I spent at the Joslin in November 1976. 

 

Unlike most of the diabetic population, I have absolutely no regrets or hatred about being an insulin-dependent diabetic.  I have other regrets; this is just not one of them.  So, oddly enough I would probably have been perceived to be smiling while I was thinking back and so grateful for the people who built that ugly building.  It seems to be in disrepair these days and they seem to be doing construction to the east side of the building – repair or expansion, I do not know.

 

At dinnertime, we went to the café in the Farr building.  I think that is the original Deaconess building.  I had been talking about the tunnel from the Deaconess to the Joslin earlier.  Come to find out, there is a tunnel from the Clinical building to the Farr building too.  That is where the café is located.  Then there is a turn down a hallway that still goes to the Joslin.  Cool, I think.  Can I go?  Na … not exactly appropriate.

 

The surgical liaison said they do not use it much anymore.  Some “guy” (I was thinking facilities or IT) was giving an employee an orientation. He mentioned the bridge to the Farr building.  I commented there is a tunnel too.  He told the other gentleman twice to stay out of the tunnel.  Hmm.  Oh well.  I can have fond my memories of my wheelchair ride anyway.

 

My bubble burst when I started hearing stories about appendage lopping.  First, there was the son whose undiagnosed diabetic (fasting of 108 and on dialysis) father was in surgery losing his right leg.  That poor guy was going to wake up without a leg and did not even know it.  Then there was the employee whose 250-pound diabetic mother had both feet lopped off.  NOW she has lost weight.  Then there was the roommate of my mother-in-law who had knee surgery to only get a foot infection and need another surgery.  I winced and asked, “You’re not a diabetic are you”?  Yup.  She also has diabetic relative who had also lost their leg. 

 

I was ready to burst.  I could not take hearing it anymore.  I chatted with the surgical nurse. She told me they “see a lot of that here.”  I am getting pretty upset at this point.  She said they are usually “non-compliant” – one of my least favorite phrases. 

 

All I could think of was how can I make this better?  What can I do to help?  How can I get through to these patients?  Where can I volunteer or can I teach (good diabetes self-management)?  What else can I do?   I am using my voice; I realize that.  It is just not enough.  I want to do more.   What can those of us in good control do?  Medical school is just not an option.  So what else is there?  I am all ears guys … what else can we do?  There just should be such a disparity between me looking fondly at the “building” I perceive to have given me the quality of life I have today and those who are in dire straits.  There just has to be better.  I wonder; is this where those lobbyist connections I discussed yesterday might come in handy?

 

Doris J. Dickson

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Posted: Jul 24, 2008

Massachusetts has three of the best in the top twenty ... not so shabby.  My surprise arose in seeing Massachusetts General at all (who would have "thunk" it) and seeing the Joslin at only #13.

http://www.usnews.com/directories/hospitals/index_html/specialty+ihqendo

Doris

 

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Posted: Jul 18, 2008

On Saturday, October 30, 1976 we moved out of my first childhood home in Rockland, Massachusetts and away from my best friend.  She was 15; I had just turned 12 on the 28th.
Sunday, October 31st I went to a halloween party and drank regular soda - something I never did.  Alas, I was still thirsty .. imagine that.
 
Monday, November 1st was All Saints Day so we had no school.  I was sick as a dog anyway, presumably with the flu.  Mom went to work, my father slept (he worked nights), and my not usually loving sister, brought me tea.
 
Tuesday, November 2, 1976 my mom came home from work and decided it was time to pick me up and take me to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass. where I was diagnosed and promptly sent by ambulance (iv in arm) to New England Deaconess. 
Three days later I was sent in the tunnel to the Joslin.  Since I'd been asking all sorts of questions for a few months, about why I was very thirsty and urinating constantly, when my mother said "do you know what you have," and I responded "yes, diabetes," she darn near fell on the floor.  Then she felt guilty because she had dismissed my questions as it being hot outside.  No big deal to me I remember thinking.  We're dealing with it now.
 
A total of 10 days later I went home to my new house.  My father bought and stained a desk I had wanted but we couldn't afford ... guilt I knew even at that age.  I had wanted to pay for it with my birthday money but that wasn't happening.  I went on about life, went back to school, unpacked boxes, etc.
Around Thanksgiving I received a letter from my best friend ... she was in
Floating Hospital.  She had been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor between her heart and her lung.  She was to received radiation and chemotherapy.  Susan, as I said, was just 15 years old. 
 
I was stunned.  I wanted to see her but I couldn't.  Our parents didn't get along.  They eventually both gave in and I was able to spend one afternoon with Susan.  It was probably the one and only time in my life I was afraid to tell someone I couldn't have sugar iced-tea.  I drank some of it to be polite and enjoyed my afternoon even if I didn't enjoy the aftermath.  It was what I had to do.
 
I saw Susan one more time.  Her mom drove her by my new house.  I gave her a gift of earrings. 
 
Then one cold morning following the blizzard of 1978, I had teeth removed.  I had just come home cotton balls in mouth.  The phone rang.  It was a former neighbor, we fondly referred to as "Mrs. Ellie."  I knew instantly.  Susan had died.  I didn't even know she was that close to death.  They'd all hid it from me.  I was instantly furious because they had not allowed me to say goodbye to my best friend.  I ran screaming out of the house and found yet someone else had known for a week that she wasn't going to live.  He hadn't told me either.
 
I went to her wake with my mother and Mrs. Ellie but attended her funeral by myself.  I walked a snow covered street approximately 1 mile with tears running down my face.
 
We can pick our butts up, take control and "just do it."  Susan never had the chance that we do.  I have never and will never complain about being a juvenile onset diabetic.   "

 

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