Personal Best: kudos to hospital diabetes program

Pat Black discovers she is pre-diabetic but finds the staff at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Diabetic Education Program exceptional

Acknowledging health problems can sometimes be a problem. I mean who wants to be poking a razor in your finger every couple of hours to measure glucose levels or deal with all the ramifications of having to put various kinds of drops in your eyes for cataract surgery, to say nothing of the fact that everywhere you look is kind of fuzzy. Well I guess I do, as I learned this week that I really am pre-diabetic and that I will need cataract surgery as soon as I reach the top of the waiting list, possibly two to three months. It was pretty overwhelming and my arthritis isn’t exactly getting better either.

Aging is a condition of life and so too is the fact that our bodies become worn and torn, no matter what we do. Of course the better we treat our bodies the more we can rely on their functioning to a ripe old age but every one of us has genetic factors at play and predetermined weaknesses that we can’t always overcome. So the moral of this story is not to think about what we should have done but get on and fix it the best we can.

We are very lucky to be here and now and have so many opportunities to make the best of our health issues. One of the greatest assets in regard to diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions is the Vernon Diabetes Education Program at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. You need a referral from your doctor to attend but then you are given all you need to know about diabetes and your specific condition and what you can do about it. The trainers are excellent with an easy going style that makes everyone feel comfortable. It made me think that this is no big deal and that I can take care of it without it making a major difference in my lifestyle. A complete turnaround from what I had first envisioned.

Although this is a wonderful service located on the fourth floor of the hospital, it has a severe problem in terms of accessibility. Whoever planned the hospital parking is obviously not disabled. I had to park in the disabled parking spots in the general parking in the front of the hospital, fight with the unreadable money machine to get a ticket, then walk the whole length to the side door to get to the elevator to take me to the fourth floor location, not easy for someone with extreme arthritic symptoms early in the morning. While there still are metered parking spaces that used to be for those with disabled stickers along the side of the building, the meters now are covered and only cars dropping people off can use the spaces. Most people using this entrance are coming for physical therapy, cancer treatment or have other disabilities, and it puzzles me that you would take away these parking spaces when we are encouraging people to be as independent as possible and making accessibility a goal, especially in our own local hospital. Another Interior Health improvement, I guess.

At the Seniors Action Network meeting last week we heard good news about another accessibility issue. Amanda Watson, traffic technician for Vernon, informed us that a bus stop will soon be available in front of the library after so many complaints from seniors and the disabled community. Once more it reinforces that we must speak up to get problems resolved and Cleo Corbett, long-term planner for the City of Vernon, also attending the meeting, assured us that the city wants to hear from citizens and urges residents to call City Hall if they have a problem.

Yoga in a Chair is once again being offered on Fridays at People Place at noon until 1 p.m., with Melissa of Blue Eagle Yoga, an expert teacher and guru. She also offers Better Breathing exercises on Mondays from 1 to 2 p.m. Both sessions are wonderful opportunities for those on limited income as the fee is by donation only.

If you have comments or questions, call me at 250-542-7928 or e-mail:

Pat Black writes about issues of importance to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.