More often than not, living in a low-income ethnic household often meant little to no resources pertaining to concepts like proper diet and regular exercise. With little access to decent grocery stores with affordable prices on the more healthier options or medical insurance that wasn’t out of budget, it’s become easy for many households to fall victim to a mindset that healthy lifestyles were made for those who could pay for it.
As a result of this ideology, many members of my own family unfortunately experienced multitudes of health-related issues that have costed some of their lives like that of my older brother and my dad’s younger brother who unfortunately passed on due to heart failure; even my family members who are currently living with diseases like diabetes have the opportunity to change their lifestyle around still have trouble grasping that idea.
Since I’ve been surrounded by sick family members for the entirety of my life, I’ve thankfully also gotten an early start on my medical experience. While it’s given me much advantage to understand certain procedures like checking vital signs and glucose levels, distributing insulin, and even setting up a patient for dialysis, it’s also put me in very pressuring situations that I had to handle on my own.
An instance that constantly comes to mind where I’ve had to work through the stress is when my aunty, who has severe type 1 diabetes and stage 5 kidney failure, and I were looking after my younger cousin who was about a month old at the time. I was getting the baby ready for his nap and was finishing feeding him when I noticed my aunty profusely sweating and obviously in a lethargic state which meant one thing; her glucose levels were exceedingly low. I immediately set the baby down and ran to look for her sugar monitor.
As I was checking her sugar, I began trying to communicate with her to see how responsive she was. When I began to assess her further while at the same time waiting on a response from her monitor, I concluded that she was in desperate need of something with sugar and fast, and low and behold she had a glucose level of 20. I ran to the refrigerator, poured a cup of juice, and rushed over to her.
At first, I tried offering it to her to see if she would drink it herself, but she began getting aggressive and reluctant to the juice. I was trying my hardest to make sure the baby stayed asleep, however, my aunty’s irritability began to escalate which only made matters more difficult.
After trying to get her to drink the juice, trying so hard to convince her and reason with her,
I realized that it was going to take more than me offering her a drink. I began to worry and was looking all over the house for her phone to call the ambulance but there was no luck in finding it. As reluctant as she was, I knew her life was at stake and I was in no position to
wait for paramedics anyhow.
So, I ultimately came to the decision that if she wasn’t going to take the sugar, I was going to have to make her. I got a popsicle from the freezer, pulled her neck back, and literally pried her mouth open just enough to where she could take a bite out of the popsicle and safely digest it. As she began to get more resistant, it put me in an intense state of fear and worry; nevertheless, somebody’s life was at stake and I had no time to be scared.
I continued to be assertive and continued to coach her through eating the popsicle with the Bomb Pop in one hand while the other was holding her mouth open. After what felt like days, she was able to feed herself and eventually came to and all the while, the baby was sound asleep. I was only 13 years old.
I believe that what makes me a great asset to the medical field is my determination. Regardless of what I’ve continued to face in this life, I will always believe in putting others above yourself and being mindful of those who have less than you. As suffocating as the pressure’s gotten, I’ve continued to try and find a way to make things happen no matter what I’m up against.