• Lucy Arnott, Slow Learner, Collage, 2020

Lucy Arnott |  Student Reflection

This piece is a symbolic representation of a lovely gentleman’s health journey navigating through diabetes, major back surgery and prostate cancer. These life challenges seemed to encroach on him all at once and changed his life in many ways. With the beautiful support of his wife and children and his ability to finally take the steps toward living a healthier life, he is now experiencing his world in a new way. He said that he’s a ‘slower learner’.

I’m honoured to creatively express this man’s story and so glad to hear that he did learn and can enjoy many more positive days ahead.  I have been working recently with the medium of collage. I trust the image represents the brave journey of this man through the difficulties of ill health.

Patient Story  |  'Slow Learner'

The amputation of my right lower leg stemmed from mismanagement of diabetes. I was given medication but hadn’t taken it after being diagnosed 6 years ago while in hospital. As time passed by, I felt pretty good and chose not to see a doctor for about 2 years. I had cigarettes and beer. I thought I was smarter than the doctor.

One morning, I woke up and my right foot had turned black with a terrible smell about. I went to hospital. A specialist there said he had to operate and amputate.

I had delirium and alcohol withdrawal after the operation.  I was not a nice person to my wife and hospital staff. Fortunately, I came out of it. I decided then to do everything in my power to get better. I spent over two months in rehabilitation while the amputation wound healed. I had set a goal; when I left hospital, I was going to walk out the door and up my thirteen steps at home. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink or cigarette since leaving the hospital. My wife is now my carer. I have become more aware and considerate.

Advice for others: “More regular visits to your health professional – don’t think you are smarter than them.”

Diabetes mellitus:

Poorly controlled diabetes can increase the risk of infection and vascular disease. Monitoring diabetes control and having regular check-ups are part of an optimal management plan.

For more information on Diabetes, visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au

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