According to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems if it is not controlled. For Decatur County native Jerry Kress, it also can cause great fear.

Jerry believed he had an inner ear infection. After visiting his doctor, they decided to draw blood and ran some more tests on him to confirm what was wrong.

“They told me my numbers were so high that the meter would not even read what it was,” Jerry added, “they were surprised I still was walking.”

It was then after taking his AIC it was confirmed, Jerry had Diabetes and did not even realize it.

Diabetes is not an unfamiliar term to Jerry, with multiple family members being diagnosed, including a brother and his late father. With stories about leg amputations and losing limbs, Jerry knew only the negative resulting factors when it came to this disease.

Going into his first Diabetes class, Jerry was scared and confused. He had multiple questions and was still uncomfortable about the whole situation. That’s when he met our Diabetes Care Team, Holly Pray and Sandra Bush.

“Holly and Sandy just made it so easy for me. The further along with the classes I got, the more comfortable I was feeling. I had a lot of questions and they were able to answer every single one of them. I was even able to talk to her more after the first class.”

With the Diabetes Education provided at DCMH, Jerry was able to learn more about portion control, proper eating habits, exercising, and managing all of his medications.

Jerry added, “By the end of it, I learned it wasn’t anything I needed to be afraid of. I could still enjoy the foods I love, just in a smarter way. I didn’t completely lose all of my foods I was used to eating. They both really taught me a lot.”

Sandy&Patient testimonial

With the Medication side, Jerry has reduced his pill intake from about 7 to just 2 a day. His doctors couldn’t believe how much progress he has made in such a short period of time. He also has lost over 20 pounds since being diagnosed.

“I am working to be medication free!”

Sandra Bush, Diabetes Educator, said that, “Jerry is one of the best examples of Diabetes Care because he faced this disease head on and owned it. He knew he had to turn his life around.”

Holly Pray, Registered Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator, added, “He was ready to be engaged and learn whatever he need to do to fight this disease.”

When asked why he feels DCMH is so important to this community, Jerry responded with, “This is a small, rural community where everyone knows everybody. When you come to this hospital, you get that same feeling, the doctors and nurses already know who you are. You are not a stranger to them. This makes it a lot easier to ask questions and receive the best of care.”

In Decatur County, we currently have 3,170 residents with known diabetes, but there are still an estimated 9,353 in our community what do not know they have diabetes and often will not find out until the disease is showing symptoms.

Jerry has enjoyed working closely with Sandy and Holly in helping with his Diabetes Care. He is amazed to think he did not see any warning signs before becoming diagnosed.

“If you do not know what it is about or if you have assumptions, you do not know what you need to look for,” Jerry added.

“Holly and Sandy are my champions and I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me.”

Jerry - Decatur County