Discussion with Diabetes Consultant Nurse King’s College Hospital about drawing diabetes.
I asked what issues are most difficult to get across to patients?
The underlying medicine: To explain the underlying medicine to patients similes are often used, for example “the kidney is like a sieve”. Drawings may be useful to visualise these, particularly for what are the complications & what causes them.
Maths: Much of managing diabetes is figuring how much carbohydrate there is in a meal & what amount of insulin to give for it. This boils down to mathematics & ratios. (Hmm difficult one one).
How to treat hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
See-sawing: Stopping patients overcorrecting & lurching from high to low to high sugar etc.
Honeymooning: The period where a large number of islet cells have been killed to manifest the symptoms of diabetes but enough are left to make some insulin. The administration of exogenous insulin takes some of the strain on the remaining cells enabling them to live a little longer.
The annual review that diabetes patients undergo: What & why? Heart, eyes, kidney.
We also discussed drawing for the expression of emotions around having diabetes & dealing with hypoglycaemia and how drawing may be used by feedback platform called Patient Opinion.