Ken talks about his experience with PCNs and why, if he was a lottery winner, he’d donate to make sure they’re always available to everyone with diabetes!

In the early 90s when I was first diagnosed with borderline diabetes, I was told to watch my diet, but wasn’t being treated with medication. This continued until 2007, when the borderline diabetes became full-blown diabetes, and the  doctor I was seeing at the time put me on Gliclazide. 

Then, another doctor I saw for about six months asked why I wasn’t taking Metformin. I said, “You’re the doctor – make the call!”

This doctor added Metformin to my medications, and over a period of 2-3 years, I continued taking both, which caused me to wake up at night, feeling cold and hungry. It was really affecting my ability to sleep. 

During this time I was a regular at the Max Bell arena walking track, and that’s how I first got introduced to primary care networks. After walking, there was a PCN nurse who would take everyone’s blood pressure. It was that nurse who told me about PCNs. I got a bunch of pamphlets and starting reading up.

My first appointment was with a foot care nurse. She was the one who told me I should also see their dietitian, and their pharmacist. 

I took all my medications to their pharmacist and she agreed that I should stop taking Gliclazide, saying that it was a very outdated medication, rarely prescribed anymore.

I took a class from a dietitian, where we talked about food and what to eat. I also took a class  on reading food labels and that was very helpful. I learned that I should get protein first thing in the morning, and I started to get real control over my diabetes. I was getting good information, which, combined with walking, made me think, “I’m going to beat diabetes!”

Between the early 90s and the time I met the PCN, I was on my own, trying to find out what I could about diabetes. I didn’t have the education I needed. If there had been PCNs back then, I believe I could have beaten diabetes. I just didn’t have the background back then.

I live in Chestermere and didn’t realize until I saw an ad in the Chestermere Anchor that there’s a PCN in Chestermere. So I told my doctor in Calgary I’d have to leave because I wanted to be with a doctor who belonged to the PCN in Chestermere. 

The PCN is giving diabetic people the right information. When I went to my doctor, I was probably irritating them because I had so many questions. It’s very helpful to be able to talk to Michelle (CRPCN diabetes educator nurse), or Nora (CRPCN registered dietitian) for as long as I need to.  

Between the PCN exercise specialist, dietitian and diabetes educator, I am very happy with how my health is being managed.

I’m also going to explore working with your foot care nurse in Langdon. I have a feeling it will be worth the drive.

The things that you guys do, and the information that you pass on, is invaluable. If I was a multimillionaire, I’d buy a big building for you to use, because I just want to make sure PCNs are always going to be available to people with diabetes.