I’m back in Channapatna on a sunny Wednesday. This time, I’m visiting a client with health navigator Noor and field coordinator Nagarathna.
Jaya is in her forties. She is under medication for high blood pressure and type II diabetes. Noor has been visiting her twice a month for over three years. My first impression of Jaya is that she’s in pain. The worry lines on her face run deep and her eyes are filled with distress. Jaya lists out numerous afflictions- insomnia, body aches, a burning sensation in her feet, fatigue.
‘She worries a lot and doesn’t eat on time,’ Noor explains to me. At this point, Jaya’s eyes well up and she breaks down into sobs. Noor holds her hand, tries to comfort her and encourages Jaya to share her worries. Jaya pours her heart out. I watch as Noor expertly handles the situation. She listens carefully. Noor explains the importance of taking care of oneself. ‘How will you take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself?’ she asks. Jaya nods in agreement.
Noor checks a client’s blood glucose levels
Noor checks Jaya’s blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Her readings are high. After discussing Jaya’s eating habits and general lifestyle, Noor and Nagarathna suggest various changes she can make: eating at regular intervals, going for a 30-min walk every day, etc. Noor recommends that she eat lesser rice and try to incorporate healthy, locally-available millets in her diet- raagi and navane. ‘We’ll be back next week to check your levels again,’ says Nagarathna as we leave.
A week later, we are back at Jaya’s house. She is visibly doing better. She has been going for a walk every morning and eating on time. She is now able to get a good night’s sleep. Noor checks her BP and blood glucose levels. Jaya’s BP is lower but her sugar levels are still high. Noor assures her that she will get better and refers her to a local doctor for a consultation. She stresses on the importance of not worrying too much and spending time with other people.
Nagarathna explains the role of the pancreas in maintaining blood glucose levels
Everybody goes through periods of stress; the passing of a loved one, financial concern, disagreement within family, etc. Like in the case of Jaya, stress pushes many people to neglect their own well- being. So how do we deal with stressful situations? As the saying goes, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.’