Diabetes Center, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
Karen Belveal; RN
Certified Diabetes Educator
Dr. Tyler Aguinaldo, MD
Director, Diabetes & Metabolism Center
Kenny Ireland was a typical, healthy, 21-year-old college student with a busy life that included studying, holding down a part-time job, and spending time with friends. So when he began to experience dehydration and frequent urination, he simply thought it was because his job required him to work in a cold environment.
At the urging of his aunt, Kenny went to his university’s medical center and was diagnosed with diabetes. He was referred to the Diabetes Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, a top facility that is nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association where he was seen by Karen Belveal, a registered nurse and a Certified Diabetes Educator®. She talked with him about diabetes, nutrition and monitoring his blood sugar. He was put on medication to help control his blood sugar levels.
“Karen was welcoming and she really wanted to help me take control of my diabetes,” says Kenny.
Kenny’s blood sugar was only slightly elevated, but Belveal says she made sure he left the appointment with the understanding that it was important to contact her if his blood sugar went up. Kenny also needed to come in regularly to have his blood tested.
The Diabetes Center emphasizes the importance of regular communication with its patients. Staff schedules time to monitor patients by phone. Patients also receive communications through mail and email so that no one falls through the cracks.
At first Kenny did well on his medication, but about two years later when staff made a scheduled phone call to check in and remind him that he was late for his lab test, they discovered that he was having many of his initial symptoms - weight loss, fatigue, depression, thirst, and frequent urination.
Belveal knew there was no time to wait, and quickly got Kenny an appointment.
“We do not want people to wait,” she says. “We accommodate patients and work hard to get them in and provide care. I will work my lunch hour if needed.”
At Kenny’s appointment, Belveal found his diabetes was out of control. His blood sugar was approximately three times the normal amount and he needed to be put on insulin.
“Because of the team’s outreach, Kenny avoided ending up in the emergency room,” says Dr. Tyler Aguinaldo, an endocrinologist and director of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Diabetes and Metabolism Center.
“The insulin was a whole new thing,” says Kenny. “I did not want to go out with my friends, because it was difficult with the vials and syringes. When I told Karen about this, she got me on glucose pens, which made things easier.”
Kenny’s diabetes has features of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. He will be on insulin the rest of his life. Now he uses the insulin pens three times a day and takes two insulin shots at night, and is regularly monitored by the Diabetes Center care team. Kenny knows he has to do his part.
“I regularly check my blood sugar levels and it keeps me on point when the staff calls me. I want to have good readings so when I talk to them I don’t look like I’m slacking off.”
In addition to the Diabetes Center’s continual outreach and monitoring, there are numerous services and resources that patients can use including behavioral experts, dieticians, eye care, podiatrists, and support classes. The Center’s website has a lot of information about diabetes.
“The outreach and resources we offer helps to keep people healthy and out of the hospital,” says Dr. Aguinaldo. “We care about giving our patients a better quality of life.”
For Kenny, that commitment to the quality of care and patient experience rings true. He is now doing well, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, working, and enjoying life. “I feel better than I’ve felt in a couple of years,” he happily reports.
Learn more about our Diabetes Center and services, call 408.793.2515.
SANTA CLARA VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER
751 South Bascom Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128