Barbara Davis

If you were ever in need of a social worker, Barbara Davis would be a good ally. She spends her days between Augusta and Skowhegan helping dozens of clients of the Department of Health and Human Services. “I enjoy what I do and I feel like it makes a difference in people’s quality of life.” Barbara has dedicated the past 15 years of her life advocating on behalf of her clients and before that she worked in a nursing home doing similar work.. “I was coordinating care, in a matter of speaking, helping people with disabilities get the care and support they needed to live a full life.”
 
She has become fluent in the language of helping others, but when it comes to taking care of herself, Barbara isn’t getting a passing grade. “I hate the thought that I even have diabetes.” Six years ago she was diagnosed and it wasn’t a surprise as it runs on both sides of her family. Barbara has seen the two extremes of diabetes, an uncle lost a leg to the disease and her mom controls her diabetes through diet and exercise. Somewhere in the middle is where Barbara is living. "When I was first diagnosed, I took oral medication and now I’m on insulin, but I don’t want to be.” Barbara didn’t want to admit her disease was getting worse, but it was that fact that persuaded her to do something she’s not comfortable doing – letting someone help her. Her longtime doctor introduced her to Doreen McKenna, RN, care coordinator at Inland Family Medicine in Skowhegan.
 
“I wasn’t convinced it would help me. I’m stubborn and I know what I need to do, but it just wasn’t a priority.” Skeptical yet willing, the two women began slowly building a relationship,  talking every week. Doreen wasn’t demanding or pushy, she listens and helps Barbara set achievable goals. “Doreen's energy and expertise helped so many light bulbs go off - simple things like when I’m sitting at my desk to jiggle my legs or take deep breathes. These simple actions can be a form of exercise on days when I’m too busy to leave my office." Doreen’s insight and ideas were thoughtful, simple, and to Barbara profound – this approach to her disease she could understand and work with, andfor the first time she doesn’t feel defenseless.
 
Thanks to a book Doreen shared with Barbara about exercise and diabetes, she is now making time to walk five days a week for at least a half hour. Even though the demands of her work life haven’t changed, her attitude is towards herself certainly is. In less than a year because of her hard work and new dedication to herself, her A1Cs went from 9.1 to 6.9.  “I can see now that I will have more to give if I take better care of myself. I’m glad I tried this – it is making a difference.”