Ed Handscom

Ed Handscom is one of Caratunk, Maine’s 100 year-round residents. The 52 square mile town is a recreational area for snowmobilers and rafters who want a thrill ride down the Kennebec River. Ed lives just down the street from his childhood home and is well known in the area. His is a truck driver, transports rafters during the summer, and is the fire chief of West Forks, a little town further north on route 201.

By choice, Ed lives a very simple life, he’s happy with a roof over his head and a car that gets him where he needs to go. He never paid much attention to his lifestyle until a dear friend passed away and he couldn’t get out of bed to attend his funeral. “My brother in-law was worried and took me to Inland Hospital,” shares Ed. 

Thank goodness he did, doctors quickly determined he had double pneumonia and a blood sugar of 864. “They told me I wouldn’t make it through the night.” A week later he was well enough to go home with a diabetes diagnosis and taking insulin four times a day. He took his diagnosis seriously and started to work on his health. “I started swimming and walking at an area gym three times a week, anything to lose weight.”

Ed’s insurance company had a care manager call him to help him manage his diabetes. She called every Friday at 8 pm and asked him three questions and that was it. For all practical purposes, he was on his own and doing pretty good.
However, in March those feelings of exhaustion were creeping in and Ed knew something was off. That’s when Ed ‘s provider suggested he work with Doreen McKenna a nurse with more than 20 year’s experience that would help him  better understand how to manage his diabetes. “Ed really takes to heart what we are talking about and he has a lot of questions,” shares Doreen. Through weekly phone calls the two worked closely on diet and food choices. “Before Doreen, I was drinking five or six sodas and eating four or five whoopie pies a day.”

Because Ed can’t read or write, the materials he was given to learn about diabetes didn’t work. Now that someone has taken the time to talk to him about the dos and don’ts, he is feeling much better. “This is the first time someone in her line of business asked me if they could help.” Ed is quickly seeing the benefits of eating healthy combined with his exercise, he’s lost pounds and is getting around much better. His blood sugars and his A1Cs are dropping to a more healthy level too. “We are a tool in the process of healing – it’s not going to happen overnight. I believe we can make a difference,” smiles Doreen.