Richard Franklin was a different man just six months ago.

“I was fat, dumb and happy.”

Until a medical emergency changed his life, as Richard was admitted to Gulf Coast Medical Center with new onset diabetes. His first run in was nearly his last.

“I had the nurse tell me that she had never seen anybody who had that kind of glucose level who had not slipped into a coma and then died.”

It is not uncommon for someone to be admitted to the hospital only to find out they have diabetes. While they are still a patient, diabetes educators take advantage of the teachable moment.

“We will go over such things as meal planning, how to check their blood sugar at home. We’ll talk to them about their medication. And this patient for instance we trained him on why it’s so important to maintain good blood sugar control to prevent complications of diabetes,” says Sharon Krispinski, certified diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.

Once an athlete, Richard had ballooned to 235 pounds. The diagnosis was a wake-up call.

“It was back to the things that I used to do - lean chicken breast, steaming vegetables, keeping the fat intake down. Watching the carbohydrates and making sure that fresh fruits and fresh vegetables were always there.”

“We emphasize to our patients that even with a modest weight loss with type 2 diabetes, a 5 to 10% weight loss, they can significantly improve their blood sugar control and their overall health,” says Krispinski.

Fifty pounds lighter, Richard’s blood sugar is normal. He’ll always have diabetes, but he feels like a new man.

“You just have to make up your mind have the desire to change your lifestyle and become healthy. And that’s what I’ve decided to do.”

Today, Richard is back from the brink, enjoying life in good health.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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