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A Story of Hope from our Pregnancy Counseling Program

So many times and in so many circumstances, I feel I take for granted the ease with which I can accomplish a task – refilling a prescription at a pharmacy, calling a doctor and asking for clarification regarding a diagnosis or treatment protocol, or even being able to purchase the most appropriate car seat for my child and understanding how to install and use it. So many clients with whom we work in the Pregnancy Program, do not take these seemingly simple tasks for granted, because, they are, in fact, not simple.

A refugee woman with whom I am honored to work in our Pregnancy Counseling Program was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. While this is a fairly common diagnosis during pregnancy, if one does not speak English, does not possess working knowledge of general diabetes, let alone gestational diabetes, and does not feel empowered to ask medical professionals for further information about the diagnosis or how best to treat it, this can be a very scary situation for a pregnant woman. During a monthly visit with this client, she shared this diagnosis with me and her confusion and feelings of ignorance and powerlessness regarding it. Together, along with an interpreter, we called her doctor’s office and connected with a nurse practitioner. This woman slowly and kindly explained the diagnosis, and the interpreter translated so that the client had a very full understanding of the medical condition with which she is dealing. Treatment protocols and highly probable successful outcomes were discussed. After the phone call with the nurse, this client felt so much better and more confident in her abilities to confidently navigate the rest of her pregnancy with gestational diabetes.

However, one of the tasks associated with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is the woman must be able to test her glucose level using a special machine. This machine is available only at specific pharmacies or stores with pharmacies. Further, this client has Medicaid, and we needed to locate a pharmacy that a.) had the machine in stock b.) would accept Medicaid and c.) was situated in a location fairly close to a bus route as this woman did not have a car and relied on the bus for most/if not all of her transportation. Again, a seemingly simple task of procuring a necessary piece of medical equipment is anything but simple. After several phone calls and some research, we located the machine in a pharmacy that she could get to and that would accept Medicaid. This client now feels much more positive about this diagnosis and confident in her ability to advocate for herself and that which she needs to best care for herself and her growing family.

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