One of the passions that we share is the study of people. Their habits, behaviour, hopes, aspirations, fears and attitudes to life. It is always interesting to see people in serious business conversation especially about health, mention a few anecdotes of their own or `get by` a few decisions or even punctuate conversation with a few opinions of their own. Some of these are often valuable insights because they come from real people in the real world.
We met a senior lawyer in the twilight of her youth who showed a keen interest in what we were doing. She had extremely good habits, ate healthy and exercised regularly and spent a whole evening doing water sports with her eldest daughter. She could not remember anyone in her family who actually suffered from diabetes.
She had some idea about what diabetes was as she had seen some advertisements and mentioned that these days everyone is conscious about staying healthy but sometimes becomes difficult to follow. Then the thought dawned upon her.
“What if I get diabetes tomorrow?” Then her expression changed. Gone were the smiles, chuckles and grins. Horror filled where mirth left and went pale then grey. She had three children, two beginning their careers and one at University. Her husband was retiring next year, so it was belt and braces. She had a big job and this is something that she could do without.
“I wouldn`t know who to turn to”. She knew about the intrusion of the disease in her life and further intrusion that the management would bring. This would mean appointments, taking time off from work, tests and God forbid – insulin. Heart problems, stroke, kidney problems, eye problems and she had heard that bad news always came at night. “What if something happened at night?”
What enmated was a mixture of anxiety and helplessness. It was disconcerting to see someone in the developed world, supported by one of the best health services and working for one of the world`s leading companies feeling paranoid about a problem that she feared she would share with one tenth of the world`s population.
At this current moment, she did not wish to think about it and wanted to usher in her husband`s retirement gracefully. She wished that none of her children would ever need to look after her. She wished that she would be able to help her children achieve their wildest dreams and take them individually to places that they wished to go as kids. After all she had worked for it.
If ever, she did develop diabetes or any other infirmity as a matter of fact, she wished to have complete knowledge about her condition from somebody kind and responsible who understood her. She wished to be supported through all her life`s events, whether it is happy or not. She wished to know what she could and could not eat, how much and how she needed to exercise and what she could and could not do and could be open and truthful to her responsible person without fear of getting coaxed. What she was looking for is a good friend, who also doubled up as a good, caring doctor who treated her well and kept her out of trouble.
And she wanted this friend round the clock and should be able to access it anytime from the comfort of her mobile phone.
“Looks like you want a genie”. “Yes, she said. I`ve worked hard for king and country and kept my company out of trouble. Its time they got me a genie in a phone.
(This is a true story and the subject has preferred to stay anonymous).