Education crucial to diabetic health |

Education crucial to diabetic health

Denise Sloan
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Vicki McKenna, the diabetes program manager for Barton Memorial Hospital, educates David Mori, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, about his insulin injections.

David Mori was harboring a silent killer within his body and he didn’t even know it. Not until he was deathly ill.

When the 50-year-old pastry chef’s blood sugar level topped out at 1,640, 16 times the normal level, his doctor admitted him to the hospital. Mori was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes among other serious health problems. That was in early August. Last Tuesday night a much healthier Mori graduated from Barton Hospital’s Diabetes Education Program and is armed with a lot more knowledge and even more determination to keep his newly diagnosed disease under control.

While Mori has always been very athletic and never had a weight problem, both aces in his favor, his mother also has diabetes and his grandmother had it when she was alive.

“Yeah, I was surprised when they told me I had diabetes but I guess I shouldn’t have been,” said the South Lake Tahoe local. “I might have had some symptoms, but I just didn’t recognize them prior to being put in the hospital for two and a half days.”

During Mori’s hospital stay, he received a visit from Vicki McKenna, program manager for Barton’s Diabetes Education Services. After his discharge, he joined McKenna’s Diabetes Education Program.

The program consists of a one-hour individual assessment followed by four two-hour class sessions and finally graduation, most of which is covered by medical insurance.

“There were 12 in my group and they were all shapes and sizes and some of them have had diabetes for years and didn’t know it,” Mori said. “We got a lot of nutritional information, blood glucose checks, blood pressure checks, we set goals for ourselves. We really learned a lot.”

Mori now checks his blood glucose levels six to eight times a day, injects himself with two types of insulin when necessary, consistently eats three or four meals a day, exercises up to five times a week and is even thinking about getting back into his past athletic hobbies of skiing and bicycling.

“I’m thinking that a good goal for me would be to do the Death Ride again or the Great Ski Race again. I’d like to start a diabetes group that is more active socially where we could ski together in the winter and bicycle together in the summer. There’s safety in numbers, especially in case someone’s blood sugar level drops which they do when exercising,” Mori said.

Those interested in forming a social/exercise diabetes group may contact Mori at (530) 544-4940 or e-mail him at

Just because the diabetes class graduated this week, doesn’t mean their education is over. When Barton hosts its free Diabetes Expo Nov. 4 at Lake Tahoe Community College, Mori plans to be there.

“There’s always new information about diabetes for us to learn so I’ve already arranged to have the day off work so I can go the Expo,” he said.

The Diabetes Expo will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature guest speakers every hour, diabetes screening, blood pressure checks, foot exams and raffle prizes, all at no cost. Call (530) 543-5548 for more information on the Diabetes Expo.

“There are still days that I wish I didn’t have to go through all this,” Mori said, “but it’s only been a few months and I’m still learning. I went to Barton’s (Health) Resource Center and got the book ‘The Diabetic Athlete’.”

Armed with new knowledge and renewed motivation, Mori may be back on his endurance cross country skis this winter and his bicycle next summer.

If you go

What: Barton Diabetes Expo

When: Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Lake Tahoe Community College

Cost: Free

More info: (530) 543-5548

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