At 60 years old and without health insurance, Karen was anxious about her health care. She hadn’t felt well in years. With a history of diabetes complications involving pain and weakness in one foot, she despaired of ever being healthy. Karen had a long list of complaints that conveyed a lifetime of unhealthy habits that would not be easy to change. She yearned to exercise, go to walks and lose weight, but had resigned herself to a wheelchair due to a foot ulcer, that she had for years, that wouldn’t heal.
Karen explained the depths of her concerns about her foot problems to her Lake County Free Clinic (LCFC) provider who realized that Karen was very fearful and believed that she could never be strong again. The provider spoke to Karen at length about her fears, and discovered that Karen was not really sure what she was afraid of, but did acknowledge that she needed to do something to improve her health. Karen and the provider agreed upon a plan to gradually increase her level of activity by a few steps a day using an inexpensive pedometer that we provided for her. She was given a few easy leg exercises she could use to build muscle strength. Karen initially came to LCFC feeling defeated and depressed, but instead, at the end of her appointments, she said, ‘Today I feel optimistic. Today I have hope.’