Sue’s COVID-19 quarantine experience

Friday, 18 September 2020

During the COVID-19 emergency, Diabetes NSW & ACT has focused on being the trustworthy source of information, support and advice for people living with diabetes, their families, carers and healthcare teams.

One of the biggest fears for all people living with diabetes is the risk COVID-19 poses to their health. This is why from the outset we responded with timely and accurate advice on how to minimise risks and stay in good health.

Just like with the flu, having diabetes puts people at risk of experiencing severe symptoms and complications if they contract COVID-19. The need to isolate, on top of the everyday burden of life with diabetes adds stress to an already difficult situation.

Sue’s COVID-19 experience

Sue who lives with diabetes, set sail on a dream international holiday in March. It was one she had been planning for years. While COVID-19 concerns were beginning to grow, Sue was reassured of her safety from the cruise company and told a refund would not be possible.

She decided to go ahead with the holiday. However, only days after the trip started, the pandemic emergency rapidly escalated, the cruise was cut short, and Sue quickly returned to Australia.

She is now home safe after two weeks of enforced quarantine in a Sydney hotel. For Sue, the uncertainty and loneliness of isolation in quarantine were incredibly hard. Her worries were compounded by limited food options and concerns about her medications.

“I was quite emotional. My kids rang every day. But it was still really lonely and scary because you didn’t know what was next.”

Support just a call away

Sue rang the Diabetes NSW & ACT Helpline and spoke to Donna Itzstein, one of our Credentialled Diabetes Educators.

“Donna was great. She really was,” says Sue.

“I called her in the first couple of days of quarantine because I wanted to know exactly what we could have when it came to meals. I was also worried about exercise, as we were not allowed to leave our rooms at all.”

“Donna put me onto an exercise physiologist at Diabetes NSW & ACT. He rang me and gave me some exercises via email. I’m limited in what I can do because my back was operated on and I have trouble with my knees. I did what I could. It was really good.”

“It was really good knowing that Diabetes NSW & ACT was there to help. Knowing I could always call them was very comforting,” says Sue.

Donna Itzstein explained, “Our organisation has had to adapt very quickly to reach people living with diabetes and address some essential needs.”

“I am very proud of the people in our organisation who have worked long hours and adapted to new circumstances. The result of this hard work is helping people like Sue to cope with the situation.”

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