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Model of Discipline

Posted on January 11, 2022 | No Comments on Model of Discipline

Bi’ve been tortured by this,” Says Antonio Garcia, a 78-year-old retired refrigeration specialist for the air force and navy, who has been living with diabetes for more than half his life. The illness is irreversible and he is aware of that. Having diabetes means a tough lifetime adjustment of lifestyle and expenses.

However, after much thought, Lob Antonio decided to just accept his condition. Besides, it’s all that’s left for him to do: to set himself free of anguish and misery brought about by the sudden change in his life. “Noong tinanggap ko ‘yun, medyo nag-relax ako (When I accepted it, I was able to relax a little bit),” he shares.

For more than 40 years, Lobo Antonio, has managed to live without developing any complications of diabetes. For this, he was recognized and awarded a Diabetes Achievers gold medal during the Diabetes Awareness Week celebration. The Diabetes Achievers gold medal is given by the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation Inc. or Diabetes Center Philippines every year to those with diabetes who have managed to live free of any major complications for 20 years or more.

Sedentary Lifestyle
It was during an annual physical examination in the military (August, 1967) that he learned about his diabetes. He believes that he developed the condition as a result of his sedentary lifestyle at work which started when he climbed to higher positions as a refrigeration specialist in the air force.

With his technical expertise and training abroad and having been the only person capable, Lola Antonio was tasked to train people in the radar stations all over the country. However, after having taught enough people to man the stations, there came a point that he no longer had to do anything except at rare times when there were major and complicated problems that needed his assistance.

Therefore, he did nothing but eat. Also, as he assumed higher ranks, he started to skip regular physical trainings in the military. With no physical activity and uncontrolled eating, Lob Antonio gained so much weight which soon led to the development of diabetes.

Weapon Against Diabetes
To survive diabetes, everything must be programmed, says Lobo Antonio. “Pati karne dapat kasing laki lang ng matchbox (Even the meat should just be the size of a matchbox),” he adds. Adjustments that had to be made were difficult, recalls Lob Antonio, but he managed to live with these adjustments no matter how tempting it was at times to go back to the ‘uncontrolled’ lifestyle he got used to. “Mahal ko ang buhay ko e (I love my life)”, he stresses.

With this, he made the decision not to allow his diabetes to cause him any more trouble. He began to prioritize his health and kept in mind the things that had to be avoided. Fortunately for Lob Antonio, he had discipline which became his weapon to control his diabetes. Since he was diagnosed with diabetes, he avoided going to parties and fiestas knowing that he could not have most of the prepared dishes anyway. Or if he attended, he left right away.

Diabetic Club
With many people with diabetes in their barangay, the Pandacan Barangay Health Center established a Diabetic Club, in which Lolo Antonio became vice president and eventually, president during its earlier years. The club—which was formed more than five years ago—was founded and headed by Dr. Charina Benedicto. The support group motivates its members to make diabetes management easier., Lolo Antonio regularly comes to the health center just a few steps from home, to keep his blood sugar monitored.

Proper Diet, Medication and Exercise
Lolo Antonio follows proper diet as instructed by his doctor. He avoids potatoes and other foods which are rich in carbohydrates and sugar. He consumes mostly fish and vegetables such as ampalaya, banaba and katuray and controls eating meat and salty foods. Supporting his diet are the doctor-advised medications and insulin injections that he administers religiously.

As a form of exercise, Lola Antonio walks several kilometers during his vacant mornings. From his home, he walks all the way to Robinson’s Place in Manila. Inside the mall, he takes a short rest before he resumes his walk to Baclaran, then finally back home. Lolo Antonio also highlights the importance of obedience and adherence to diabetes treatment. “Follow the instructions of the doctor,” Lola Antonio advises other people with diabetes. Shifting lifestyles is difficult but if you want to live longer, you must obey, he says.

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