By Margarita Persico
CHELSEA, Mass. — Eddie Horta’s 9:30 a.m. patient missed his appointment. It doesn’t surprise the diabetes coach at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Chelsea — this patient is usually a no-show, and many other patients don’t keep appointments, he said.
But his noon patient never fails.
“Here comes the bodyguard,” Horta says to Alonso Garcia, a 6-foot, blue-eyed Salvadoran with broad shoulders.
Garcia, 46, is limping. He wears a special boot on one foot and a removable cast on the other. He is on disability after a work-related accident at a demolition site, and receives home nursing care several times a week for foot wounds that won’t heal.
Garcia doesn’t miss any appointments with Horta, who works at MGH’s diabetes outreach program, because he wants to regularly discuss the challenges he faces in treating his illness.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that type 2 diabetes — a condition in which the body cannot use insulin properly — is growing at an exponential rate. The agency expects the disease will affect one in every three people in the U.S. by 2050.