ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — Stevie Jones got one bad surprise after another in a visit to the hospital.
He had diabetes. Surprise.
He was born with only one kidney. Surprise.
Ten days later, he was out and had another surprise. He’s embracing it.
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“The thing I’m going to be is a drum major for diabetes,” Jones said.
A disc jockey, Jones spins old-school R&B under the name of Sir Jones on weekday nights on 95.3 FM. He’s one of at least 28,000 South Carolinians each year who learn they have diabetes. About one in seven adults in the state — roughly 14 million people — have diabetes.
And Jones didn’t just have it, he had it bad.
Jones went into AnMed Health Medical Center’s emergency room in early October with blood sugar levels of 1,187 mg/dl. A level of 100 is a good target for someone with diabetes.
His blood glucose test was around 23; a normal level would be below 5.7 and a 6.5 indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
AnMed Health emergency room physician Dr. Kimberly King said Jones’ numbers were jaw dropping.
“By far the highest I’ve ever seen,” she said of his blood glucose test. “I didn’t realize the test would go that high. And he was just sitting there making jokes, so normal.”
Jones, who has type 2 diabetes, was an extreme case, said Dr. Zafar Hossain, an AnMed Health internist who also treated Jones.
“I was supposed to be dead in other words,” Jones said.
Jones agreed to let his doctors discuss his case to help bring attention to diabetes in Anderson and other communities.
Hossain said Jones had a number of health problems he didn’t even realize. Long term high blood sugar levels had put pressure on his organs, and the complications required surgeries to relieve urinary tract issues and other problems.
“The moral of the story is to seek help, go to a medical professional intermittingly and seek corrective treatment,” Hossain said.
How Jones learned he had diabetes
During his nightly radio gigs in late September, Jones couldn’t keep himself together.
“I was feeling weak and nauseous,” he said. “I had to keep turning the mic off. When I got ready to talk, I’d get emotional. If I forced myself, I would hear my voice tremble. It’d go out on the airwaves.”
His wife Lugenia Jones, known on the air as Star-Child’s, took over when he couldn’t talk. She’d…