People with Diabetes
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Aged 4, with his mother

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Aged 4, with his mother Kevin Jones, 2004
 
 
Interview 12 Kevin Jones

Person with diabetes
Born in Plymouth in 1939.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Plymouth in 1943


Overview: Kevin Jones` father worked in a Welsh mine, then joined the Royal Navy and worked his way up from sick berth attendant to Lieutenant Commander. Kevin went to various grammar schools in Navy ports and left at 18 to train as an accountant. He worked for several large companies, unhindered by his diabetes, but has had more problems in recent years. In 2002 his leg was amputated, but he had great help from the Limb Centre and now walks and drives with an artificial limb. He loves jazz, and is pictured with a statuette of a jazz musician.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 28 July 2004

 Short samples

1 When he was diagnosed, he wasn’t admitted to hospital, but attended as an out-patient. As he grew older, he and his mother rejected all the weighing of food that was advocated by doctors at the time [ 55 secs ]

2 He has spent many weeks of his life in hospital wards and is full of praise for medical staff, but he looks at the organisation with a manager’s eye, and is not impressed [ 59 secs ]

 
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01 Born Plymouth. Father went from Welsh mine to sick birth attendant in Navy to Lieutenant Commander. Happy working/middle class childhood.
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02 Diagnosed aged 4, 1943, by GP. Sent to Greenbank Hospital. Low dosage of soluble insulin twice daily. Never admitted. Traumatic for mother. Regular visits for blood test…
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03 …then later in day returned for result. Active life with no bad hypos before teens. At first mother did injections, then me.
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04 Urine test at home. Mother didn`t keep to diet, except no sugar. Diabetic products expensive. As got older, controlled sugar by adjusting insulin. Did sport.
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05 In teens heard older patients discussing calories, but mother ignored calories. Balanced insulin, diet & activity, as recommended nowadays. Had warnings of…
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06 …hypos. Took Dextrasol. No conflict with clinic re diet. Dr. Shaw gave good advice.
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07 Took home diet sheets & scales, but diet never strict.
Fellow pupils not aware of diabetes. Never used it as excuse.
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08 I`ve always hidden diabetes. Only revealed if had hypo. Quick recovery with glucose.
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09 In teens, played hockey, danced, walked home. Took Dextrasol. No major hypos until older. People surprised I had diabetes (though mentioned in job applications). Memories of hypos when commuting.
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10 Some hypos began at puberty. Stressful grammar school regime. Friends carried me home. Mother a worrier but sensible. No phone, but used someone else`s to consult GP. Father kept any eye on me.
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11 Attended grammar schools in Navy ports. Diabetes never mentioned.
When in 6th form in Gillingham, dived into Navy swimming pool & hit head. Shock affected diabetes. In hospital 3 weeks. Changed to new Lente insulin once daily.
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12 After change to Lente around ‘57, initially kept to careful regime.
Left school at 18 to train as accountant with Phillips Electrical in London. Commuted.
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13 Lived rent-free until earned enough to pay mother rent. Moved to engineering firm. Became Fellow of Institute in `71. Career took off – moved from company to company.
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14 Moved around country. When interviewed for Philips, talked about jazz! In all jobs, diabetes mentioned at first, but soon forgotten.
Once had hypo on way to work & Phillips called ambulance.
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15 Girlfriends didn`t know re diabetes because took less insulin before going out. Told wife-to-be, because she was epileptic. (Her fits later stopped.)
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16 Married in `63. Played sport well into 30s. Sons born `67 and 70 – neither has diabetes or epilepsy.
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17 While sons growing up, didn`t do blood tests, rarely saw GP. Gave up going to diabetic clinics because saw different person each time – useless.
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18 Moved to Hexham 1980, saw same person at hospital, but treatment same, so gave up going. Had fewer problems than most diabetics & know how to treat myself, especially now blood test automated.
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19 Test before bed because no hypo warnings in sleep. Bought new technologies when prices came down. Test strips on prescription. Adjust insulin to anticipated exercise.
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20 Bought Accutest when seeing Dr. Lloyd privately in `83. People shocked by my readings being 7,8,9, but suits me – Dr. McNally understands. Best test is HbA1c.
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21 HbA1c also around 7,8.
Began seeing Dr. Lloyd privately in `83 – much more thorough than NHS clinics.
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22 No waiting & personal treatment. Moved near Leicester. GP suggested private check-up on work insurance. Found I needed heart bypass.
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23 Surgery went fine at BUPA hospital. Gave up smoking. Problem with right leg. Doctor said return after few months. Immediately after return home, toes turned black…
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24 …phoned GP. Admitted Leicester Royal Infirmary because BUPA had no room. Leg bypass took 6 hours. Months to recover. Not result of heart bypass but of diabetes.
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25 Had had diabetes for nearly 60 years & smoked heavily. After leg bypass, very emotional as predicted. Had hypo – alarmed staff (non-diabetic specialists).
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26 Problems with foot continued well into 2002. Tried different dressings. Cardiovascular surgeon offered choice between another leg bypass or…
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27 amputation. Ross Naylor amputated at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Traumatic, but no pain. NHS very good, except for running out of tablets.
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28 Staff on ward didn`t know re diabetes. Had to persuade them to let me adjust insulin. But impressed by limb centre phoning soon after return home.
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29 Set myself target of 3 months from amputation to walking unaided. Lots of help at limb centre, but problems with blistering. Car converted.
Bits of NHS super. Medical staff work hard, but…
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30 Examples of bad management. Emergency caused staff to leave open wound. Physiotherapists & surgeons don`t talk to each other.
I pay chiropodist – said to him half price now!
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31 Now two-thirds price!
Don`t blame anyone for past delays - NHS medical staff caring people, coping with moaning patients – but organisation could be better.
Amputation restricting but hasn`t stopped travel. But now trouble with toe on left leg.
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32 This time quicker response. Antibiotics helping. But cancelled USA holiday.
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33 Can`t forget diabetes, but don`t think about it most of time. Advice: get young GP with up-to date knowledge. Live moderately, but don`t let diabetes rule life.
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Transcript
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