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|01 Born Birmingham 1931. After war, father suffered from stress & got job with Forestry Commission in remote Suffolk. I left school at 15. Worked in shop. Ill for months before diagnosed: mother couldn`t face 2nd sick child.|
|02 Miles from GP & hospital. GP diagnosed. Admitted to West Suffolk hospital. Afraid of staff. Glass of glucose before meals.|
|03 Mother & I afraid to ask doctor questions. Told must inject. Diet sheet. No blood testing, only urine.|
|04 (Blood test only every 3 months.) In hospital for 3 weeks. Hungry. Ward maid gave more milk. Low carbohydrate, high protein. 3 eggs 1 meal, when post-war rations allowed 1 egg per week. Extra fat rations.|
|05 No potato, squash, juice. |
Injections no problem. No deliberate hypo. Had hypo soon after diagnosis: dad cycled 4 miles to GP. Only time in hospital with hypo. Mother glad…
|06 …it was me not sister, because sister more active. |
Hospital visiting twice weekly: Dad cycled 20 miles. Boss kind because her fiancé died of diabetes in 1920s.
|07 Soon began to lose vision. Months in hospital for “needling” treatment. Loved eye ward. Treatment without anaesthetic unpleasant but successful.|
|08 Before needling, registered blind. Glad I didn`t have to be sociable like sister. |
Sight from needling lasted to 1964.
|09 No vision in left eye until operation in USA, 1964. Married American airman & went to USA 1952. Returned pregnant 1955. (In USA Air Force hospital once: insulin changed. Wives treated as second-class.)|
|10 Haemorrhaged after return. Lost baby, Lakenheath Hospital. No support given.|
|11 American Air Force Hospital at Lakenheath thought wives nuisance. |
We moved in with my parents. Lost another baby, 1957: head not formed. Good medical care, but no support.
|12 Before USA, we`d been at Greenham Common. Woman from Greenham gave us her baby,1957. Later gave son. Returned to USA, 1960. Had own son 1961. Good care.|
|13 Deaths of babies unconnected with diabetes. 3rd birth in military hospital, but wonderful care.|
|14 Coped with 3 children & sight in 1 eye. Diabetes not important - better than other illnesses. I`ve been lucky. |
|15 Diabetes didn`t stop me doing anything. Voluntary work. Diabetic niece in USA does paid work. |
In USA 1961-8. Mainly healthy. Pneumonia in 1967 while husband in Vietnam – 1st of several bouts. No clinic, just GP. No blood test, just urine.
|16 Operation on left eye in Detroit military hospital. Lost way in hospital. Eyesight in both eyes long after return to England. |
|17 Returned to Upper Heyford, 1968. No clinic, just American doctor – continued treating me after move to Bicester, 1971 – thought he was in love with me! Transferred to local doctor & Radcliffe Hospital, 1973.|
|18 1st time I`d been to specialist diabetic clinic. 6-monthly visit. Medical notes show change to Isophane 80, 1973 and Lente, 1974. |
Nurses always good, except on night 1st baby born. Sometimes feel I know more than staff.
|19 Surgeon in USA left me in tears when had breast lump. But most doctors & all nurses good. |
Medical notes say “retinal haemorrhage in right eye”…
|20 …in 1983. Both eyes bad, but not registered blind. Usually had one good eye.|
|21 Regularly in hospital with pneumonia until injection against it 4 years ago. |
Main change in hospitals: informality – good. Tip of toe removed in Radcliffe…
|22 …nice Chinese doctor spent hour discussing pros & cons.|
|23 Nurses informal. Surprised what`s allowed compared with 1950s. Only had cause for complaint – dirty bathroom.|
|24 Husband & I have had marvellous treatment. Am walking thanks to podiatrist 1993/4.|
|25 Seeing podiatrist this afternoon. |
No other complications – lucky. Don`t attribute blood pressure to diabetes.
|26 Enjoy life – charity work, social life, dogs. Feet prevent exercise. Blood test 4 times daily: no longer warnings.|
|27 Same meter since1970s. |
Diet more liberal, but never said “I can`t eat that”. Soon gave up weighing food.
Now Actrapid & Monotard.
Diabetes made no difference to life except…
|28 …feet. Pneumonia unconnected. Not lost sight completely. |
Early on saw headline re Prince Charles` birth. Now laser restoring right eye.
Message: don`t let diabetes stop you.