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|01 Born 1942, poor family, rural area. Older brother fighting in war. Father worked for council. Wartime rationing. Weekly bus to town.|
|02 Mars bar lasted 5 days! Village school, then secondary modern school, then day-release course. |
Diagnosed at 13 after accident. Mum read “Home Doctor”, called GP, sent to hospital 18 miles away. Recently consultant said accident only part cause. No diabetes in family.
|03 Prospect Park Hospital, Reading. Frightened by display of ancient syringes! Men in ward friendly. Glass syringes & Clinitest. Told I must control diabetes, not let it control me.|
|04 Detailed diet. Carried sugar. Taught to sterilise syringe & needles. Zinc Lente insulin injected in leg…|
|05 …easier than arm because of length of needle & syringe. Memories of Clinitest. Mother sterilised & controlled diet…|
|06 …used saccharin. Diabetes rare, but family adjusted. Hospital gave scales, but soon judged food by sight. Adjusted insulin to enable sports…|
|07 Royal Berks Hospital, Reading, increased insulin as grew older. Didn`t adjust insulin day to day. People at school unaware of diabetes.|
|08 Teachers knew, others didn`t. Closest friends told to give sweet or sugar. Lots of sport. Never unconscious at school.|
|09 First hypo 5 years ago. Always had warning signs. Only missed school for check-ups. |
Left school at 15 to work in furniture factory. Stayed for 6 months.
|10 Long hours difficult, so moved to furniture shop. In factory, told people re sugar. In shop job, bought chocolate for energy when delivering furniture. People didn`t understand effect delayed.|
|11 Did sports. Careful re alcohol. Played darts. Moved to work in department store. Friends puzzled when stopped cycling to take sugar. |
Girlfriend`s parents tried to end relationship because of diabetes.
|12 Married at 26. Still working in department store. Holidays in caravan. Once had to return because forgot needles & no chemist open on Sunday.|
|13 Divorced in early 30s. Living alone hard with diabetes. Re-married. Went blind & gave up job as sign-writer. Wife couldn`t cope & left. Alone again. |
Eye problem began Christmas 1977. Went to optician at hospital clinic.
|14 Lost sight quickly. |
1st marriage not affected by diabetes: she preferred someone else. 2nd marriage ended 1982. 3rd wife blind also – met through blind club. I`d started garden furniture business & made sandpit for her son. Husband having affair & they divorced. We both work at home.
|15 Went on RNIB woodwork course. Make garden seats etc. Earn enough. Exhibit locally. Job satisfaction.|
|16 Make seats as prizes for White Cane Award. Work featured in media. Social services phone re helping other blind people. |
Laser treatment new when lost sight . Went to Moorfields & St. Barts.
|17 Nothing they could do. Someone at Hammersmith referred me to Radcliffe, end 1978. Changed insulin. Experimental NovoPen & talking blood test machine gave independence, 1988/9. (With old disposable syringes, needed nurse to inject & couldn`t travel.) |
|18 Experimental operation to drain eye, Oxford Eye Hospital, c.1990: worked for while, then artificial eye. |
About 4 years ago, blister on toe treated at local hospital. Referred to Radcliffe. Had turned into ulcer…
|19 …MRSA. Toe amputated. In hospital 8 weeks for MRSA. Problems with feet since.|
|20 Take care. |
Money put into NHS doesn`t show on wards. Staff work longer hours. Outpatients busier. Never see same person.
|21 Long waits. Disadvantage of seeing different podiatrists. |
Diabetics didn`t like pork insulin but now adjusted.
Old NovoPen clicked…
|22 new model harder for blind. Local Superdrug found alternative equipment. Mixtard insulin.|
|23 Works well, but disposable plastic not so accurate as metal NovoPen. |
Urine test only at hospital. Talking blood test machine since 1988/9.
|24 More diet foods available. Hospital food good. Staff helpful over blindness. |
My own GP marvellous…
|25 …friendly. Takes blood pressure at home. Surgery friendly. In hospital, nurses helpful – give me own room; more caring since blind; more recent training to help blind people.|
|26 Hotel for blind caters for diabetics. In cafes, diabetics use NovoPen before pudding. |
Occasionally imagine life without diabetes. Take syringe to outpatients, because sometimes admitted straightaway. Lucky: well-controlled until recently. People visit workshop…
|27 …more ill than me. Message: if you`re careful, can lead normal life.|