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|01 Born Pangbourne, mother wealthy, father working-class - rose to management. Father won Pools & we moved from council house. Mother secretary. |
Bullied at grammar school. Went to Warwick University.
|02 Enjoyed Warwick, but had clinical depression & mystery virus – trigger for diabetes? No family history. Since diagnosis, 2 cousins had gestational diabetes. |
Ran village post office for year. Then trainee trade journalist, London.
|03 Diagnosis: Thin in photos. Thirsty. GP, then Whittington Hospital. Glucose tolerance test & blood test. |
|04 Nearly fortnight in hospital. Injected orange. Handwritten diet. Couldn`t cope. Deliberate hypo helpful. Later hypo – intravenous glucose wrongly administered.|
|05 Blood test in hospital, not at home. Parents bought machine later. Outpatient blood tests – tried to deceive doctors. Home urine tests. Hospital old, but good consultant.|
|06 Hospital staff & GP kind. I refused to let diabetes affect me. Drank beer, but healthy vegetarian diet. Injections like cleaning teeth.|
|07 Minimal injection training. Boiled glass syringe & needle. In love with doctor. Relieved not cancer. Parents didn`t understand. Brother read about it. Colleagues accepted it. 1st time talked about it 2 years later with brother of children`s father.|
|08 Diabetes had little impact in 20s, except 2 bad hypos. New Scientist article made me think I`d only live 20 more years. Brother reassuring.|
|09 Nurse said pricking finger centrally will prevent reading Braille when blind. Consultant said have children soon to see them grow up. No emotional support. |
I wanted children, but partner didn`t…
|10 …but I didn`t want anyone else as father. Decided to be single parent.|
|11 Got pregnant. Diabetes under good control – accurate machines. Told partner he could leave, but he didn`t. Natural birth, unlike other girl at clinic: son born 1987.|
|12 Had worked in trade journalism. Went freelance. Back to work 2 weeks after birth. Partner loved son & suggested buying house for his sake, but I decided to move without him to village near brother. |
|13 …frightening hypo in night. Ate more when breastfeeding after that. |
Moved near Cambridge in 1988. Moved to Addenbrookes Hospital. Switched to human insulin – relief for vegetarian. HbA1cs good.
|14 Addenbrookes twice yearly. GP excellent – understood feeling that you can`t escape. |
|15 Control not good in 2nd pregnancy: bad hypo. Addenbrookes good, but missed I was anaemic: ill throughout pregnancy. Typical diabetic baby, unlike son. Unable to cope.|
|16 Single parent has no time for diabetes. Son aged 4 told to phone uncle if Mummy ill – too much responsibility.|
|17 No problems in 1990s, but fear when eyes had floaters. Resent people who say I`m lucky not to have complications: not lucky to have diabetes. Fear of eye damage.|
|18 Daughter diagnosed, 1999. Suppressed my knowledge that she must have it…|
|19 …until she wet bed. I called on brother, sobbing. When son ill once, couldn`t face testing him. Tested daughter - & knew…|
|20 Hospital said come in morning – lax? Saw sick children worse off than daughter. Kept in overnight. Showed injections. Hard to tell her it`s forever…|
|21 “Only diabetes”. Daughter decided to inject herself so could stay with friend. Reluctant to test blood. Persuaded to change injection site. Not brilliant control. Hospital staff sensitive. Doctor said she`ll be healthier because of diet.|
|22 Comparison of me, 1979, and daughter, 1999. Cool-looking pen; no boiling glass syringe; no surgical spirit on skin. Controlling by testing. Little blood. Time I spent in hospital pointless because in bed - no guide to control.|
|23 Her insulin increased like mine. At school, new Head got her to give talk. Friends supportive, their parents willing to entertain her, despite comas.|
|24 Daughter`s 2 terrifying comas. She has learnt from other children, some on diabetic camp. She & I reluctant to meet other diabetics, but I`d have benefited - & she loved camp: friends she met came to stay.|
|25 She had fit in night. I couldn`t cope but 14-year-old son could & called ambulance.|
|26 Paramedics marvellous. 2nd time similar, but came round more quickly. I couldn`t manage to inject her. Now son & I have trained, but I`d leave it to son. 2 other serious hypos.|
|27 Medics no good at allowing you to talk re fears. My GP an exception. |
Genetic guilt re daughter`s diabetes. Diabetic friends with good & bad experiences. Grateful diabetes has led me to make most of life. Positive re future.
|28 Improvement: medical staff recognise diabetic knows best. |
Diabetes hasn`t stopped me doing anything, especially having children.