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|01 Born Bexley,1935. Dad heating engineer. Mother housewife. 2 sisters. Moved to Birmingham…|
|02 …1950. Diagnosed aged 13. GP said eat cabbage. (Rationing still on.) Lost half stone before admitted to hospital.|
|03 Dr. Lawrence at King`s College Hospital. Passed out. Given injection & felt better quickly. Ate first meal for days. |
|04 Nurse said insulin forever. Gave me syringe - no practice. Allowed to walk about. Saw diabetic baby. Discharged after 3 or 4 weeks. Returned fortnightly until left school at 15. |
Lawrence big man, one eye. At Christmas party he commented on carbohydrates.
|05 Brilliant man. |
Everything weighed. Top cut off slice bread. Book of food values. Rations allowed extra meat & cheese, no sugar.
|06 Little fruit. When sweets came into shop in war, queues formed.|
|07 Food values taught to me & parents. Mother weighed. She & sister later got diabetes, also aunt on father`s side. Different diet in past - no ready meals, no freezers…|
|08 …either grew food or bought in season. Swapped rations e.g. soap for tea. Clothing rationed. |
Diabetes started suddenly. Had rubella…
|09 …6 months after measles. Weakened immune system? |
Urine testing. Later, doctor at Birmingham General Hospital found no point in testing my urine because low threshold meant always positive.
|10 Gave up urine testing. Relied on feelings. Blood tests only at hospital - long queues. |
Twice daily injections (zinc protamine) at Kings & ever since. Don`t let diabetes rule you.
|11 Products labelled now: avoid sugar or eat less. Diabetic foods unnecessary. |
Family adjusted to diet. No supermarkets.
|12 No large stores. |
Ate less of what family eating: strict.
People didn`t understand. Aged 14, teacher taught class re diabetes. (No sex lessons.)
|13 At school, sugars high. (Checked at hospital – visits more frequent then.) Father wrote to say I could eat in lessons. Home for lunch. Sports. Some GPs ignorant. I have to tell them…|
|14 …GPs learnt from patients. Hospital staff didn`t forbid things. Dieticians saw new patients. Didn`t smoke or drink. Didn`t talk re diabetes. Hate people who talk re illness. Did tell employers - might need time off…|
|15 …collapsed twice when building machine tools, early ‘70s: nurse needed to know. Diabetes affected choice of work because wanted to be active to keep fit.|
|16 After left school, watch-repairing, instrument-making, then maintenance work until retirement. |
Married 1968. Wife panicked. Now copes & knows when sugars low.
|17 Couldn`t tolerate human insulin – no warnings. Passed out. Doctor explained how human differs from animal insulin.|
|18 Company threatened to withdraw animal. Human insulin suits most, but not all. I tried human, 1980s, but no warnings. (Sister feels hungry when low.) On present insulin…|
|19 …feel shaky when sugar low. Blood test. Always eat before going out & carry food & insulin: don`t let diabetes govern you.|
|20 Hospital doctor fine re abandoning human insulin. |
Specialist nurse explained should change injection site. Hadn`t been told. Changed. Needed less insulin.
|21 Insulin worked better: I was around 50. I`d been to hospital, but GPs not responsible. System changing: Primary Care Trust allocates money, foundation hospitals owned privately, fewer acute beds.|
|22 Foundation hospitals built over budget. |
For long time, had no way of testing blood sugar. Bought meter when became cheaper.
|23 Most people can afford them. Hospital gives them to those on low income. |
Medical staff never asked if I changed injection site…
|24 …probably thought someone had told me. Consultants mostly good: many have diabetes. Nurses good: trained re diabetes.|
|25 Waiting times shorter. I`m member of NHS Concern & West Midlands Pensioners Convention. (No stigma attached to mental health problems.)|
|26 I`m laid back. |
Charity collections – put something back into society.
Life with diabetes easier. More food choice. I`ve no complications.
Porridge for breakfast…
|27 …fruit & vegetables. |
Inject morning & evening. Increase insulin if ill. Actrapid & Insulatard. Plastic syringes. Before used glass syringe with surgical spirit – harmful.
|28 Boiled syringe & used 6-12 months. Used disposable syringes up to a week. Replace more often now. Asked re pen & nurse said not available for my type insulin. Not true, but stay with syringe - used to it.|
|29 Pen better but don`t want to cause health service extra expense. |
I walk, garden, attend meetings. Diabetes hasn`t stopped me.
|30 Pensions low. Used to be allowance for diabetics, stopped because food now lower proportion of income. But food still high proportion of pensioner`s income.|
|31 MPs don`t know re National Insurance fund. Should be free travel for pensioners, as in Birmingham – idea from me and my father c.1958 – members of Labour Party.|
|32 Not frightened of diabetes. Life interesting – lots to do to improve it. |
Advice: check sugar, follow treatment. Advice to medics – listen. Don`t force people - persuade them.
|33 Not member of Diabetes UK. Stopped getting “Balance” - repeated things & I was short of money. Don`t believe in medals – don`t deserve them.|