People with Diabetes
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John Browning, 1956

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John Browning, 1956 Leading the Queen`s birthday parade, Cyprus 1956 Bride and groom, 1957
With best man, 1957 John Browning 2004 2. 01 1956 - Notes inside cookery book
2. 02 1956 - Tables from Complete Cookery Book, published DBA 2. 03 1957 - Introduction to Radcliffe Infirmary Carbohydrate Food Table 2. 04 1962 - Radcliffe Infirmary diet sheet, p1
2. 05 1962 - Radcliffe Infirmary diet sheet, p2 2. 06 1971 - Well-worn exchange list
 
 
Interview 2 John Browning

Person with diabetes
Born in Liphook, Hampshire in 1929.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Aldershot in 1957


Overview: John Browning`s father was an army officer and John always assumed that he would make his own career in the forces. He was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 28, not long after getting married, and was invalided out of the army. He became a Conservative party agent and then a teacher. He still weighs his food and attributes his good health to his strict regime. He thinks one of the main improvements in his care has been to see the same specialist at each visit, instead of a different person every time.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 15 March 2004

 Short samples

1 In a military hospital in 1957, he was taught to categorise carbohydrates and proteins as “blacks” and “reds”, and he still thinks in these terms [ 51 secs ]

2 Eventually he enjoyed his career as a teacher, but when he was first told he must leave the army, he felt all his hopes had been dashed [ 42 secs ]

 
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01 Father a soldier. Family moved with him. At school in Sussex during Battle of Britain.
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02 Got into Dartmouth (naval college) at 13, but college bombed & moved. After war, naval training in Far East. Transferred to army 1952.
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03 Married & got diabetes in 1957. Identified as high flier & invalided out of army at same time. Very distressed. Worked for car hire firm.
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04 Became Conservative agent.
Backtrack to diagnosis while in army. In hospital for weeks.
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05 Taught injections on orange & nurse`s arm. Serious hypo: fought despair because first child expected.
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06 Taught urine test & weighing carbohydrate & protein: “blacks” & “reds”. No problems from `57 until move to Oxford in ‘62. Hypos rare until insulin changed in Oxford. First met diabetic specialists in Oxford.
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07 Explanation of “blacks” and “reds”. Still weigh food now.
Role of exercise not explained, but learnt by experience.
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08 Military Hospital very good. Thrown out of army in `58 on same day as daughter born. No supervision of diabetes until moved to Oxford. GPs knew little about it.
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09 In Oxford, became friends with local doctor. (Still with his practice.) Went to hospital diabetic clinic. Unsatisfactory at first because saw different doctor each time.
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10 Was put on different type of insulin – led to more hypos. Then saw Dr. Tim Dornan – changed regime & taught me how to control much better than before. Also, Radcliffe reorganised to enable patient to see same expert – “revolutionised things”.
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11 Put on slow acting & quick acting insulin. Control much easier. Role of exercise explained. Radcliffe passed results of research to patients & explained. Nurse Jill Steenson visited at home.
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12 She became friend like Tim Dornan. I repaid them by taking part in experiments. Learnt that I know what suits me. Tried small handheld computer 2 or 3 years ago – no use.
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13 Computer recommended too little Ultratard. I realised I know best from experience. Could have been 4 or 5 years ago.
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14 Tim Dornan spotted incipient eye problems, but didn`t develop after regime change.
Foot problems – podiatrists made special shoes.
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15 Podiatrists wonderful, but feet problems make it hard to get exercise.
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16 Main changes since mid-60s – improvements in syringes & needles. Advantage of NovoPen – recently improved. Stomach injections in public: others in private.
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17 Blood tests improved. Test frequently & adjust insulin. Test more often abroad. Adjust Actrapid but keep Ultratard same unless hospital advises. Know to adjust in unusual circumstances.
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18 Diabetic clinic improved – appointment to suit me; short waiting time; advice; can phone if problems – same with podiatrists. Not like that in past.
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19 Still weigh food & think in terms of “blacks”. More information on packaging now. Less food if not taking exercise.
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20 Still have copy of diet given in 1957. Still stick to similar regime.
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21 Effects on work: hard to adjust to civilian life; politics made control hard. Chose teaching in late ‘60s – control easy, and enjoyable. Fewer warnings of hypos since change to human insulin. Good support from clinic.
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22 Enjoyed job & coped. Had 5 children. Wife helped me cope, but copes less well with hypos since she had memory loss.
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23 Blood pressure problems. Cholesterol – wife has helped with right foods.
Advice to others: don`t despair – not as serious as in past. Keep to strict regime.
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Transcript
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Extras
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