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|01 Dad working –class – a tacker. Mum middle-class. Met through Seventh-day Adventist church. |
Aged 1, I was scalded all over – still have marks.
|02 Had measles & German measles. Ashamed of illness. Diabetes had stigma. |
1939, aged nearly 14, Mum took me to GP.
|03 Urine test. Diagnosed “sugar diabetes” – derogatory - people died of it. Admittted to Royal Berkshire Hospital for 1 week. Attributed to shock at grandfather`s death. Dramatic weight loss.|
|04 In hospital, woke & couldn`t move. No-one explained why. Overheard nurse talking re complications. 4-point blood test. Insulin graded to 80. Not told re hypos. Bread in night…|
|05 …made me better. Hospital blood tests based on rest, not exercise. 1 injection daily – later 2. Food in 10 gram portions - scales used ounces!|
|06 Greens, fruit, protein, little carbohydrate. |
Left hospital with large syringe, , needles, brass wire, insulin, diet sheet, Benedictine, test tube, scales. Indigestion ever since - stress & insecurity.
|07 Mum made fuss. Post-war rations. Brother resented my extra eggs. Father hardened towards me. I left Scouts without saying why. No sweet rations, extra cheese. Hungry.|
|08 3 weeks at home after hospital. Mum bought bike. Cycled round council estate. |
Told no-one at school. Teacher said I looked tired. Gardening instead of football.
|09 Couldn`t be sign-writer because not allowed up ladders. Worked in cycle shop. Built own bike. Didn`t smoke or drink. Changed to protamine zinc. Drank water at work – sugars high.|
|10 Aged nearly 18 escaped Seventh-day Adventist church by laying flooring at weekends. So successful went full-time, self-employed. Mum gave cooked vegetables for lunch. Bought own car. Still drinking water.|
|11 Admitted to hospital with septic leg. Diabetics expected short life. |
Moved into skilled labour – roofing. Used ladders.
|12 Ate cooked vegetables apart from workmates eating sandwiches. Had suit made. Mother continued weighing food. Urine testing useless. Used hypo as “bouncing platform”. Used Clinitest from around 1957.|
|13 Wrongly thought I`d good control. |
Always in building trade. Exercise kept sugars down.
Bought land. Married 1958. Lived in caravan on land. Bought motorcycle, 1959. Mother thought wife couldn`t look after me. Got pneumonia. Had 2 sons in caravan.
|14 Needed mortgage to build house on land. Diabetics couldn`t get insurance. Began building house alone. Persuaded bank manager to lend money to complete.|
|15 1962, bought more land & sold house I`d built. Built another bungalow & moved in. Had 3rd son.|
|16 By 1970s, wrongly thought control good. Rarely went to clinic - waste of time - didn`t test eyes or feet, just urine. Went to GP with eye spots.|
|17 Reading Eye Hospital verified retinopathy. Referred to Oxford Eye Hospital for new laser treatment – jumbo. Awful – long needle in corner of eye…|
|18 …numbed eye. Double vision. Surgeon pressed pedal. Surge of heat. Nurse poured water into eye. Frightening. Other eye done later. Stabilised sight for years. Patients depressed after treatment.|
|19 Sight good in 1970s. Bleeding worse, 1979. More laser – better than jumbo. Doctor said travel before sight loss. Stopped buying land for building & went to Australia.|
|20 Before departure, went to GP with stomach pains. Diagnosed hyperglycaemia. I disagreed. Ambulance to hospital. GP called in – said I was right: not hyperglycaemia, but…|
|21 …internal blockage. |
Saw advert for home blood glucose monitoring machine - £80 - with GP letter. GP thought waste of money, but wrote letter…
|22 When machines completed, 1st person in Britain to get meter - Hypoguard. Had other machines from since. First one needed large blob blood on strip. Later, used plunger. I`d thought “bouncing” system worked. Found in fact control poor. Depressed.|
|23 Took Hypoguard to Australia, Strips expensive, so only tested sometimes. Found test needed daily. 3 months in Australia, then California. Juggled food over time zones.|
|24 Eyesight improved. |
Night sweats. – new GP didn`t know why. Tested more, despite expense. Only occasionally attended clinic. Read in “Balance” re Unit 100 insulin. GP put me on it.
|25 Lost sight in left eye. Sight in right eye retained. Glucose levels improving. Wife weighed food. Moved from cooked vegetables to lunchtime sandwich.|
|26 Early 1990s, strips on prescription. Tested more & kept records. Adjusted insulin to varied exercise at work. Didn`t tell clinic – would have disapproved. (At Oxford clinic from c.1980.)|
|27 Night sweats continued. Tested in night & ate something. Tested 5 times daily – to save other eye. No more night sweats or times when woke immobilised. Devised own system – doctor`s advice never works.|
|28 I`m non-smoker, non-drinker, vegetarian. |
Continued self-employment after 65. Always worked alone, so could eat & test to suit me. Never told re diabetes. This year driving licence not renewed – jumbo damaged peripheral vision.
|29 Ride motorcycles built in teens. |
No diabetes in 3 sons or other relatives (Type 2 not identified in past.)
|30 Trainee doctors at GP`s surgery find nothing wrong. Chiropodist admired feet. I use term “diabetic”.|
|31 Attended wedding in suit worn aged 17. Fitter than contemporaries because of regime. Have cut workload - energy expenditure less variable, control better.|
|32 Help gardening, maintain motorbikes, always active.|