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As a Red Cross nurse in the war

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As a Red Cross nurse in the war Aged 84 Monica Winn, 2004
 
 
Interview 31 Monica Winn

Person with diabetes
Born in Plymouth in 1919.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Plymouth in 1927


Overview: Monica Winn was the only child of a naval officer and grand-daughter of a doctor who diagnosed her diabetes only 4 years after insulin was first manufactured in England. She nearly died of pneumonia; had bronchitis every winter; spent much time in bed and never attended school. Her parents were told she wouldn`t live beyond 14 and she was told that she wouldn`t have children. She had a daughter in 1945 and recorded this interview when she was nearly 86. She is very fit and copes well with slight memory loss after a series of mini-strokes.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 02 December 2004

 Short samples

1 She was brought up in a large house belonging to her mother’s parents and was often visited by her father’s father who practised as a doctor in Manchester. She attributes her early diagnosis to her grandfather’s medical knowledge [ 41 secs ]

2 She has good control of her diabetes and has adjusted her insulin dosage to her food intake for many years [ 54 secs ]

 
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01 Born Plymouth 1919. Father in Navy. Lived with grandparents. Grandfather a doctor. Pneumonia. Bronchitis. Too ill to attend school. Diagnosed aged 8 - one of 1st on insulin.
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02 Private nursing home. Urine testing. Parents did injections. Glass syringes, steel needles, weighed food.
Spoilt child, because ill.
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03 In bed each winter, & for childhood illnesses. No other children, no exercise until older. Parents told I wouldn`t live till 14.
At 14 health improved. Did own injections from 16. Didn`t want to attend school.
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04 Doctor visited weekly. Took blood from vein.
Some parents thought diabetes catching.
Cousin died of diabetes. People thought diabetics only elderly.
Enjoyed wireless, walks, piano.
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05 No cinema, to avoid germs.
In war, became Red Cross nurse. Should have been a boy – to be a doctor.
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06 Had moved to Manchester when father retired. (Mother`s parents in Plymouth. Father`s father a Manchester doctor.) Met husband when driving for Royal Ordnance.
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07 Married at 24. Husband not worried by diabetes: I was well. Told couldn`t have children. Had daughter 1945. Hospitals happier, nurses had more time.
(Parents visited nursing home freely.)
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08 Gave up amateur dramatics - husband disapproved. Later, small part on TV. Bred poodles. Husband had shop in Salford until died, 1972.
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09 Always had good control. Adjust insulin to food – not at first, but last 30 years. Doctor said I knew more than him.
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10 When tablets came out, tried them – didn`t work.
Do blood test at bed-time to avoid mini-stroke. 24-hour insulin didn`t work. Always 2 injections daily.
Adjust insulin to sweet food.
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11 Had stroke 6 years ago after stress of moving here. No foot problems. Only need glasses for reading.
Injections half hour before breakfast & evening meal.
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12 I watch TV, shop, visit friends, lunch with wine, microwave meals, fetch pension, club, coffee morning, walk. Don`t see GP often – never re diabetes. No hypos, because test blood.
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13 Might have been career girl. Always had bad chest. (Won Pears competition, aged 3.) Never smoked. Wine twice daily.
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14 Friendly village. I do laundry, housework, microwave. Advice: watch diet, adjust insulin. Disappointed when tablets didn`t work - must inject insulin or die. Diabetes hasn`t restricted me. Needles painless.
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15 Enjoyed travel. Gave up - angina. When out, inject through tights.
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16 Never attended clinic since doctor said I knew more. Go to GP, but not for diabetes since moving here 8 years ago. Sad to move to retirement flat, but villagers friendly.
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17 Happiest when 1st married. (Wartime rationing.) Also after daughter born – never had hypos. Hypos c.20 years ago. Carry glucose. Used to carry sugar.
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18 Delivered meals on wheels. Chairman of Townswomen`s Guild. When speaker didn`t come, I did monologue – here`s an example!
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Transcript
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Extras
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