People with Diabetes
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Around the time of diagnosis

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Around the time of diagnosis Scar after most of her pancreas was removed, aged 22 Patsy, 2005
 
 
Interview 35 Patsy

Person with diabetes
Born in Birmingham in 1967.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Birmingham in 1978


Overview: Patsy is one of ten children. Her parents emigrated from Jamaica in the 1950s. Her mother worked as an auxiliary nurse and her father as a builder. After diagnosis, she resented having to weigh portions of carbohydrate, while her family could eat what they liked. She still calculates the weight of food. The question `Why me?` has persisted throughout her life. She feels that everything possible has gone wrong with her health and she is now on haemodialysis. But her love for her young son keeps her going and, despite poor health, she`s determined to spend time with him.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 11 January 2005

 Short samples

1 She constantly compared the restrictions she experienced as a result of her diabetes with the freedom experienced by her brothers and sisters, and says that this made her a very angry teenager [ 52 secs ]

2 She`s taken by ambulance to a Birmingham hospital for three sessions of haemodialysis a week. She wants to go on living, to be with all those she loves, and so accepts this exhausting routine as the price for survival [ 57 secs ]

 
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01 7th child of 10. No family diabetes. Parents from Jamaica, 1950s. Dad builder, Mum auxiliary nurse. English lifestyle in white area…
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02 …an advantage. Racism at school. Now I`m accepted.
Felt thirsty – GP blood test – weeks in Dudley Road Hospital – awful. Taught injections, hypo warnings, diet – forbidden full bread slice…
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03 …only ¾ . Still use 10 gram portions. Forbidden family food – “Why me?” – still ask that. Mum strict.
Injected orange. Steel needles, meths, urine testing. No other diabetic.
Told I`d got “sugar”.
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04 Mixtard, then Actrapid & Monotard. Ages to get sugars down.
Everyone treated me differently.
I didn`t understand explanation – thought caused by eating sugar.
New school. Used diabetes as excuse.
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05 Took insulins on school trip – diabetes makes you mature.
Angry teenager – resented restrictions
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06 “Why me?”.
Little drink, no drugs.
Aged 17/18, abscesses, boils. Doctors blamed me for things I wasn`t doing. Tried to follow diet.
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07 Unconscious several times.
One other diabetic pupil.
Boyfriends scared off.
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08 O Levels in hospital; ill at A Levels. Worked in old people`s home. Gallstones in pancreas – 4 years pain. Aged 22, most of pancreas removed.
Hospital rules strict. When little, limited visits.
Lived with Mum after operation. Aged 20, had lived with boyfriend – coped with hypos, but not pancreatitis.
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09 Relieved pain had cause.
Insist on seeing top doctor. Must relate to diabetic & renal nurses – or see someone else.
Specialist nurses started c. 10 years after diagnosis. Agree to do what told but don`t do it.
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10 Moved back with boyfriend. Wanted to live differently because nearly died. Lived with brother, then alone. Felt well. Nearly 27, met child`s father. In hospital for pregnancy. Hypos & pregnancy scared off boyfriend.
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11 Mother & baby care good.
Had worked as care assistant, then in admin. After hernia.
Since life shortened aged 11, lived to full.
Ill after son born. Son good re diabetes. Dialysis tiring.
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12 2000, CAPD dialysis at home. Didn`t suit. Nearly died - peritonitis. Haemodialysis. On 3 diets – for diabetes, pancreas & dialysis…
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13 …to protect heart. Can`t do job & look after son. At first Mum helped, then childminder during dialysis. Son energetic.
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14 Play with son 3 evenings.
Hospital dialysis 2 eves & 1 afternoon. Wait for ambulance. Must do it to live.
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15 Moan, but want to live. Watch TV, read or sleep during dialysis. Patients become family.
Carer takes son to school. Another carer checks I`m up. Too tired to do much. Son comes home…
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16 …walk to fetch him, Tuesdays, cook & play.
Haven`t exercised since parathyroidectomy last year. Mild retinopathy. Malabsorption. Too tired to eat. Autonomic neuropathy. Medics don`t understand. Current doctor sympathetic.
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17 Without diabetes, I`d teach abroad.
Son keeps me going.
Advice: enjoy life.
Rebuked for not testing sugars – easier now on computer.
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18 Month in hospital – infected toe.
Wish I`d dared more. Travel difficult - must stay with good doctor & nurses. Some diabetics problem-free. I`m happy. Take one day at time.
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Transcript
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