People with Diabetes
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At the time of diagnosis

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At the time of diagnosis With his wife and six of his children David, 2005
 
 
Interview 37 David

Person with diabetes
Born in Fiji Islands in 1934.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Birmingham in 1980


Overview: David`s father was a Fijian doctor whose work took him all round the Fiji islands. David himself managed a small post office before coming to England in 1959. His wife and baby son joined him later and they had six more children. He had converted from Methodism to his wife`s Catholicism and his children attended Catholic schools in Birmingham. He worked long hours to support them, as a telecommunications engineer, until he retired at the age of 60. He used to dream of returning to Fiji but now feels he couldn`t leave his children and grandchildren.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 17 January 2005

 Short samples

1 Both of David’s parents were diabetic, so he is able to compare their treatment in Fiji with the way he has been treated in England, both by doctors and by the general public. [ 55 secs ]

2 He managed to control his diabetes by diet alone for ten years. The recommended diet was very similar to the diet he’d had in Fiji, but very different from the food he’d been eating during the twenty years he’d spent in England:. [ 52 secs ]

 
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01 Born Fiji Islands – paradise. Father travelling doctor, mother poor farming background. Crown Colony – good education. Left school 16, worked as clerk. Came to England…
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02 …aged 24 with 2 friends. Worked as telecoms engineer in Birmingham. Studied part-time.
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03 Homesick – Fiji tolerant, employment, healthy.
Parents diabetic.
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04 Wife & son followed. Rented, then bought house.
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05 I came 1959. Worked for GPO - later called British Telecoms - until retired at 60 - outdoor line maintenance. Overtime to provide for 7 children. (Had managed small post office in Fiji.)
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06 Converted from Methodism to wife`s Catholicism. Children attended Catholic schools. Diagnosed myself, 1980 – same symptoms as diabetic friend. Treated at General Hospital.
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07 Diet only – fresh food as in Fiji, cabbage at work. Before that, tempted by English food – new to us – lots of sugar. Hard to give up. Wife cooked.
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08 Took light lunch to work. Different food from children. Parents & wife diabetic. So far children not diabetic – wife changed diet. Diet alone 1980-90. Hard at feast-times. If broke diet, lost energy. Kept urine test record.
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09 Tablets, 1990. Insulin, 2002. Doctor experimented with different tablets. Didn`t always follow diet.
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10 Training day, 2002. Morning – blood-testing meter. Afternoon – pen injecting NovoMix – prescribed by nurse. Hard at 1st – lumps on thighs. Then fine. Adjusting insulin gives more freedom than tablets or diet alone.
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11 1989, hypertension. 1995, laser treatment for eyesight – no problems since. (After diagnosis, diet cured eyesight.) 2001, in hospital for kidney & liver. While investigating, consultant damaged catheter – nearly died.
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12 Didn`t blame consultant – accident. Medical care & nursing good. (Put on drip.) No decline in NHS over years. Shorter outpatient waits.
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13 Long waits for arthritis appointments.
Wife diagnosed 1993. Diet-only briefly, then tablets – due to lifestyle, not heredity.
No problems at work with diabetes - occasional joke about indulgence.
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14 Not ashamed of diabetes.
In Fiji, people more sympathetic to diabetics, but medical treatment worse.
Hypos since on insulin – not serious – have warnings.
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15 Catholic faith sustains. Only suffering was when kidneys failed temporarily. Help wife in house.
Advice: right treatment, diet, activity.
6-monthly check-up. Good control. Busy helping elderly & sick.
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16 Diabetes hasn`t prevented anything.
Children doing well, avoiding diabetes.
Dreamed of return to Fiji, but became ill. Can`t leave children & grandchildren.
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Transcript
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