People with Diabetes
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With his family ( on right) around the time of diagnosis

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With his family ( on right) around the time of diagnosis Before diagnosis, 1974 Hans Csucsmi, 2005
 
 
Interview 38 Hans Csucsmi

Person with diabetes and healthcare professional
Born in Vienna in 1934.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Birmingham in 1979


Overview: Hans Csucsmi`s early childhood in Vienna was disrupted by war: street-fighting; the arrival of Nazi troops; the army`s occupation of his school; evacuation to Hungary; and flight from the Russians at the end of the war. After returning to Vienna, he did well at school and worked in a fashion house before emigrating to England in 1955 to train as a mental nurse. He married a fellow trainee and had one son. While working as night manager of a hospital, he ate and smoked both day and night, and became very overweight. After diagnosis, he changed his lifestyle completely.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 21 January 2005

 Short samples

1 His mother and older relatives on both sides of the family suffered from diabetes, and he has clear childhood memories of how diabetics were treated in wartime Vienna [ 58 secs ]

2 He also has clear memories of treatment in this country in the 1950s, when he was nursing in a mental hospital and had several patients with diabetes [ 59 secs ]

 
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01 Born Vienna, 1934. Father engineer. Mother`s mother & father`s sister diabetic - both affected by wartime shortage of insulin & needles - died of heart attacks. Mother had high sugar…
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02 …later put on tablets – took extra pill to have extra cake - dieted week before blood test – smoking affected eyesight - died before feet amputated.
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03 Education interrupted – army occupied school; sent to convent for nursing because underweight; evacuated to Hungary; returned – bomb scares; allied invasion; fled Russians – no education for 6 months.
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04 Returned – father disappeared, house occupied. Stayed with aunt. Grammar school. Trained in fashion house. Met Rampton Hospital nurses – interested - English mental nursing better than Austrian. Came to England, 1955, to St. Margaret`s, Walsall.
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05 Very good training – better than today.
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06 We did everything for mentally-handicapped diabetics – weighed food; insulin 3 times daily; urine testing – ages to get blood result. Later Clinitest, Clinistix. Man had uremic fit – realised seriousness of type 1…
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07 After retired, chaired Community Health Council – diabetic project – people not sufficiently informed. Later chaired Diabetic Advisory Group – failed to communicate improved services through GPs.
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08 Met wife while training. She took years off to look after son, then returned. I became charge nurse, refractory ward. 1972…
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09 …promoted night manager. Ate & smoked excessively. Eyesight problems. GP referral to General Hospital diabetic clinic. Diet – better than straight on tablets. Changed to day job. Stopped smoking…
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10 …wife stopped too.
Dieticians gave different advice.
Diet changed again after diverticulitis…
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11 Diabetes diagnosed 1979, diverticulitis 1992. Acarbose study, 1995. Lipid study, 2000 - & put on Atenolol for blood pressure. Metformin, 2002. Drug cocktail. Must reduce cholesterol.
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12 Diet-only control for 23 years – grateful - tablets rule life. Not “diabetic diet” – just healthy – big change.
Never thought I`d get diabetes.
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13 Never offered retinopathy test or chiropody. Arranged own retinopathy. Don`t need chiropody. Magnesium for cramp. Hospital & GP 6-monthly. GP`s diabetic clinic useless. Want lab blood test. Keep records…
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14 …random test record close to HbA1c. Diabetics mislead doctors.
When diagnosed, strips came, NHS paid.
GPs vary. Chairing Advisory Group…
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15 …tried to co-ordinate services - GPs didn`t attend. Whenever health service re-organised, diabetes work lost. Some GPs good. Information from “Balance” journal, not clinic. Test blood sugar & pressure weekly…
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16 …plus random tests. No routine last year - wife`s illness & member of Employment Tribunals. Must now establish routine.
Wife & son catered separately. On Metformin…
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17 …. & many other drugs.
Get lots of exercise; computer course; involved in charitable committees.
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18 Wife just died. Must rearrange household. Each day as it comes. Diabetes not illness – way of life. Advice: assess lifestyle. Side effects can be serious, as in Vienna.
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