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Around time of diagnosis

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Around time of diagnosis Philip Newick, 2005
 
 
Interview 39 Philip Newick

Person with diabetes
Born in Bristol in 1950.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Birmingham in 1979


Overview: Philip Newick comes from a working-class Bristol family which was greatly affected by redundancies in the aircraft industry. Determined to escape such insecurity, he did a degree and postgraduate work in chemical engineering. He worked for HJ Heinz until after diagnosis, when he was told that he could no longer work abroad. He then got a job nearer to his home in Birmingham and all his treatment has been in that city. He and his wife still weigh and measure all his food and he has few health problems - apart from an inability to detect the onset of hypos.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 23 January 2005

 Short samples

1 When he left hospital after diagnosis, he immediately returned to his job with Heinz. His level of activity suddenly changed; he over-injected insulin and tried to keep his glucose levels too low – with embarrassing consequences at work. [ 57 secs ]

2 He always does a blood test before driving a car because he can never forget what happened when he had a hypoglycaemic attack, shortly before he acquired a blood test machine, in the mid-1980s. [ 55 secs ]

 
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01 Bristol working-class. Family & in-laws in aircraft industry - affected when Rolls Royce went bust. Determined to avoid such insecurity. Grammar school. Chemical engineering at Leeds University. MSc. PhD at Birmingham. At 25, got research job, HJ Heinz – travelled abroad.
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02 Diagnosed 1979 - couldn`t work abroad, so left Heinz. (Lived in Birmingham while working in London.)
GP. Week in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Researched diabetes in library. No family history.
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03 Blood sugar brought down – affected eyesight. 2 weeks off work. Sister from General Hospital talked re diabetes. Q.E. a teaching hospital. Lots of blood tests. Nurses did urine testing, though blood test strips available.
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04 Mixture of 2 porcine insulins twice daily. Neurotic re injections at first. Now use same, least painful, sites – medics disapprove.
Book of carbohydrate equivalents. Not diabetic diet – healthy diet. Still weigh food. Hard to judge sauces in France.
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05 Wife & I still weigh & measure. Information on packet sometimes wrong, but useful – first seen in USA c.1982 – came here soon after.
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06 Treatment at Q.E. good. Disliked consultant`s “joke” re terminal illness. Professor expected cure in 5 years.
Returned straight to work – mistake – admitted to hospitals with hypos…
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07 …3 times in 2 weeks. Embarrassing. Colleagues wary. Registered with GP for 1st time. Social effects worse than medical. Took years to learn control…
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08 …strong work ethic – only missed work to attend Birmingham clinic occasionally. Didn`t have warnings of hypos. Doctor advised against buying new blood sugar machine – in fact, changed my life. Was controlling too low.
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09 Doctor advised against machine c.1984. Got machine when test strips free – should have done before.
Gave up Heinz when couldn`t work abroad. 23 years in chemical engineering nearer Birmingham until redundant. Hypos at work – student lifestyle.
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10 Mid 1980s, shortly after advised against machine, had hypo while driving. Charges of dangerous driving – nightmare – so bought machine…
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11 …c.1986. Saw doctor privately - testified in court. Good solicitor. Now always test sugar before driving. Dangerous driving not proven.
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12 Driving licence reviewed every 5 years - report from private diabetologist. (Never saw GP.) Work involved driving, including France.
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13 Blood sugar machine changed life. Nurse doesn`t understand levels high after meals. Feel guilty re diabetes. Can`t detect hypos. Stick rigidly to diet & injections.
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14 “Balance” magazine makes me feel guilty. Shame re hypos.
1979 – family unhappy re diagnosis. Gave up smoking. People ignorant re hypos. Colleagues sympathetic, but wish they hadn`t described hypos.
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15 Coped with travel. Round world in fortnight. Broke insulin vial in India – managed on less, with diet adjusted – testing machine essential.
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16 Hypo at Paris airport when called out with no time to prepare.
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17 Admitted to hospital with virus – probably Dengue Fever. Affected diabetes. Prefer to manage self in hospital – blood test, then vary insulin amount.
Otherwise healthy – never see doctor, except after redundancy – for cholesterol & blood pressure.
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18 Unemployed 5 months, then part-time university lecturing & freelance chemical engineering contracts. Don`t say I`m diabetic – no employment protection.
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19 Work long hours - evening meal too late for good control. Play badminton.
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20 With wife since 1972. She spots hypos, especially in sleep. She tried & failed to inject Glucagon - I don`t know how much to take – must read instructions.
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21 No other health problems.
Without diabetes, would have continued unhealthy lifestyle. Wanted to live abroad, but family ties, not diabetes, stopped me.
Medics deserve praise for improvements in treatment – human insulins, disposable syringes…
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22 …I re-use them. Interested in insulin pump & transplant of cells. Private diabetologist always treats well – in NHS, see different people & some talk down. NHS improved, except cleaning. Message – worse things to have than diabetes – can do anything.
Always ready to go on.
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Transcript
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