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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.|
|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.
|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.|
|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.
|05 Wife & I still weigh & measure. Information on packet sometimes wrong, but useful – first seen in USA c.1982 – came here soon after.|
|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…
|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…|
|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.|
|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.
|10 Mid 1980s, shortly after advised against machine, had hypo while driving. Charges of dangerous driving – nightmare – so bought machine…|
|11 …c.1986. Saw doctor privately - testified in court. Good solicitor. Now always test sugar before driving. Dangerous driving not proven.|
|12 Driving licence reviewed every 5 years - report from private diabetologist. (Never saw GP.) Work involved driving, including France.|
|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.|
|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.
|15 Coped with travel. Round world in fortnight. Broke insulin vial in India – managed on less, with diet adjusted – testing machine essential.|
|16 Hypo at Paris airport when called out with no time to prepare.|
|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.
|18 Unemployed 5 months, then part-time university lecturing & freelance chemical engineering contracts. Don`t say I`m diabetic – no employment protection.|
|19 Work long hours - evening meal too late for good control. Play badminton.|
|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.|
|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…
|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.