People with Diabetes
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Around time of diagnosis

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Around time of diagnosis At home, 2004 Shirley 2004
 
 
Interview 4 Shirley

Person with diabetes
Born in Nottingham in 1944.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Birmingham in 1973


Overview: Shirley left school at 16 and worked for the Inland Revenue until retirement. When she was diagnosed, her mother was very ashamed. Shirley looked after her parents until they died and then lived alone. She has had to cope alone with severe hypos, but says that living alone makes it easier to keep to a strict diet. She feels that her diet has made her healthier than she would have been if she hadn`t had diabetes. She has a low opinion of doctors, apart from a few consultants, but likes the group meetings held nowadays by specialist nurses.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 22 March 2004

 Short samples

1 After Shirley first changed from pork insulin, she had several dramatic hypos [ 58 secs ]

2 Shirley remembers a bad experience as a result of a doctor thinking he knew better than she did, but is grateful to another doctor who understood what was wrong [ 58 secs ]

 
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01 Born 1944. Cousin later died of undiagnosed diabetes at 18. Father later developed Type 2. After school, joined Inland Revenue for over 43 years – good about time off to look after sick parents and…
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02 …when I`m ill. Ideal for fragile diabetic.
Had fall, then became ill. Didn`t suspect diabetes, because ignorant. Even after diagnosis, didn`t understand. Hated insulin and old syringes.
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03 2 weeks in Selly Oak Hospital, 1973. Kept active, to balance exercise & insulin. Critical ward. Shortage of night nurses. Air bubbles in syringe. Hated glucose.
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04 How sugar testing changed. Very strict diet – “green, black and red”.
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05 Tried making diabetic pudding. Don`t like sweet food now. Lucky to live alone & not fit in with others.
Mother ashamed of diabetes. Still don`t talk about it to family.
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06 Try to hide it at work, but ill recently & they were worried. They only know older relatives who don`t have hypos. Was fine until I changed to human insulin.
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07 Very dramatic hypos. Better after changed back to pork insulin.
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08 Have gone up from 1 to 4 injections. Due to poor control, back on human insulin a few months ago - supposed to be better nowadays.
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09 Have a lot of hypos. Eat sugar, but don`t want people at work to notice. Out on a walk, behaved as though drunk.
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10 Have been unconscious, but not in coma. Hard when nursing mother. Easier when living alone – doesn`t affect others.
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11 Diet has changed. Eat more fruit & vegetables. Don`t like special diabetic foods.
Feel well, apart from hypos. High cholesterol & blood pressure, but eyes good.
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12 No longer weigh food, but stick with “blacks” etc in my mind. Find it easy. Others find it hard. I`m afraid of getting ill, as I`m alone. Slight problems, but mainly well.
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13 Nurse in ‘70s told me she was “brittle”. Perhaps I am too.
Doctors don`t explain - different one every time. Don`t trust them. Nurses now more knowledgeable. One doctor rebuked me for increasing insulin with bronchitis – wrong.
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14 Only trust specialists, not GPs. Even some hospital doctors don`t know much. I know more. NHS in Birmingham good.
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15 Do what doctors say if I agree. Nurse told me to put up human insulin. No point in consulting nurses to adjust insulin. Can do it myself.
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16 Don`t like seeing medics. Nurse treated me like child. Improvements – treat you as equals now; shorter waiting times.
Public know more about diabetes now, but don`t understand hypos.
Other diabetics less rigid about diet.
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17 People cater better for diabetics now. Diabetic food was awful. Now much more sugar-free in supermarkets - benefit from slimmers` foods.
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18 Diabetes has made me healthier – diet & exercise. Learnt to cope with emergencies. Advice to others – shock at first, but not as bad as you think.
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19 NovoPens wonderful but want return to plastic syringes - arthritis in hands.
Don`t talk to other diabetics & no longer take DBA magazine – diabetes not interesting.
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Transcript
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