People with Diabetes
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Class photo, 1954 (back row, second from right)

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Class photo, 1954 (back row, second from right) Peter and his cat, 2005
 
 
Interview 42 Peter

Person with diabetes
Born in Sheffield in 1942.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Sheffield in 1954


Overview: Peter`s father was a professor and both parents were well-informed about diabetes after his older brother was diagnosed in 1945. They spotted Peter`s symptoms early and at first he only needed four units of Lente insulin to last 24 hours. He was educated at Oxford and worked in the steel industry for several years. He is now a management consultant and has few problems associated with diabetes. He has recently remarried, after being widowed in 2003, and has a daughter with diabetes who is `much more able to cope with disturbances to her daily routine than I am`.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 27 January 2005

 Short samples

1 His older brother had been treated by RD Lawrence (co-founder of the British Diabetes Association, now Diabetes UK), in 1945 - and Peter thinks that his parents learnt more from Lawrence than they did from his own Sheffield consultant 9 years later. [ 55 secs ]

2 At first Peter used coarse 17 gauge needles that damaged his flesh; tested his urine with Clinitest tablets; and waited many hours for the results of hospital blood tests. So he’s full of praise for the improvements he has seen in his lifetime. [ 55 secs ]

 
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01 I`m 62. Brought up in Sheffield. Father professor. Grammar school; Oxford University; Sheffield steel industry; moved to Cotswolds with wife - short-term jobs; management consultancy.
Older brother diagnosed 1945 – treated by RD Lawrence. Parents spotted my symptoms early.
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02 Lawrence taught self-management - parents learnt more from him than from my specialist. I was diagnosed 1954 – very early – only 4 units of Lente at first. Diagnosed after ‘flu.
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03 Parents diagnosed. GP referred to hospital – adult ward - private room - nearly 2 weeks. Cycling machine daily.
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04 Medical staff realised parents knowledgeable. When left hospital, I was afraid I wouldn`t cope at school, but did.
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05 Injection once daily: glass syringe, surgical spirit, metal container. Steel needle – 17 gauge. Fat atrophy due to needle size & cow`s insulin. (Pig`s insulin came later.) Syringes lasted.
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06 Brother had used Benedict`s solution. I used Clinitest – worked well, but…
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07 …could get normal result on verge of hypo.
Lawrence taught re portions, but 10 grams carbohydrate of some food more harmful than 10 grams of another…
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08 …mother realised, but dieticians made no distinction. Dieticians referred to black lines. Also red lines - protein & fat – parents didn`t bother with these. Broke rules in teens – Bounty bars.
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09 Back to school. Unconscious with hypo. Happened 6 times. I didn`t talk re diabetes. Teachers became well-informed. Sent 3 times…
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10 …for caning – surprised when let off!
Special puddings – public. Cooks treated me differently – bad for diabetic children that…
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11 …adults fuss over them. Once interviewed by researcher re psychological effects.
Only diabetic pupil - only 30 years after insulin introduced. More diabetes in gene pool now. (1st Sheffield person to receive insulin – Sir Stuart Goodwin.)
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12 In teens, discovered re later complications – when applied for insurance & when treasurer of local Diabetic Assoc. died young. Longevity due to luck & control. I`m lucky: when Jim Black examined eyes at Radcliffe…
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13 …students thought I wasn`t diabetic. Have membranous nephropathy, unconnected with diabetes. Specialist says if eyes good, kidneys good. Others less fortunate – should research why.
Hard-working teens. Never exercised much.
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14 School photos - tallest at time of diagnosis; following year, had stopped growing. Then grew over 6 ft. Voice broke late.
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15 Teens - Didn`t drink much. Brother allowed smoking instead of sweets. I smoked until mid-30s. Girlfriends not involved in diabetes, but may have deterred some.
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16 Worked for steel firm between school & Oxford University. Returned to firm at end of 1st year at university. Following summer, worked as coppersmith`s mate.
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17 Parents had prepared me to manage diabetes away from home. Mother worried more than necessary – don`t hear of people dying from hypos. Few hypos at university…
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18 …but one while driving – banned from driving for 1 month.
No dietary problems at university.
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19 Managed Chinese meals. Always eat what`s given – just check re carbohydrate. Attended clinic at home. Only attended GP at university when broke nose.
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20 Became graduate apprentice with steel company – managed shift-work OK – as when crossing time zones.
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21 Haven`t talked re diabetes at work, but ensure someone knows. Nowadays people know someone diabetic – as indicated by Prof. Matthews (mentioned in Inspector Morse novel).
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22 Mother-in-law worried re infertility – doctor said no problem & children might not have diabetes. Daughter diagnosed in early 30s…
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23 …She became pregnant, 2003 – good medical treatment. Good control – normal sized baby.
I don`t interfere, but helped with injecting at first.
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24 She copes better than me with disturbances in routine - & has hypo warnings.
Problems when I started human insulin - packets not labelled - but still had hypo warnings .
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25 In 1950s, insulin from hospital. When charges began, put shilling in machine. Later prescription from GP. NHS sometimes unhelpful e.g. damage caused by coarse needles, or charge for disposables needles before outcry. I re-use disposables.
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26 Used to get at least 3 months supplies from GP – now only 2 months. Some reports of pressure to use fewer test strips. I prefer large supply of insulin
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27 Didn`t test until my 40s – guessed - urine testing inconvenient; blood-testing at first delayed. Began testing after ‘flu…
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28 …halved dosage – high sugar – admitted to hospital. Got first BM test kit. 2 injections daily of mixed insulin – control not so good as now. Began 4 injections daily, early ‘90s – more flexible. Use pen – fine needle – easier than in past.
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29 NHS good for diabetics – nobody prefers private treatment. Fewer hospitalised. Outpatients good. I prefer hospital to GPs` clinics.
Now health professionals recognise diabetes – in past GPs didn`t.
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30 I`m 62 & still working as management consultant. Don`t exercise enough. Wife died 2 years ago. Recently married old friend – copes well with diabetes. Hard to live alone.
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31 Can`t imagine life without diabetes. Mother found hard to say I`d always have to inject – I accepted it. Hasn`t prevented anything. Advice: trust advice, learn to control - can`t forget it, but worse diseases. Lawrence keen diabetics should lead normal life.
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Transcript
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