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|01 Father miner. 6 children. Poor. Own entertainment…|
|02 …played outdoors, up mountain. Energetic before diagnosis.|
|03 Lost energy & appetite. Doctor visited often – no idea. Stomach pains one evening. Aunt (a matron) said get doctor. He was drunk - advised sweet drinks. Aunt said get taxi. Cardiff Royal Infirmary – unconscious over 3 days.|
|04 Hard to afford taxi. Professor Watkins asked students re diagnosis – no-one knew. |
(Mother did injections until…
|05 …injected self aged 10.) |
Parents visited alternate days.
I thought injections & diet temporary.
No sweet things, but no strict diet. Fixed amount insulin - ate “around that”.
|06 Supposed to test urine twice daily – didn`t. Back to hospital with comas – mother hadn`t understood.|
|07 Urine test usually orange – high sugar. Mother reduced food – no salads – others ate bread & potatoes – I was hungry – bought chocolate. |
Aunt died of “drinking disease” before insulin. Daughter hasn`t got it.
|08 People thought I`d die – gave me attention, but not sweets – seemed like punishment. Back to school full-time aged 9 or 10. Wasn`t caned – resented by other children. Insulin weak – often sleepy. Football helped burn sugar. Prof. Watkins encouraged normal life.|
|09 Before NHS, paid for insulin & equipment. Couldn`t afford cotton-wool or new needles. Treated at hospital only – free, but paid fares.|
|10 Few hypos - sugar high. Time on weak insulin brief – soon double strength soluble…|
|11 …until 1975. Then with Isophane until 1992. Actrapid & Monotard until 1995. Now Mixtard. Lost warnings when changed to human insulin - doctors sceptical. |
Started work aged 15 as railways messenger boy. (Later went for medical - took brother`s urine…
|12 …Passed medical – happy on railways for 30 years.) Shortly after starting work, 26 weeks in local hospital – couldn`t stabilise. (I`d given up testing urine.) Never altered insulin – just starvation. So I…|
|13 …ran away. Returned for 16 weeks. Left hospital when mother feared I`d lose job. |
Attended outpatients – lots more doctors than today.
Medical later when promoted from messenger boy…
|14 …to checker - until yard closed - then same work in Cardiff. Diabetes no problem. |
No girlfriends – embarrassed re diabetes. Wife-to-be didn`t mind.
|15 Checker to foreman to supervisor until 1979. 1964 – married, night-shifts started. Doctor advised against shifts, until realised I`d lose job. Never rigid regime. Didn`t visit hospital, 1953 to 1970s.|
|16 Workplace closed 1979. Booking office until 1981. Eye problems - laser treatment - doctor advised giving up work – aged 43. Blessing - could look after sick wife & young daughter.|
|17 Health improved. Gardened, shopped, cleaned. No laser since 1991. Sight in 1 eye only. Cataract. Still drive locally. Hypos rare, but insulin needs vary according to exercise…|
|18 …Sugar level OK at 10 after rest, not after exercise - affected by illness. After 60 years, insulin not absorbed well. Eat more than necessary at bed-time, fearing hypo. Wife recognises symptoms.|
|19 Absorption rates differ daily – hungry when insulin kicks in – hard if before meal. See consultant twice yearly. Occasionally ring specialist nurses. GP has clinic. Once rang nurse from Spanish holiday. |
Now test often – got tester c.5 years ago.
|20 Neglect myself caring for anorexic wife. Too tired to cook - eat chocolate. Eat more at bed-time - she couldn`t lift me if had hypo. Told doctor – gave me Glucagon for her to use. Hypos feel awful. Daughter helped, but she`s getting married.|
|21 Like idea of injections 4 times daily, but maybe haven`t enough sites – will ask. Needles now free, so use new ones. Needles fine - just lift shirt. Better insulins. Biggest change – not hungry…|
|22 …more food, more insulin – big discovery. |
Formerly abused illness – now everything free! No time to read – probably more available than realise.
Always thought “Why me?” - stopped me being driver…
|23 …but lucky to get job – no laws re disabled. |
Advice: lead normal life. Don`t copy me - broke rules, still well – maybe just lucky. Drank lemonade until time for next injection.