People with Diabetes
Click to change to Family Members or Professionals
   
Aged 5

To view image in larger window click on desired thumbnail. Click again to enlarge further.

Aged 5 In hospital (far left) aged 9 At Diabetic Camp in Harrogate, 1952 (kneeling second from right)
Starting work age 15 (middle row) In hospital (back) aged 15 Allan`s medals
Allan Jones 2005
 
 
Interview 43 Allan Jones

Person with diabetes
Born in Pontypridd in 1938.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Cardiff in 1945


Overview: Allan Jones` father was a miner with six children. They had little money but had to pay for insulin and equipment until the National Health Service was created in 1948. They couldn`t afford cotton wool and re-used needles until they were blunt. When Allan was 15 he got a job as a messenger on the railways but had to pass a medical before being promoted. He feared he would lose his job if his diabetes was discovered, so took with him a sample of his brother`s urine! He passed the medical and worked happily on the railways for 30 years.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 30 January 2005

 Short samples

1 Before he was diagnosed, the local doctor had called several times, but couldn’t discover what was wrong – and Allan ended up in a coma for more than 3 days. It was only when he came round that he learnt what had happened [ 58 secs ]

2 Not long after he began his job as a messenger boy, aged 15, he visited the local hospital – now East Glamorgan Hospital – for treatment of his ingrown toenails. He was dismayed when they did a urine test and kept him at the hospital for 6 months [ 60 secs ]

 
 Available interview tracks
From here you can listen to any tracks that are of interest or read the transcript. If a track is highlighted this indicates it contains the subject you searched for. Clicking [Play On] will play the entire interview from that point onwards.

Where an interviewee refers to a particular item, there is sometimes a picture of that item among the thumbnails beneath the interviewee’s main photo and in the Extras section.
To play all interview tracks from the beginning, please click the [Play All] button here.
01 Father miner. 6 children. Poor. Own entertainment…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
02 …played outdoors, up mountain. Energetic before diagnosis.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
04 Hard to afford taxi. Professor Watkins asked students re diagnosis – no-one knew.
Hungry, homesick.
(Mother did injections until…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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”.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
06 Supposed to test urine twice daily – didn`t. Back to hospital with comas – mother hadn`t understood.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
09 Before NHS, paid for insulin & equipment. Couldn`t afford cotton-wool or new needles. Treated at hospital only – free, but paid fares.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
10 Few hypos - sugar high. Time on weak insulin brief – soon double strength soluble…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
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.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
Transcript
The full transcript of this interview is available to view.


You may download the full transcript from here.


Extras
There are no extra items for this interview

Oral History of Diabetes © 2005 - 2016 | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Built by Within