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|01 Born 1942. Berkshire villages. Father driver; mother with Esso. Brother diagnosed later – no other history. Poor family. Post-war rations. Bullied at school - left at 15 – learning began!|
|02 Mother cooked well. I helped father`s repairs, saw films, roamed outdoors..|
|03 Diagnosed 1954. GP referred to Radcliffe Infirmary, 3 to 4 weeks. 80 units Insulin Zinc Suspension. Later, Churchill Hospital – potatoes, no sugar…|
|04 …poor control, insulin increased, diet hard. Lady doctor allowed more liberal diet. Control improved. Left after 11 weeks on 100+ units. Enjoyed children`s ward. |
|05 Shock – parents knew little re diabetes - soon adapted. |
Hospital urine testing - test tube – always orange. Later Clinitest.
Diet – Protein “free”, carbohydrate strict. Given scales by…
|06 …almoner, for carbohydrate. After Churchill, secondary modern. Treated like alien – dried apricots daily! Friend`s mother asked if diabetes catching. One pupil had “drinking diabetes.”.|
|07 Treated same by teachers. Didn`t use diabetes as excuse. Sports. Told people re diabetes, fearing hypos. “Hypo” means many things. Fell off bike unconscious, aged 14. Only 8 full hypos ever.|
|08 Insulin mixture once daily. Large needles blocked. Glass syringes exploded – metal & glass scarcely better. Boiled syringe, kept in meths. |
After school, apprentice, RAF maintenance, then Atomic Energy – trained in Dorset – managed – not treated differently.
|09 Life improved after leaving school – dancing, motorbike, smoking, not much drinking – less than brother because diagnosed younger. Ignored advice not to smoke…|
|10 …everyone did. |
Clinic 3-monthly, then 6-monthly. Urine tests high – later told renal threshold low.
|11 Aged 17, got motorbike. Father`s diabetic friend crashed car. Told insurance I was diabetic - biking banned. Next year, got car insurance. Brother had no insurance problems. |
|12 After apprenticeship, worked in atomic energy. Married aged 24. Before marriage, saw doctor re fear of breeding diabetics – reassured. Two children – not diabetic. Always feared early death.|
|13 When youngest son born, 1971, working in Oxford cryogenics lab. Then hospital research technician. 2 injections daily – reluctant, but better. Stress – referred to psychiatrist – suggested Zen Buddhism…|
|14 …helped diabetes. If stressed, levels go up – causes more stress. High sugars – irritable; low sugars – negative. Don`t use diabetes as excuse, but true. Wife copes well – copies mother – leaves alone. Need calm.|
|15 Mother calm. |
Doctors should respect your knowledge & give reassurance – shouldn`t give prognosis. Memories of good doctors.
|16 Diabetic nurses introduced. Mine hard to contact. |
Late 1970s, took part in opthalmist`s study at Radcliffe, but didn`t take tablets! Early 1980s, tried insulin for 2 Australian researchers – lost 2 stone – other doctor changed me back.
|17 1980, worked for Metal Box – sent to Holland – first flight – traumatic, but diabetes OK. Then went to States regularly – coped. Sugar levels rise at first – stress? – |
|18 …took longer to come down in States. Hard to eat on time, but coped. 1992 – to California for 2 years with wife & daughter – fine – doctor reduced high cholesterol. Then unemployed, then Metal Box again. 1997, ran workshop in space science department. |
|19 Aged 60, 2002, retired. Now odd jobs. Current contract in Birmingham University`s space science. |
Eyes cloudy. Podiatrist says feet fine - some loss of feeling. Ear infection. Blood pressure tablets.
|20 Main improvement - easy blood tests – 4 or 5 times daily – lack warnings. Syringes improved. 2002 - pen. Recently 4 injections daily- less than third of insulin taken 30 years ago. Don`t choose more liberal diet.|
|21 In past, told to alter insulin – preferred to alter carbohydrate. Now 4 injections more flexible. |
Not so well cared for as formerly – less important because older? – recent clinic visits 9-monthly – waste of time & parking fee.
|22 Diabetes nurse good but hard to contact. When she was away, went to GP – referred back to hospital. Insisted on seeing consultant – rebuked for not seeing nurse. |
Diabetes hasn`t stopped active life – now golf.
Message: look after yourself; don`t let diabetes rule; don`t use it as crutch; be normal.