People with Diabetes
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On holiday not long after diagnosis

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On holiday not long after diagnosis Aged 20 (left)  Receiving an award for his work as an operating theatre orderly
Having a drink with hospital colleagues Colin Gates, 2005
 
 
Interview 47 Colin Gates

Person with diabetes
Born in Woking, Surrey in 1938.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Oxford in 1979


Overview: Colin Gates` father and 6 uncles were all butchers and Colin did a meat apprenticeship between leaving school and doing National Service. He worked as a butcher for 17 years then moved into security work; it was during a company health check that his diabetes was discovered. He later became an operating theatre orderly and won an award for his work before a stroke led to early retirement. He regards a subsequent quadruple heart bypass as `the best thing I have ever had done` and refuses to allow other health problems to stop his enjoyment of life.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 13 May 2005

 Short samples

1 He grew up eating the fat with the meat and having bread and jam and cakes for tea. Although he was very athletic in his youth, he gradually put on weight in later life. Even so, he’d had none of the usual symptoms of diabetes when he was diagnosed [ 59 secs ]

2 He compares the old hospital where he was first treated for diabetes, with the newly-built hospital he now attends - and is full of praise for the care he has received in both. [ 59 secs ]

 
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01 London boy – evacuated during war. Father a butcher in Middx. I became butcher`s boy at 12. Left school at 15. 5-year apprenticeship, Meat Trades Council. Began National Service, 1958 – catering. Back to butchering.
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02 Father got diabetes, aged 72: no other family history. Was athletic – represented county in running & football. Only later put on weight – caused diabetes.
Little fruit in wartime diet. Good meat from butcher`s shop. Gradually gained weight.
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03 Mother was big. I had sweet tooth, especially when rationing stopped. Mother made cakes. Always ate meat-fat. Bread, jam, cakes for tea. Father grew vegetables. Didn`t like salad.
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04 Trained as army cook – quantity not quality. Cooked breakfasts. Bought chocolate.
After army, butchery for 16/17 years. Married, lived in accommodation tied to job, had child.
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05 Married 1962. Son born 2 years later. Had moved to Oxford. Daughter born 6 years later. Fellow butcher did crimes - business died. Went into radio control security. Got promoted – company health check, 1979 – told I`d got diabetes. Had no symptoms. Doctor said must lose weight.
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06 Lost 1˝ stone. Thought I was cured! Doctor explained diabetes for life. Cheated on diet & didn`t feel ill. No blood readings. Only later realised damage done.
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07 Had given up sport. Worked long hours as butcher – relaxed in cinema. Radio control work – sedentary shifts. Hard to exercise since stroke. Still must lose weight. (Wife used to cook fat meat from shop.)
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08 Lost 1˝ stone - strict diet – frightened. Difficult with shift work. Doctors` advice makes sense.
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09 Still have glass of beer daily: otherwise never cheat. Depressed at first, but clinic excellent. 1979/80, old Radcliffe – no parking, small rooms, fewer specialist nurses, but good treatment. New hospital marvellous, more specialist nurses. All staff good – never met a grumpy one.
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10 1979, Glibenclamide tablet once daily – gradually increased - Metformin added – increased. 1994 – insulin.
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11 Refused to inject orange. Injection painless – amazed. Best done quickly. Metformin added. Amounts increased. Sept. 2000, began pen - perfect.
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12 Didn`t test at first, then with dipstick, then machine – good.
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13 Cheating catches up with you: September 1998, had changed job to operating theatre orderly - had stroke in theatre...
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14 …caused by diabetes. Year later, got angina. Because of hospital job, jumped queues. Consultant said heart fine, “pipework” bad…
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15 …had quadruple bypass – best thing I`ve done. Caused by diabetes.
Now eye problems caused by diabetes - 4 laser treatments - then operation – asked for local anaesthetic – feared stroke. Operation worked, but..
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16 …blood didn`t drain. Back to hospital for removal. Now must return for hole in retina. Earlier cheating wasn`t worth troubles caused. Kidneys fine. Laser under local anaesthetic wonderful.
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17 Attend podiatrist. Test circulation. Toes clipped because any cut wouldn`t heal. After bypass, leg took 8 months to heal.
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18 I`m well, all considered. Odd sensations – spiders & “Chinese burns” on face & legs. Sometimes shower hurts. No follow-up provided after stroke – GP suggests they`re too busy.
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19 Diabetes staff excellent – agreed to take part in study, to repay them – tablet trial – increased, monitored. Can`t have been placebo – blood sugars brilliant. Trial ended…
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20 …stopped tablet. Blood sugars went crazy. Increased insulin put weight on. Persuaded doctors to let me back on tablet – sugars back down.
Now part of another study – drug to assist circulation – hope it does.
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21 1976, married 2nd time; had custody of my children – wife continued to give them normal food after my diagnosis. Wife has coeliac disease, so no cakes!
Near to hypo 3 times, but OK.
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22 Colleagues have reacted well. 1979, at Securicor, company put up notice. Radio control for police – teased me, but knew how to help. Always carry sweet. As theatre orderly, staff good – loved job – nominated me for award.
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23 Retired 98, aged 59. Can`t be very active, but try. Laughter keeps me going. Message: be good from day one: effects only apparent later.
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Transcript
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