People with Diabetes
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The year after diagnosis

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The year after diagnosis Edward Walsh, 2005
 
 
Interview 48 Edward Walsh

Person with diabetes
Born in Reading in 1944.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Oxford in 1994


Overview: Edward Walsh was the son of a village baker. He left school at 15 and trained as an electromechanical engineer. He always had a weight problem but played a lot of sport and felt he had a sensible diet, so was disappointed and upset when he was diagnosed at the age of 50. He controlled his diabetes with diet only, then tablets, then insulin from 2000 but had a remarkable period of 3 months in 2002 when he was able to give up insulin altogether, while working on a contract in French Guyana.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 16 May 2005

 Short samples

1 His 3-month contract in French Guyana involved lots of exercise - walking round the site, in great heat - but he thinks the most important change was that he no longer had a rushed breakfast and a snatched lunchtime sandwich in front of his computer [ 58 secs ]

2 He was impressed by the nurses who taught him to inject himself, and by those he saw when he was taking part in a research project, but he finds it very difficult to talk to nurses and doctors, during his ordinary 6-monthly visits to the clinic. [ 59 secs ]

 
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01 Born 1944, son of baker. Did sports. Disliked school. Left at 15. Apprenticeship – enjoyed education - became electromechanical engineer.
Did sport until hip operation, 1997.
Sugar rationed. Later – father`s cakes.
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02 Thin until 20. Then put on weight. Around 1968, gave up sugar & smoking, married & became civil servant – midday lunch…
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03 …light evening meal.
After marriage, less sport – weight gain. As older, less sport, more weight, until diagnosis. 1994.
After marriage, good breakfast, canteen lunch, light tea. Gradually changed – now rise early…
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04 …light breakfast, grabbed sandwich, full evening meal – changed 1970/80s.
Mother big. Father similar – diagnosed in his 50s – double vision - tablets, urine testing. Care wasn`t…
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05 …as good then – 1977 – died of heart attack, aged 64, 1980. Dad secretive re treatment. He had healthy diet, took my daughter for walks, seemed fit – diabetes a surprise. He saw illness as weakness.
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06 I was diagnosed 1994. Hypertension from c.1985. Visits to loo 2/3 years before diagnosis. Went to doctor for hypertension – took urine sample – diabetes. Hadn`t known symptoms, so a shock. Upset because…
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07 …had played sport, eaten sensibly. Given tablet. Felt ill. Saw doctor. Later realised it was hypo – tablet unnecessary – diet enough. Nothing explained. Didn`t go to clinic. Didn`t test blood. Bought “Balance”.
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08 Relied on doctor`s blood test.
On diet only when retina detached, 1995. Gradually back on tablets. Also blood pressure tablets. Hip replacement 1997 – gave up sport…
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09 …still mainly dietary control. From 1997, tablets increased. 1999 – angioplasty. I`d had pain, been admitted for week, and…
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10 …discharged. Pain returned, saw GP, mentioned firm`s medical plan, admitted straightaway, angioplast next day.
Stomach upsets. 2000 – insulin. Reduced tablets – stomach better.
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11 When diagnosed, hard to cope. Kept mostly secret until insulin. Told some colleagues.
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12 Blood testing started about same time as insulin. Dreaded injection. Nurses injected themselves – encouraging – painless.
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13 Blood testing hurts – arthritis in hands.
Got 3-month contract with space agency in French Guiana…
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14 …took insulin supply, but didn`t need it! Reduced tablets, lost weight. Cooked breakfast & large lunch…
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15 …suited me. Little food in evening – walked. Heat. Exercise around site in day. Hands & hip better. On return, amazed wife. Tried to retain lifestyle - couldn`t.
Abroad 2002. Would return, but…
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16 …would miss family & UK. Similar to childhood eating pattern. Took part in Proactive research at clinic, but failed to retain lifestyle. Microwaved lunches. Back on insulin – heavily? - not explained – maybe hard for staff: I say little.
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17 If I could re-live lifestyle, could drop insulin again.
Proactive study looked after me – less since ended. I don`t talk readily re illness e.g. at last clinic, knew sugars up because missed lunchtime injection…
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18 …because work makes me forget diabetes. Now colleague reminds me. Grab sandwich. Don`t drink enough. Better in Kourou (French Guyana).
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19 Study encouraging - don`t get that from doctor – rarely seen. Wife not always there. Recently told colleagues – now encouraging. Nurses at Proactive appointments good: ordinary clinic less good.
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20 Ordinary clinic recently: after seeing nurse, only 5 mins with specialist - something lacking…
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21 …I need prompting. Only talk to brother-in-law – recently diagnosed. Clinics should give encouragement & information - doesn`t check eyesight – treadmill – time wasted. Blood samples to local nurse – clinic didn`t give results…
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22 I can`t talk to doctors & nurses. Except on Proactive, no check on eyes or feet. Brother-in-law was offered chiropody – should be everywhere.
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23 …not enough on NHS.
Typical day: early breakfast, 2-mile drive to work, arrive 8 am, work all day, often forget to take ½-hour break, may end at 6. Meal at 7 - if later, ill.
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24 If home early, walk or garden. TV, repair grandson`s toys. Work sedentary.
Diabetes hasn`t changed life. Miss sport – stopped by hip. In Kourou, got exercise…
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25 …took lunch-break – unlike English. What`s diabetes like in other countries? Always felt better after proper lunch.
Message to newly-diagnosed – inform yourself. Diet alone as long as possible.
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26 Can vary insulin, but haven`t learnt how. Danger of increasing doses – better done by diet. Keep active. Diet & lifestyle most important.
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27 P.S. At work: I`ve kept quiet, but witnessed prejudice towards diabetic colleague. More women in present office - easier to be open.
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Transcript
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