People with Diabetes
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His passport to come to England, 1964

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His passport to come to England, 1964 With his wife and children Article about his work as a tailor
George, 2004 6. 01 1960s or early 70s box of needles 6. 02 1960s or early 70s syringe
6. 03 1970s - George Saunders Clinitest instructions 6. 04 1986 and 1987 - Insulin
 
 
Interview 6 George Saunders

Person with diabetes
Born in St. Kitts in 1931.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Birmingham in 1964


Overview: George Saunders was brought up in St.Kitts, worked for his father as a tailor, and came to England in 1958. Since recording this interview, he has received a lot of publicity, because his Birmingham workshop, where he worked as a tailor for nearly 30 years, has become part of a National Trust museum. After he was diagnosed, he was on tablets for about a year before changing to insulin. He is full of praise for medical staff, even though he ignores their advice when he thinks he knows best. He feels that his diabetes has caused him few problems.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 14 May 2004

 Short samples

1 When he first came to England, he was unable to get work as a tailor, so he worked for a few years in a biscuit factory. He believes that his work there caused his diabetes [ 46 secs ]

2 After his diagnosis in 1964, The General Hospital in Birmingham put him on a carefully measured diet, and he found that they were well-informed about West Indian food [ 57 secs ]

 
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01 Born St. Kitts 1931. Father tailor, mother seamstress. Five in family. Education based on British way.
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02 12 years at school. Strict teachers. No after-school sport, because learning how to be a tailor, but exercise from chores & from 5-mile walk to school. Basic diet…
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03 Sugar cane, fruit. Ate sugar cane in fields.
Mother got diabetes after me.
I got married `56; came to England `58; sent for wife & son in `69.
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04 England cold. Couldn`t get work as tailor, so worked for brewery, then biscuit factory for 4 or 5 years, tasting cream filling – caused diabetes.
Studied tailoring.
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05 Diagnosed Birmingham General Hospital `64, shortly after starting work in tailoring. Tablets for a few months, then increased amount for 6 months, then insulin.
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06 At first nurse called at house to give injection.
Meals based on rations.
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07 Prescribed number of rations for meal. Well adjusted to West Indian diet.
Clinitest urine-testing, then either increased insulin or reduced food.
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08 Same food as family, but counted rations.
Soon taught to inject myself at hospital. Good training from hospital.
Easy to fit in with work, because self-employed from `68.
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09 Worked as tailor.
Family not bothered by diabetes.
Always know when hypos coming.
Didn`t keep to given diet. Felt better when reverted to my way of eating.
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10 Didn`t talk to medics about diet. At check-ups everything all right. Over years, I know how my body works & adjust insulin, without consulting doctor or nurse.
Didn`t tell anyone outside family that I had diabetes.
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11 Took plenty of exercise.
Still use 2 methods of testing – urine testing strips and blood –testing machine.
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12 Few complications – slight loss of sensation recently. Eyes good. Blood pressure tablets. Attend hospital yearly, and GP in between. Occasionally see chiropodist.
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13 Secret of good health – measured food intake & exercise. Better than cancer!
Walking difficulties due to spinal cord injury, not diabetes.
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14 Waiting times longer now, but medical treatment excellent. Now treated at Selly Oak Hospital.
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15 People know more about diabetes now – not treated as a leper any more. Still don`t tell people I`m diabetic.
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16 “Diabetes is not a death sentence, it`s an awareness of the way your body works”. Hasn`t changed my life at all.
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Transcript
The full transcript of this interview is available to view.


You may download the full transcript from here.


Extras
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