Family Members
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Greg and Harriet, 1978

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Greg and Harriet, 1978 Grace just before diagnosis,1999 Grace starting school just before diagnosis,1999
Harriet, 2004 Harriet and Grace, 2004 Greg, 2007
78. 01 1999 - Grace`s disposable syringes
 
 
Interview 78 Greg

Family member
Born in Hamilton, Scotland in 1954.


Overview: Greg was brought up in Chelsea, attended art college and got a job at the British Museum, where he met Harriet, who`d had diabetes since she was twelve. They married in 1978 and had two children, Dan and Grace. Harriet managed her diabetes well and Greg was not greatly involved, except during her pregnancies. He felt a greater weight of responsibility when Grace was diagnosed - first with diabetes, aged nine in 1999, then with epilepsy, aged ten. He says that he sleeps on a knife-edge: `You listen for every sound that`s happening in the night`.

There is also an interview with Greg`s wife, Harriet.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 24 September 2007

 Short samples

1 They had moved to Oxford by the time of Harriet’s second pregnancy and had to rely on neighbours to cope with Harriet’s hypos because Greg was still working in London. [ 54 secs ]

2 Although Harriet had coped well with having diabetes, Greg was very reluctant to accept that Grace had got the same condition. [ 60 secs ]

 
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01 Born 1954. Glasgow tenement to prefab in Chelsea - in 1960s. Grammar school. Art school – ceramics degree, photography postgrad. British Museum bookshop – met Harriet. Moved to Oriental Dept.
I had diabetic uncle.
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02 Harriet diabetic since 12 – no problems, except low sugar once at theatre. I wasn`t involved, except ensuring she had glucose tablets. Once vomited – hospital said ketoacidosis – touch & go. She thinks it was food-poisoning.
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03 Diabetes impinged during pregnancy. Good care from Kypros Nicolaides at King`s. Full term, then emergency Caesarian. No problems with diabetes after Dan born.
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04 Moved to Oxford. 2nd pregnancy different – poor control. I was anxious & felt more responsible. Still working in London. JR hospital wouldn`t let her go full term. Lost blood at birth – transfusion. I was kept at distance. Grace born under-size. If she`d gone full-term, would she have got diabetes aged 9?
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05 Grace in intensive care for weeks. Harriet had few problems after that. Dan knew how to treat hypo, aged 3.
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06 Dan phoned me – had called ambulance – Grace`s birthday. I began using Glucagon during 2nd pregnancy. Dan & Grace reluctant to use it. No great problems until Grace diagnosed.
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07 Grace diagnosed, 1999, aged 9. I couldn`t face it. Grace knew about diabetes - very good about it.
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08 She competed with friend with cystic fibrosis as to who was worse! Good help from JR. Harriet in hospital for weeks after diagnosis, Grace for days. Harriet had forced hypos. We were left to deal with Grace. Arguments with Grace – she took over injections. Her diabetes made impact especially when epilepsy diagnosed too.
“I don`t want this to be”.
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09 Grace developed epilepsy, 2000, aged 10.
I sleep on knife edge.
Still not sure it`s epilepsy – like bad hypo. Can`t test sugar during fit.
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10 Persuaded epilepsy & diabetes specialists to meet.
Insensitive doctor said drug would make her hairy.
Low sugars in night – hypo or fit? Grace sometimes OK when blood around 2, but not around 4. Now aged 17 – we`ve talked re risks.
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11 Two severe hypos – or fits – after clubbing & on holiday in France.
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12 Schools good. We provided emergency kits. Nurse talked to schools. Over-protective on school trips. Severe hypo at diabetic camp.
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13 Hard for us to let go, but want her to be in control when she leaves home.
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14 Harriet has had few problems since pregnancy. I sleep on knife-edge & keep eye on both. Future walking holidays may be affected by Harriet`s diabetes.
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15 Dan has helped with Harriet & helped Harriet with Grace. His strength useful during hypos. He was pleased when checks showed he was unlikely to get diabetes.
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16 Dietitians good. Hard when staff move on – e.g. sensitive consultant. Diabetic nurses good, though occasionally slow to reply. Harriet determined – she knows best. Neither consultant turned up for first joint appointment – better since then.
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Transcript
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Extras
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