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Betty with Nick and Sally

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Betty with Nick and Sally Nick joins RAF, 1961 Nick in RAF, around 1962
Nick in RAF, 1970s Betty with Nick shortly after he left RAF Betty with Nick around time of his diagnosis, 1984
Nick with great-nephew, 2006 Betty, 2008
 
 
Interview 91 Betty

Family member
Born in Evesham in 1923.


Overview: Betty`s first child, Nick, was the son of an American soldier who left England before Nick`s birth in December 1944. In 1961, Nick joined the RAF for 12 years and then returned home, aged 30, to live with his mother and work as a taxi driver. He liked sweet food before he developed diabetes around the age of 40 and found it hard at first to change his diet and give up smoking. He stopped taxi-driving when he was 54 because of failing eyesight and poor health and was on dialysis for about 3 years before he died in 2006.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 06 February 2008

 Short samples

1 Betty was glad she was able to look after Nick until she was in her eighties: otherwise she thinks he would have had to go into a residential home. She was grateful for the support of a Diabetes Specialist Nurse called Magda. [ 60 secs ]

2 Nick liked his GP, but Betty felt that he wasn’t sympathetic enough when Nick was on dialysis in Hereford. [ 64 secs ]

 
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01 Born Hampton near Evesham. Worked in father`s market garden. Hospital domestic & maternity aide during war. Had children. Hospital sewing-room until 64.
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02 Nick born 1944. Father American soldier – returned to USA. Peter born 1948, Sally 1959. Single parent. Always worked. When Nick left RAF, lived in Evesham.
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03 Friend died of diabetes. After RAF, Nick worked in taxis. Mild diabetes diagnosed – diet and tablets. Couldn`t control sugars. Treated at Queen Elizabeth. Warned re injections – gave up smoking. Feared injections, but went on them, eventually 6 times daily. Circulation failed, operation on legs, dialysis.
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04 Nick in RAF 1961-74. Came to live with me, aged 30. Didn`t drink. Heavy smoker. Healthy in RAF. Long hours & irregular meals in taxis.
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05 I cooked – healthy diet. Maybe too many chips. Plenty of vegetables. Nick loved starchy puddings & sweets. Hard to change diet.
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06 Diagnosed c.1984, aged c. 40. Changed diet (previously spoonfuls of sugar). Would disobey instructions. I changed my diet. Diet sheets. Monthly visit to GP`s clinic. Dietitian, Magda, came out & told him off!
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07 Magda in fact DSN. Gave advice. Friendly. Rebuked him re high sugars or cigarettes – gently. I liked her. She involved me. He didn`t involve me. At first 1 or 2 injections – vomited – treated in Q.E. Hospital. Never liked injections.
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08 Magda advised re injections. At end, injecting constantly. Eyesight failed. Gave up taxis – at home more. Diabetic ulcer – chiropodist referred him to Ronkswood Hospital. Hypos – in Ronkswood for month. Leg operation – wouldn`t heal. Nurse came daily for months. In & out of Q.E.H.
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09 Gave up taxis 1998. Mobility car for year. Eyesight failed. At home. Health failed rapidly. Slept a lot. One bad hypo.
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10 He taught me to treat hypos. I was nervous when he was driving me. I recognised signs.
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11 Without me, would have gone into home. Died peacefully before due for dialysis. Upset grandson. I was glad – could only have got worse. Died Feb 2006.
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12 On dialysis for 3 Christmases – he took presents. 3 times weekly – Hereford. Found it boring. Allowed treats. They collected veins together on arm. Before that, pipes from chest.
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13 Some worse than him. Not a priority for transplant because nearly 60. If ill at Hereford, sent to Q.E. Fistula failed, so grew one on other arm. Operation on chest pipes. Though easygoing, once said everything hurt. Awful life.
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14 I didn`t like GP, but Nick did. Nick liked Hereford – friends. Didn`t like Q.E. – impersonal. Treated by most local hospitals – good care.
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15 I was diagnosed with mild diabetes 18 months ago. Tablets after meals. Follow Nick`s diet. Doesn`t affect me much.
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16 Supposed to go to GP monthly, but can only make appointment on day – not enough notice for volunteer driver, so I don`t go. Have got appointment for deafness. Little sight left, but can knit & see someone most days.
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17 After RAF, Nick wanted quiet life. We got on well – didn`t need anyone else. Never had holiday. Hard up.
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Transcript
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