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|01 Born Sutton Coldfield, 1948. Father bank-manager, mother clerk. Private school. GP referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Told re sweet things & urine test. Mother taught to inject – I didn’t want to. After 6 months, mother ill & I injected.|
|02 Taunted by friend because couldn’t eat sweets. Family members connected diabetes with mental problem. Aunt made custard without sugar! Insulin mixture once daily. 20-30 mins exercise twice daily.|
|03 Hated skipping. Urine test 3 times daily. Mother weighed food exactly. |
At school until 18. Worked at BHS.
|04 Enjoyed cooking. Sat 11+ underage: teacher accompanied me in case ill. Failed because missed work in hospital. Passed following year. LEA said diabetic not suitable for girls’ grammar. Parents objected. Headteacher sorry because her sister diabetic.|
|05 Sat while other girls ate puddings. No prejudice. Didn’t swim. Only diabetic in school. Hid diabetes. Socialising hard because of equipment. Boyfriend dropped me because of diabetes.|
|06 1959, mother suggested future career as shop assistant – less stressful for diabetic. I wanted to be teacher. Parents studied diabetes. Great grandma died of it before insulin. Maybe mine brought on by trauma…|
|07 …nearly run over. |
Children’s Hospital encouraged ambition, when diabetics not expected to have profession. Very sad to leave hospital at 17.
|08 Syringe boiling on Saturday night. Didn’t go out for long. |
Expected prejudice re going to university, but none.
|09 Around 1965, developed eating disorder: low self-esteem after boyfriend dropped me. Better by 1968. Later, decided I wasn’t diabetic & ate what I liked. In hospital for 10 days in…|
|10 …1973. Fine at college: medical staff there good. After college, started teaching.|
|11 In 1970, difficulty in getting life insurance policy. |
Taught 8-9-year olds. Diabetes fitted well with timetable. Head teacher didn’t want diabetic pupil. Now pupils know about it from relatives & bring me sugary drinks.
|12 Recently showed insulin pen to class.|
|13 Head didn’t want diabetic pupil c. 1994. 4 years before, she’d tried to sack me after I’d had ambulance for hypo. I complained. Head apologised.|
|14 I’m “brittle”. Around 1990 changed to 2 injections Actrapid & Monotard. Plastic syringes a godsend. About 4 years go changed to 4 injections Humalog & Glargine. Glargine from USA eagerly anticipated. Now adjust insulin to eat what I want.|
|15 Confidence increased from college onwards. Told consultant. |
Bought early BM Test Glycaemie. Recently bought Accucheck: should have had it before. At first, GP unable to supply cartridges. Gives freedom.
On Actrapid no warnings of hypos: ambulance crews knew me well!
|16 Now Glucogen in fridge. Perspiration warns of hypo. |
Medical treatment always marvellous: Children’s Hospital; General Hospital; private consultants since 1976.
Diabetics were “special”…
|17 …now run of the mill. |
Allergy to animal insulin led to fat build-up – removed 1980.
Cataract operations 2001/2. Few problems. Well cared for.
|18 Diabetes didn’t stop teaching. Maybe stopped having children: in 1970s thought bad idea. In 1980s: “why haven’t you?” But worse things than diabetes.|
|19 Diabetes encourages responsibility. |
Former husband good re diabetes. Current partner marvellous. Sometimes hypo causes aggression: he copes.
|20 I lead normal life. Doctor promises medal – should be for younger people. |
Diabetic nurse and I both confessed we inject through trousers – made us laugh!