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|01 Private school. Left at 16. War - chose nursing. Mother persuaded father who thought nursing unsuitable. Fever training, then London for general training & midwifery.|
|02 Mother’s friend’s son died of diabetes at 17. Started fever training 1942 (actually 1940), Clatterbridge Isolation Hospital, 2¼ years. Epidemics. Barrier nursing. Diabetics beginning self-management. Some admitted with other illnesses, complicated by diabetes.|
|03 Epidemics - GPs notified hospital or police station. Ambulances collected patients & names from police station. Mainly children. Poor were de-loused. If diabetic, GP sent message re insulin & diet – line diet.|
|04 High temperatures – more insulin. Only seniors allowed to give insulin. Taught hypo signs. Blood tests. Urine tested 4 times daily. |
|05 1943-5 or 46, general training in London, 2½ years. War casualties with diabetes. Insulin getting better controlled – if patient behaved…|
|06 … some didn’t keep to diet - kept returning. Patients still thought diabetics die. By time I trained, diabetics leading normal life. Most danger – pregnancy – later seen at Birmingham Maternity Hospital diabetic clinic. |
|07 General training, St. Mary, Islington – had to cover every procedure plus exams. Didn’t inject insulin until 2nd or 3rd year. Stayed at St Mary’s for 6 months Part 1 midwifery. |
|08 6 months Part 2 midwifery at The Limes, Stoke-on-Trent, 1946. City General, then Crosshouses, near Shrewsbury, 1946-9. Dulwich 1949-55. Birmingham Maternity Hospital, Loveday St, 1955-63. Previously diabetics had stillborn babies. At Loveday St, 2 consultants specialised in diabetes – Caesarian – 8 out of 10 live babies.|
|09 Never before saw diabetic’s live baby. Malins from Birmingham General & obstetrician Samuel Davidson ran joint diabetic clinic. Previously mothers warned against pregnancy, & at Dulwich knew babies would die. Now could give hope.|
|10 Applied to be district nurse. Warwickshire required Queen’s Nurse training. Trained for 3 months – learnt injections from 1954 handbook – some diabetics did it themselves, some waited for district nurse.|
|11 Heavy caseload. Inspection round. Exam. Back to backs. |
After training, on call & on rota for night injections. Not much at home. Married 1955. Husband died 1957.
|12 District sister, 1963-82. Knew patients well. Circa 1974, attached to surgery as ‘practice sister’. Before that, worked from home.|
|13 Loan visits - checked loaned items still used. Elderly observation visits. Free to visit anyone if told about them. 5 years before I retired, bath nurse appointed. Diabetic ulcers. Gangrene.|
|14 Our diabetics lucky because of annual visit from hospital team. We’d report on previous year. Wrote up cases & daily diary. Diabetics seen mainly elderly…|
|15 …could no longer inject themselves. If one nurse off, stood in for each other. |
Had no specialist Type 2 diabetes training. Occasional course.
|16 Annual visit of Professor Malins’ team – Many diabetics came to surgery, then Malins visited housebound. No dietitian or podiatrist came. Dietitian at hospital advised my diabetic mother; nobody checked her feet. Mother eventually did own injections. I diagnosed her – late 1960s. She died 1973.|
|17 Changes 1940-82. Number of insulins - was hard to get patient out of coma. Diet more flexible. Less gangrene…|
|18 …fewer amputations. ‘Almost a normal life’. |
Knew patients & families well over years. Kept eye on diabetics. Maybe less care now.