Family Members
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Bena and Emma,1982

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Bena and Emma,1982 Bena and Terry, 1979 Bena, 2004
Bena and Emma, 2006 Emma, 2007 Terry, 2007
Interview 75 Emma

Family member
Born in Leicester in 1981.

Overview: Emma`s mother, Bena, was diagnosed with diabetes in Uganda in 1965 and came to England when her family was expelled by Idi Amin. She married an Englishman, Terry, and had two children – Emma and her younger sister. When Terry was at work, Emma and her sister had to cope from an early age with their mother becoming unconscious. Her sister has now married and left home, but Emma still lives with her parents and was often phoned at work when her mother passed out – until her mother attended a DAFNE course and gained better control of her diabetes.

There are also interviews with Emma`s mother, Bena, and her father, Terry.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording Thursday, September 13, 2007

 Short samples

1 When Emma was aged four or five, she and her sister were alone with their mother, while their father was out. They were in the sitting room when their mother passed out on the kitchen floor and they heard strange noises. [ 53 secs ]

2 Emma has coped with her mother’s dramatic hypos and knows that relatives of her father also have diabetes; but she says she wouldn’t worry if she were to get diabetes herself, because it wouldn’t prevent her from leading a normal life. [ 55 secs ]

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01 Mother had diabetes 40 years - came from Uganda,1970s, & married Dad. Mum clerical worker. Dad security guard.
Memory of Mum passing out & giving her ice cream – aged 4 or 5. Mum told us she sometimes needed sugar. Doctor showed us how to inject – sister did it, I didn’t.
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02 Phoned Dad or grandma or 999. To me, seemed normal. Ambulance came, neighbours nosey. As teenager, embarrassed in shops: when Mum about to pass out, she’s moody & stubborn.
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03 Sister remembers mother passing out in road & police coming. Read ‘Balance’. Tended to ignore what Mum told me re diabetes.
Recently she has ignored signs - tends to be forgetful & low.
Doctors advise adjusting insulin levels – think they know best & rude on phone. Improvement since DAFNE course. In past, advice contradictory.
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04 When Mum gets heated on phone, I take over. When I’m away she relies on other family members. Since sister left home, I’ve done injections. When she’s alone, she’s more vigilant. Sometimes I’m called at work.
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05 Mum’s family attentive, but thought she was making excuses. Asian attitudes – she must have done something wrong. Thought diabetes a disability & should marry someone disabled.
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06 Sister’s new family won’t let Mum baby-sit on own. Father’s family members have diabetes, so considered normal. If I get it, won’t be worried – can lead normal life.
We’ve had healthy diet – same as Mum. Mum careful when eating out.
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07 First time I injected Mum, I was scared. Traumatic times normal to me. Now I know more & am closer to Mum, but should be more education for children.
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08 At hospital appointments, me & sister ignored.
I worry she’ll have car accident.
Easier for children now – more re diabetes in media. Don’t protect children from knowledge - protect them with knowledge.
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