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|01 Born Uganda, 1954. Dad born India, Mum Africa. Wealthy. High school. Diagnosed when nearly 12.|
|02 Doctor hadn’t heard of childhood diabetes: phoned Europe to check. No ambulances. Rushed to hospital in doctor’s car. Unconscious.|
|03 Hospital said must have bread, so Dad woke baker.|
|04 GP Indian; English doctor phoned Europe. Hospital had little knowledge. Gave insulin 4 times daily. |
|05 Mum taught injections & urine testing. Low carbohydrate. Karela water. Hypoglycaemic for hours: doctor & parents didn’t understand.|
|06 Before diagnosis, noticed ants round toilet hole in ground. Little warning of hypos. Drank water from bitter plants.|
|07 People sold parents false remedies. Parents sought cure. Might have died if poor. |
Parents not ashamed, but Hinduism made me wonder what I’d done wrong. Grandfather may have died of diabetes.
|08 Mum did injections. Disliked them. Later I did them, or sometimes GP. Wasn’t taught how. Karela advertised in “Balance”. Hospital gave no information.|
|09 Diet of chapattis & spinach. “Why me?”. Lost friends because they thought diabetes contagious. Hard to sit on school bench because of boils on bottom.|
|10 Teachers ignorant re diabetes & beat me on bottom – stopped by Dad. Forced to do PE despite cramps. |
Also got abcesses: maybe allergic to insulin.
|11 No check-ups. Eyes bloodshot. Parents paid GP. Only had one friend.|
|12 Left school ‘69, but repeated some classes. Did business studies, typing, dressmaking. 1971-2, Dad paid for tuition. |
Expelled to England, 1972. Insulin scarce. 250 miles to Kampala. Military search took insulin, syringes & needles. Paid for insulin in Kampala.
|13 Doctors scarce in Kampala. In England put in military camp, where had check-up. 15 days in Yeovil Hospital. Changed insulin. They hadn’t heard of vegetarianism, so I just ate vegetables. Was allowed potatoes for 1st time & other foods – a miracle.|
|14 Diet sheet, measured food, set meal-times. Allowed chocolate, but didn’t want to damage organs. Steel syringes & needles, but smaller. Urine testing.|
|15 Felt better thanks to change of insulin & diet. Moved to Newcastle ’73 & admitted to hospital again. Had first checks of eyes & feet. Went to chemist…|
|16 …& tried to pay for insulin. Chemist explained free. In Newcastle hospital for week. Injections reduced to 2. Afterwards took urine to hospital on bus.|
|17 Lived in Gateshead council house with parents, 2 sisters & 1 brother. Kind neighbours told off people who made remarks. Climate cold. Little contact with other Ugandan Asians. At Gateshead Technical College, studied business, secretarial & English. Proud of what achieved despite diabetes.|
|18 Went to rehabilitation unit, then Durham college, then Gateshead college in ’74. |
When job hunting, discrimination re diabetes.
|19 Sacked from 1st job in retail company in ’77, when diabetes discovered. Sacked from another job, perhaps because of race. Best job in education department ‘78/’79. Then moved to Leicester. |
Parents learnt English, but didn’t work: dad’s health bad because had lost everything.
|20 Moved to Leicester. Went to diabetic clinic. Cataract removed Newcastle, ’79: travelled back for aftercare. Developed another cataract. Check-ups at Leicester eye & diabetic clinics. Warnings of hypos before & after move. Ambulance called once in Newcastle…|
|21 …& was taught for 1st time that should eat after hypo, in ’73. |
Joined BDA in ‘70s & read “Balance”.
|22 After move to Leicester in’79, difficult for diabetic to marry in Indian community. Married Englishman.|
|23 Some discrimination from families. Colleague at work told me not to bother. Things improved. Together 25 years.|
|24 2 daughters. During 1st pregnancy (‘80/’81) had hypo at work for Health Authority. Diabetic clinic introduced blood test 4 times daily. Put strips in record book. Sickness & embarrassing hypos. Daughter premature, induced.|
|25 In hospital last 3 months of pregnancy. Got depressed while daughter in intensive care. At home, fed myself before breast-feeding. Husband brilliant. Stayed with mother for month.|
Had epidural & breastfed at first.
|26 Husband helped with blood test: BM sticks. Enjoyed time with baby, but hard to avoid hypo. |
2nd daughter born ’83. Pregnancy easier. Normal birth. Breastfed longer.
|27 After 1st child, back to work; after 2nd, at home. Children learnt to cope with my hypos.|
|28 Daughters still monitor me. They read Balance & research online. One daughter gives Glucogen, other daughter calls husband. Last hypo a few months ago.|
|29 Have them every 3-6 months; in summer 2003, every week. Once passed out on own, but managed to call ambulance.|
|30 Paramedics climbed through window. |
Returned to work part-time, ’84. Once ambulance called to work. Work for Council.
|31 Sometimes failed to fetch daughters from school because of hypo. Still have hypos at work. Put instructions on notice-board. No warnings. Colleagues spot symptoms.|
|32 When depressed re hypos, contact diabetic health visitor. Don’t bother medics: can manage. Hospital suggested changing injection site or reducing insulin. Family remind me.|
|33 Cataracts in ’79 & ’83, carpal tunnel around ’86 – parents helped, husband brilliant.|
|34 Wish I could see same doctor at eye or diabetic clinic, but understand reasons why not. |
Have seen diabetic health visitor since ’79: used to do home visits, now at hospital. Taught to use blood test meter & pen. Used pen with Glargene, 2003. Now back on old insulin & disposable syringes.
|35 Typical day. Diabetic routine. Work for Coiuncil Disabled Children’s team & Benefit Support team. Disabled children make me feel lucky. Help old people…|
|36 …get their benefits.|
Career affected by diabetes & discrimination.
|37 Exercise provided by videos, grandson & chores. Diabetes plays big part in life – monitoring & planning. |
Message – don’t let diabetes stop anything, but monitor carefully.
|38 I’ve achieved education, family, knowledge re diabetes, work for wonderful people. |
In future, want to run for diabetes charity.