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|01 Born Stoke on Trent 1935. Father engineer in Coventry, then Navy in war, then business. |
|02 Secondary modern school. Wanted to be nurse. At 15, Coventry & Warwickshire preliminary nursing school. Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital.|
|03 Course started 1953. 7 dropped out. Long hours. Teaching good – Professor Smellie. |
|04 Diabetic children stayed 2 weeks twice a year. Urine testing. Hypos. 4-hourly injections, soluble insulin. Food measured – unlike other children. Most diabetics don’t understand body. |
Did own injections, aged 12. Difficult life.
|05 Returned to children’s ward, 3rd year, 1956 – still strict diets, soluble insulin only, taught children urine-testing. |
Married – husband research chemist. Catherine born 1959. I taught music. Catherine developed diabetes, 1964 – after being smacked. GP incredulous. Bedford Hospital.
|06 In for 2 weeks – couldn’t stabilise – unsuitable food. I stabilised her with diet. We ate same diet. I was against special school. Got her into convent. Aged 6, got encephalitis – off school 1 year. GPs good, consultant no good.|
|07 Husband’s grandfather diabetic. Catherine’s grandfather said God would take it away. Catherine did urine-testing – sometimes cheated. Did own injections aged 7 or 8 – painful. Insulin free, needles & syringes not. 2 injections daily until 12 or 13. Treated at Oxford from age 10.|
|08 Oxford better than Bedford. Went every 2 months. Admitted when sugars high. Once caused by eating crisps. Changed insulin, c.1975. Stable until puberty.|
|09 During periods, out of control. Eye treatment. Couldn’t do what others did. Depressed – ran in front of car. Dr. Hockaday & psychiatrist wife good. |
|10 Often missed school, but caught up. Birmingham University. Diabetes ‘brittle’. Didn’t anticipate hypos – I did. 4 injections daily.|
|11 Diabetes made husband anxious. I took degree & teaching diploma – Catherine cross. I’d fostered children, but not allowed to adopt, because of her diabetes. She fought diabetes.|
|12 Catherine rejected for social work training & speech therapy because diabetic. Did Dip Ed. Worked with disabled. Vision deteriorated – laser treatment. Married, moved to Hereford, job with less able.|
|13 Also got work with physically handicapped. Became pregnant – diabetes out of control, stayed with us, husband had accident, she had meningitis, son born by Caesarean. Diabetes brittle – I often looked after baby. Catherine got carpal tunnel syndrome - operation at Oxford - returned to work part-time, still often in hospital, son stayed with us.|
|14 Still brittle – hypos at work. Has islet transplants, 2006 & 2007 – no hypos, no more headaches, insulin halved – heaven. |
I’ve continued caring role, but mustn’t try to run her life. She can’t drive, so I drive to hospital.
NHS marvellous – better than USA.
|15 Husband David got Type 2 diabetes, 1983 – obese. Lost 4 ˝ stone - came off tablets. Became anxious. High blood pressure. Retired early. |
|16 I diagnosed him – symptoms not as bad as Catherine’s. I put him on diet - pack of cards with calories.|
|17 Important for family to have same diet. He liked to measure everything. Diabetics must keep clean – immune system not good.|
|18 Husband well before diabetes – afterwards, ill with colds, like Catherine. He retired 1985, got diverticulosis, 1989.|
|19 Diabetes didn’t change, but he was never same again. Moved to Hereford, 1994, to be near Catherine. I discovered he knew he’d got Parkinson’s Disease – died 2001. |
|20 Husband diagnosed 1983, aged 53 – diet, but exercise not mentioned. |
Radcliffe gave Catherine support, but my chief support from sister
Catherine had transplants – great-grandfather died of diabetes & ancestor died of ‘wasting disease’ – diabetes?