People with Diabetes
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Around time of diagnosis

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Around time of diagnosis Margaret`s hobby -  icing cakes Margaret, 2004
24. 01 1982 Diet Dial, (Side 1) 24. 02 1982 Diet Dial, (Side 2)
 
 
Interview 24 Margaret

Person with diabetes
Born in Doncaster in 1949.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Doncaster in 1968


Overview: Margaret developed pneumonia from living in a damp prefab and missed a lot of school. At 9 she attended an open-air school for sick children and was ostracised at secondary school because of her different background. She left at 15 with no qualifications, but earned more as a seamstress than her father did on the railways. She was diagnosed at 18 and married at 20. Her husband was in the RAF and she was treated in RAF hospitals. She has had serious hypos and many health problems, but enjoys making spectacular iced cakes and playing with her grandchildren.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 09 November 2004

 Short samples

1 Like many of her generation, she didn’t want her parents to know she’d had sex before marriage. She’d only done so once, with John, her husband-to-be, but she feared her parents’ reactions, when she developed what she thought must be a sexual disease. [ 59 secs ]

2 She thinks it was about 1970 that she started using disposable needles, (well before they were available on prescription), because she found the equipment given by the hospital so hard to use [ 48 secs ]

 
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01 Born Doncaster 1949. Father worked in mines, railways, electricity board. I got pneumonia from damp prefab, so moved to council house aged 7. Other diabetes in family.
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02 Left school at 15. Earned more as seamstress than father. Gave money to mother. Poor, but always had caravan holiday & daytrip organised by railways. Missed school – pneumonia & colds.
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03 Aged 9 could barely read. Went to Open-Air School for sick children. At 11, went to secondary modern. Hard to adjust…
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04 …because children knew re Open-Air School & excluded me.
No qualifications. Worked as seamstress for 2 firms. Met husband-to-be, John. Father strict: didn`t like me or sister to talk to boys…
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05 …had to be in by 9. No make-up. Approved of John being in RAF. John asked if I could return at 10 so I could see film. At 18, had intercourse once – disliked it. Months later, urine began to sting…
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06 Told John might be connected with sex. Daren`t tell parents. Very thirsty & passed urine in bath to avoid pain. Mother usually accompanied me to GP, but I went alone to different GP.
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07 Afraid he`d tell mother, but didn`t. Sent me straight to Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Glucose tolerance test. Didn`t know what diabetes meant. Went home & told mother & she went to her GP – said…
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08 …I`d be admitted in 2 days. In hospital, nurse explained diabetes. Tried tablets for 2 days, then insulin. Learnt to inject orange. Glad symptoms nothing to do with sex!
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09 Sent home after 1 week with diet leaflets. Hard to give up sugar. No diabetic chocolate sold. Found sugar in sauces & tinned food. Measured 10 gram portions carbohydrate. Given Diet disk.
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10 Hospital gave scales. Urine testing sticks. Wished I could live like other people. Aunt forgot & gave chocolates.
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11 Sterilised glass syringe & steel needles. Blunt needles bruised. Husband spent half wage on new disposables. Husband always helped. Re-used them.
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12 Married 1969. First used disposables 1970. After diagnosis, off work for weeks. When learnt re diabetes, manager said I could no longer work on sewing-machine. Instead did checking – halved pay.
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13 Only complained to union re factory heat. Diabetes OK at work. At 2nd firm, mild hypo warnings when John away in forces.
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14 1st child born Ely RAF Hospital, 1971. In hospital 5 weeks before. Induced 1 month early. 2nd child born Akrotiri Hospital, Cyprus – waters broke. Doctors said diabetics don`t breastfeed.
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15 RAF hospitals strict. I helped make beds to get exercise. Strict matron. Doctors talked among themselves, not to patient – not like today.
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16 I did no paid work – moving round with RAF. When children small, managed diabetes easily. Son watched injection – uneasy? Blood sugar levels rose – put on 2 injections daily. Year ago, 4 injections – NovoRapid & Glargine.
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17 When son 5 & daughter 7, almost paralysed with hypo – 1st time. RAF came & gave something sweet – normal in 15 mins. Always happens early morning.
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18 1984, benign breast lump removed. 1990, hypothyrism. 1991, hysterectomy. The arm muscle operations. 1995, frozen shoulder.
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19 1997, carpal tunnel operations. Felt tight band round chest…
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20 John found me. Admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital – angina & high blood pressure. 2002, osteoporosis. Doctors say carpal tunnel result of diabetes, maybe angina also. Warning re foot-care. Eyesight good.
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21 Hard to remember many tablets. Also, under-active thyroid. Dozen kinds of tablets…
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22 …plus insulin 4 times. At first hard to remember insulin 4 times, but not now. No side effects with tablets.
Easily admitted to forces hospitals. Civilian hospitals busier.
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23 Greatest fear – kidney dialysis.
Fewer nurses in civilian hospitals than forces hospitals – time for critically ill only.
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24 Longer waits to be sent appointments than in forces hospitals.
2 bad hypos. A few in night. Before Glucagon John gave lemonade.
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25 Another time passed out in bedroom. Managed to inject Glucagon when came round.
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26 Managed to get downstairs & eat lunch 3 hours later. Daughter found me looking strange.
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27 Earlier this year, bad hypo. Passed out at home after heavy shopping. Couldn`t attract neighbour`s attention.
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28 Dragged myself to kitchen, smeared glucose syrup across mouth. Dragged myself to door & called neighbour`s son. Hadn`t realised wouldn`t be able to stand. Now Glucagon in low bedroom drawer & glucose tablets at bottom of kitchen cupboard.
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29 Husband copes well – puts me out of mind at work - reluctantly learnt to use Glucagon. Before that, when semi-conscious, I`d fight him as he tried to help.
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30 Hard for husband. I remember nothing. Never been too high – only too low. Doctors said 4 injections daily would help - true.
Recently learnt for 1st time…
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31 that after very low sugar, shoots high.
I enjoy life. Children grown-up. Cake-making: kneading glucose icing raises blood sugar.
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32 At Christmas adjust insulin to allow mince pie etc. In past never adjusted. In hospital 1970s, first suggestion I adjust insulin to eat peaches.
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33 I refused.
Enjoy shopping. Would like job, but too old. Wonder how diabetics at work keep appointments, get prescriptions etc. Used to be hard when GP closed at 5. Husband says I could sell cakes…
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34 …but haven`t enough confidence. Family keeps me going. I`m lucky. Did enjoy part-time work.
Advice: listen to medical staff. Nurse recently told me re sugars shooting from very low to high. (Other nurses less knowledgeable.)
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35 Before, because sugars always low, no warning that too low. Now levels generally higher, so get warnings. 4 injections suit me.
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