People with Diabetes
Click to change to Family Members or Professionals
   
Colin Dexter around time of diagnosis, with actor John Thaw, who played Inspector Morse

To view image in larger window click on desired thumbnail. Click again to enlarge further.

Colin Dexter around time of diagnosis, with actor John Thaw, who played Inspector Morse Colin Dexter 2005
 
 
Interview 50 Colin Dexter

Person with diabetes
Born in Stamford, Lincs in 1930.
Diagnosed Type 2 in Oxford in 1987


Overview: Colin Dexter was diagnosed in the same year that his Inspector Morse novels began to be shown on TV, after his wife recognised his symptoms and urged him to see his GP. He was admitted to hospital immediately and put on an insulin drip. He sometimes finds it a bother to take all his insulin and blood-testing equipment with him on his travels, but doesn`t otherwise allow diabetes to dominate his life. He continued to be a `very big drinker indeed` until 2004, when he gave up alcohol altogether.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 09 June 2005

 Short samples

1 He has always been careful about his injections, but in the past used to fabricate his blood test results – until modern technology made it more difficult to do so. [ 60 secs ]

2 In his later years, Inspector Morse also developed diabetes, after leading a lifestyle that bore a strong resemblance to that of his creator. [ 58 secs ]

 
 Available interview tracks
From here you can listen to any tracks that are of interest or read the transcript. If a track is highlighted this indicates it contains the subject you searched for. Clicking [Play On] will play the entire interview from that point onwards.

Where an interviewee refers to a particular item, there is sometimes a picture of that item among the thumbnails beneath the interviewee’s main photo and in the Extras section.
To play all interview tracks from the beginning, please click the [Play All] button here.
01 Born 1930, Lincs. Father taxi driver. Semi-public school. English degree & BEd at Cambridge. Taught in Midlands 13 years. Went deaf. Moved to Oxford examination board. Retired early, 1988.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
02 Not literate home, but homework encouraged – spared housework. Mother wrote my essays! Father had diabetes in his 70s. Family deafness, not diabetes.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
03 Co-authored 3 education books, early 1960s.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
04 Wrote first page Inspector Morse, early 1970s, on family holiday – published 1975. Lived in Oxford. Wrote evenings, between The Archers & the pub.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
05 Retired aged 58 – ear problems. Had written Morse books, TV series had started. Continued to write.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
06 TV series c.1987-2000. Diabetes diagnosed 1987 – wife recognised symptoms. GP tested - must go to hospital.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
07 Had felt ill almost a year. 1 week John Radcliffe – insulin drip. 1 week Radcliffe Infirmary diabetes ward.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
08 Rude remark re dietitians got into Press!.
Taught to inject, test blood, keep record, diet, exercise.
Wife removed sugar…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
09 …from diet - hadn`t had much before.
3 injections ActRapid & 1 bedtime injection of Ultratard. Latterly encouraged to vary amounts.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
10 Have rarely forgotten injections.
At first didn`t adjust insulin.
Took blood sugar records to GP – fabricated them – before recent scientific calibrations. Fond of doctors – knew fluctuations would upset them.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
11 People vary. Alcohol effects vary – I`ve been big drinker - metabolisms vary.
Doctors gave explanations for diabetes: heredity scored low; worry scored average; alcohol scored high. Had drunk since aged 14. Gave up year ago.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
12 Gave up sport when moved to Oxford. Hospital advised walking. I`ve kept fit, but never taken it seriously. Diabetes didn`t change life apart from travelling with equipment.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
13 Biggest problem when travelling – hypos in night. Had warnings – at home have Weetabix. Never serious – hospital tried to cause hypo – didn`t work…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
14 …deprived of breakfast – blood stayed same. Everyone different. Bad hypos occasional. Can over-compensate.
Told everyone re diabetes – not embarrassing like deafness.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
15 Worry that hearing aid will fail on TV or radio.
If I`d been drinking would have had 1000s of units in year.
Used to go to GP`s diabetic clinic 3/4 times yearly, Radcliffe clinic twice yearly.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
16 GP clinic stopped. Know people at Infirmary & Churchill & can go if concerned.
Have had laser treatments – eyes still worrying.
Feet admired!
Nothing said re kidneys & liver.
3 years ago, spots in eyes…
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
17 …Wife rang Eye Hospital. 7 laser treatments each eye. They`re afraid I`ll go blind like Sue Townsend. Must keep blood pressure down. Stopped drinking – lost 2 stone. Have to give up totally – as with smoking 20 years ago.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
18 Wife irritated by deafness but very good re diabetes – night-time care, sugar-free cooking.
Greatest improvements – pen & blood-testing machine.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
19 I re-use needles. Needles now fine, painless. No harm in re-using.
I admire NHS – unlike Daily Mail.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
20 Top specialist was one of my pupils. Then transferred to Professor. Did fund-raising for new hospital - maybe get preferential treatment. Only see nurses for blood tests.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
21 Still have ear problems; consultant recently mentioned slight heart irregularity; eyes not good, driving limited.
Early bed-time. Morning – fetch paper. Fewer fried breakfasts. Crossword, letters, public speaking, The Archers, read, mow lawn.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
22 Morse died of natural causes – heart attack from smoking & drinking. Like my life.
Advice to newly-diagnosed: discipline, but don`t let it dominate life.
[Listen] [Full Text]
[Play On]
Transcript
The full transcript of this interview is available to view.


You may download the full transcript from here.


Extras
There are no extra items for this interview

Oral History of Diabetes © 2005 - 2016 | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Built by Within