John was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was four years old. But being diagnosed in 1936 was very different to being diagnosed today.
I remember being desperately thirsty and my mother took me to the doctor. There wasn’t a diabetes clinic, so the doctor sent me to the school clinic. I was diagnosed straightaway and started on insulin immediately.
To a four-year-old the syringe looked like a darning needle. I spent about eight weeks in hospital. I was young and frightened to death of the needles. In those days having diabetes was the ‘end of the world’.
At school I kept having hypos and was once brought home in a wheelbarrow! At seven my Mother stopped me going to school, and taught me the basics at home. At 12 I joined the Scouts and it changed my life. The other boys really looked after me. At 14 I started work at a jeweller and at 18 I left to be the offi ce boy in a steel stock company.
By the time I was 24 I was the sales manager. My career in steel continued, ending with me setting up my own company that I sold when I retired at 69. When I fi rst had insulin it was only single strength. Then as double and later quadruple strength insulin became available, the amount Ineeded greatly reduced.
The injections are different now, and the pen needles are much easier to use. Testing is much easier and faster too. In the old days you had to boil your urine in fehlings solution to test your glucose levels. I have been really lucky with my health. My sight is not very good these days but I still feel well. I have been well looked after. I often go to chat with parents and children who are newly diagnosed about having diabetes. I am 83 and have alifetime of experience that I hope helps them.