Alex - Interview 07
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Alex's type 2 diabetes was diagnosed three years before the interview. He did not worry about it much then because he had no symptoms. The diabetes did not become apparent until he went on holiday to Spain a year ago, where he had severe thirst, and needed to urinate frequently. Also, his vision became blurred and this upset him a lot. Alex had no idea then that these symptoms could be related to his diabetes. When he got back, he had some tests and was put on metformin. The doctor told him that his blood glucose had been so high that he could have gone into a coma. Once the medication began to work his symptoms eventually wore off. At the time of interview he was taking metformin and gliclazide.
Over the past seven years, Alex has developed painful peripheral neuropathy in his feet. He cannot stay on his feet for long and has lost sensation from his shins downwards. He attributes this to alcohol addiction in the past, rather than the diabetes. Sometimes, the pain is so severe that it prevents him from doing exercise, like walking, which would help with his diabetes.
For the past six months, Alex's blood glucose levels have been under control and the medication seems to suit him. Also, he is much more careful about his diet and eats regular meals with more fresh fruit and vegetables. Alex maintains an active life, and frequently socialises with friends, spends time with his children and grandchildren and does DIY.
Alex thinks his drink problems played a part in causing his diabetes.
Well we don't need to be 'Brain of Britain' to know you shouldn't be drinking alcohol if you're diabetic, but so I've got the added problem that having the, I suppose being alcoholic and having diabetes is another concerning issue, and one I have to have a strong mental defence against, and at this moment in time it's fine, I'm glad to say. So that's another issue that goes along with the peripheral neuropathy and the diabetes. And I also had a mini-stroke back in 2002, and I don't think it's anything to do with diabetes, but it was also another problem for my' Well the ability I suppose is the best way of putting it.
Alex prefers to know what is happening to him and keep his diabetes under control and checks his...
Do you feel it's better this way that you actually can see what your blood sugar level?
Compared to how it was?
There's been a couple of occasions like yeah... It wasn't totally under control I can relate back to Boxing Day when I was at my daughter's house for the Boxing Day dinner, and that was [I] just probably over-indulged in the wrong things and I don't mean alcohol, I mean sweets and desserts etcetera. And it shot off the scale, it was away back up at high twenties just for one meal, but again it dropped back down within 24 hours again. So you learn then in the early stages that doing the wrong thing can affect it, which long-term will have an effect. So I prefer not to do that now, and try and keep it in check.
Alex was put on metformin and gliclazide to get his blood glucose under control.
However it's, the medication I was on, well put on was metformin and gliclazide I think it's called, and it's taken all of six months to get it under control and it's been that way now for the last four weeks, and it'll range somewhere between 3.5 and 7 on a daily basis. I still take the odd thing that I shouldn't take like, piece of chocolate, although I eliminated sweets as such and sugar in tea and coffee. I think I found through experience that it's not doing without it's, being reasonable with things. Except alcohol, and that's just not on. I don't have a problem with it, I don't have a problem on the medication, a few pills during the course of the day is not much to ask to keep your health in check. So overall I suppose I've been fairly lucky, and perhaps I've not had the stage of crisis yet I don't know but, I hope to avoid that.
Alex feels communication broke down when he had problems with his eyes and didn't connect it with...
They were' I said earlier they were surprised that I didn't realise, now, this led to a few exchange of words to be honest with you, like, I've got no knowledge of the, the subject as such but they assumed because I'd been diabetic for a couple of years that, that I knew this. So whether it was assumptions on their part that they thought that I'd been imparted with this knowledge somewhere along the line or it had happened to me before but, it was a new experience and one I didn't really relish too much. That, that was probably the way it was meant that it was a wee bit of a surprise in their part that I didn't know what was happening to me, because I was diabetic and that I should know this. So there's [been] a breakdown somewhere in communications.
See there's the danger here that I have been told and I've forgotten about, about the situation, and I don't think I would've forgotten that, it was just , like I say I think there's been a breakdown in the communications circle, somewhere whether my GP thought this knowledge was imparted to me through the health centre service, I don't recall this happening and I'm sure I wouldn't have panicked so much if I'd known that this could've happened. I was, aye, I was frightened, I was, especially when my eyes were affected. Like I say the running into the toilet and the thirst I can cope with, but not understanding what was causing it and I didn't understand it, I really didn't associate it with diabetes, so I would suggest that I didn't know. Because I'm daft, but I'm not stupid. So yeah, somewhere along the line it didn't happen, I didn't have the information. And yeah, I'm a big boy now I can go out and find out things for myself and I didn't do it, and I never even thought about it when I was away. I had access to the internet while I was away, I could have looked but I just didn't even think about it - just didn't put the two together so...