Chris - Interview 23

Age at interview: 61
Age at diagnosis: 56
Brief Outline: Diagnosed 5 years ago when having a routine blood test as part of treatment for depression. Chris controls his diabetes by diet alone and does not take any medication.
Background: Chris is a retired nurse/behavioural therapist and is divorced with one grown-up child.

More about me...

Chris does not recall having had any of the symptoms associated with diabetes. Diabetes was discovered only when the medicines he was taking for depression were being reviewed. 

Chris says that his diabetes does not make him feel unwell at all and he cannot understand why the condition seems so important to other people, particularly his GP and nurse. Chris prefers to control his diabetes through diet alone even though his GP has suggested that he should take tablets. Chris prefers not to take more tablets than he really needs because he is already on tablets for other conditions including high blood pressure. He says his blood glucose levels have never gone over 12, and that he starts to feel unwell when they dip under 10. His medical team have told him to aim for lower glucose levels. 

Having spent his whole life not having much of a sweet-tooth, Chris started developing a fondness for desserts when he was newly diagnosed with diabetes. He believes that since he looks after himself well - he doesn't drink, is careful about what and how much he eats, and does regular exercise - he doesn't feel ill and so is not concerned about his diabetes as yet. If his diabetes does start to make him feel ill he will give it more attention. Chris feels healthier and fitter than he has for a long time.


Chris only found out he had diabetes by chance and says he still doesn't feel he has any specific...

I can't remember why, I went for a blood test. I suffer from depression, and I think it was do with, something to do with' oh, some of the tablets I was taking, you know, and they weren't agreeing with me. So you had to have a blood test. And then they called me in and told me I was diabetic. And I had to go on a diet, you know. I mean I didn't think I was that bad. I didn't know I had anything. No symptoms I would have thought were anything. Well, I don't even know, really know what the symptoms of diabetes are now, even now after five years. I don't really care. If I'm ill, I'll know I'm ill. 

But I just don't , I don't, you know, I don't understand what I'm supposed to feel with diabetes. You know, is there something specific I should be feeling? I know my eyes. I know that if I get a sore it doesn't heal as well these days. But then that's old age, I mean that comes with old age anyway. Poor healing is one of the first things which is a sign of old age. 


Chris dislikes taking so many pills and wonders why he needs a statin when his cholesterol levels...

I don't need it. I know I don't need it. What's it going to do? If my blood sugars are fine, what's the tablet going to do? If I stick to my regime, what's it going to do? If I don't feel any different, or I couldn't feel healthier with the tablet with what I'm already taking, you know. There's enough there now. Because I've got a hiatus hernia as well, so I take something for that as well. I've got arthritis in the neck, so I take painkillers for that. And again it's much better if the weather's like this. But it's sort of, you know, another one on top, I don't know, I don't think it's going to' Aspirins apparently for my heart. I've got a cholesterol tablet, although my cholesterol is now fine. That was one of the things they got down. They said my cholesterol's too high, so I got it down. And I said, 'Fine, it's down now. I can come off the tablet?' 'Oh, no. That's for the rest of your life.' Why? My cholesterol is down. Why have I got to take a tablet for the rest of my life? So, as I said, I've got enough and I'm not taking any more. If I feel ill, then I might change my mind. But I don't feel ill. I feel fine, I feel fit, healthy.


Chris refuses to take metformin and feels he's done everything right. He can't understand why he...

And I'm doing quite well - I think I'm doing quite well anyway. I feel good, other than my depression of course, you know. But, but my body feels physically fine. I can't say that I've had any problems from it at all, you know. In fact I think the' I'm going back a little bit now, because when I saw the last nurse and I refused to take the tablet, she said, 'Oh, you don't want this clinic then, do you?' So I said, 'Well, no, not really', you know. I said, 'The only thing I worry about is my eyes' you know. I said, 'Well, you know, if they go, they go. There's nothing I can do about it. So, 'Oh, well, you know, it's out of control and'' You know. And she had a good old moan at me like. And then I walked out into the waiting room and there was a bloke, well half a dozen people waiting there, and they were fat, they were, beer bellies on them something dreadful. And I don't drink, you know. I'm, I don't do, you know, anything like that.

And yet they're, they're telling me now when I've been up the shop, people who are diabetic, they're still drinking, they're still smoking. I don't do any of it. I stopped the smoking, you know. So I've done everything right and they're still telling me off. I'd like to be in there when they speak to some of these others, to see what they say. Because, you know, I mean if they have a go at me like that, what must they say to them? Or is it just me they're picking on? You don't know, you know. That's one of the things that might be interesting here, to see that everyone gets the same sort of treatment.

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