Dean was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was eleven years old. This summer, he went on an insulin pump
He says, “It’s like science fiction! In the old days we boiled our glass syringes to make them sterile, and either had to wee on a stock or – going back even further in time – pop a tablet in a test tube with a mix of water and wee and waited for it to stop fizzing and change colour.”
Blood test strips gripe
While he’s been fairly happy with his healthcare to date, he admits that recent attempts to restrict the number of blood test strips he’s allowed has left him pretty disgruntled.
“The big cost to the NHS is people who, for one reason or another, can’t control their diabetes and it leads to all the horror stories – kidney failure and so on. I must be a relatively cheap date by comparison. Why restrict my strips when all I’m doing is what my consultant has recommended me to do? The point being that if I take care of myself now then I won’t cost the NHS a fortune in the future.”
One pot a week
Instead of being prescribed enough test strips for a month I have been told that I am only allowed one pot per week because of the cost but across the month I still get the same amount and in a time when we are all trying to save the planet I am forced to drive to my doctors at least four times per month, before the pump it was just once. It just does not make sense considering I have very little impact on the resources available at my surgery and I have to rely on others to collect my prescription as I just cant keep getting time off work.
“I’m sure I’ll work out who’s the right person to talk to get this addressed, but I shouldn’t have to,” says Dean. As part of his interest in his own healthcare Dean’s done a Bertie – a variation of the better-known DAFNE course – which was held at the hospital where he goes to diabetes clinic. “I think it did me good to go – you do get a bit rusty on carb-counting and slip into bad habits.
Plus, it was up-to-date. The last time I had to learn all about food and insulin was decades ago – although it’s one long learning curve when you have diabetes as you learn about food and insulin ‘on the job’ as it were. But it did give me a boost to do some more learning at this stage.
Now a pumper
“Since becoming a ‘pumper’ my life has changed dramatically and I feel so much better for it and the support I get from Broomefield Hospital is first class, I upload information from my pump on a weekly basis and adjustments are made to my régime as seen fit, I don’t even have to go to the hospital I can sit at my desk and discuss with Specialist Nurse , Margaret Bardle, as she will have all of the data from my pump on her desktop and will advise me accordingly.
“I do not miss the old black-and-white days having to wait in a hospital waiting room for 5 hours to be told your wee is the wrong colour, and told to go away and don’t even look at things that may have sugar in them.
“Now I have no fear of hypos , the pump has rectified that situation for me and I will be for ever grateful to Dr. Fletcher and his team at Broomefield Hospital as now I look forward to my hospital appointments. They are not getting my pump back… ever!”