Debatable words of wisdom from UK’s oldest pump user

By | 23 January, 2012

This dog was inspired to read this story about the oldest pump user in the UK, who’s had diabetes for 80 years. She’s had quite a life and it’s clear diabetes has never stopped her doing anything. And reading how she used to sharpen her own needles up until 5 years ago was an eye opener.

But he was also a bit disappointed to read her final words of wisdom “after living with diabetes for 80 years myself, my message to people with diabetes would be this: do exactly what your diabetes physician tells you to do!” Really? Not to learn all you can about diabetes and take control of it so that you can live a happy, healthy life? Just to blindly do what you’re told.

This dog is now a little less inspired and is going to find a hummingbird to chew on to raise his spirits. Meanwhile, what words of wisdom would ShootUp readers share about living with diabetes?

7 thoughts on “Debatable words of wisdom from UK’s oldest pump user

  1. Tim

    “…normal procedure for pregnant ladies with diabetes to have a Caesarean around six weeks before the natural due date” Oh my word!

    1. Alison

      It was a terrifyingly different world back then. I’m very happy to have only joined the diabetes party in the 1980’s.

  2. Dave

    I think the dog is being a little hard on the nameless old lady. Doing exactly as she has done has kept here alive so far and if I’m still knocking around in 50 years time then I think I can comment as an equal.

    Well done Mrs Noname!

    1. Alison

      I think she is inspirational. But it was such a disappointment to get to the end of the piece and hear her put it down to doing what you’re told. When you read what she’s done – bearing in mind the poor quality of diabetes care way back when makes it even more impressive – I think its misleading to put it down to doing as she was told. She says herself “Growing up, I never let diabetes get in the way of anything”. She has a great attitude and approach and I think that’s what’s so inspiring about her and the big thing I’d take away from her.

  3. brian

    Doing what the doctor said was the only advice available – no internet then young ‘uns to provide more information than you can handle. If it wasn’t in the local library, and it wouldn’t be, you had real difficulty there was no other source available.

    All information was held by the doctor; security coded (long words joined together), in restricted circulation medical publications and held as a trade secret to maintain the earning power and social superiority of the profession.

    She would have been diagnosed in 1932; 10 years after the discovery of insulin, it probably still had lumps in it and on a very restricted diet – black and red lines – this is sometime before McDonalds and trans fats and even obesity; the diet would have been lean and mean – but healthy. Diabetes UK (British Diabetic Ass) the first support group was just formed in London, the rest of the country wouldn’t hear of it for the next ten years at least, no TV documentaries etc. The doctor was the only information source.

    She has done well, and probably had the equivalent of the personalised treatment available today using the combined knowledge of the patient and doctor, but didn’t realise it. It would be interesting to know the relationship of the doctor ie father, uncle, family friend etc because in other similar cases I have heard there has been a personal relationship and therefore personalised care – which is just like successful diabetes care now.

  4. lizz

    I had to sharpen my needles. Grrrr. I am quite cross about this, still. Could have just given me more.


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