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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Richard explains that it can affect his self-confidence when he does not maintain the difficult balancing act needed to control his diabetes.

I have two questions in my head now. Because high blood pressure – high blood sugar has certain implications, and –


- and low has a different set of implications, is that right?

Yes. Low blood sugar results in shortness of temper, extreme frankness. And eventually a, unconsciousness. High blood sugar - for me - results in depression. And the high blood sugar is the one that causes the long term damage to the kidneys and the eyes. Because of squeezing the oxygen out of the blood, as I understand it. So I think the tendency for many diabetics is to avoid low blood sugar. The tendency for diabetic consultants is to make sure you avoid the high blood sugar. So life is this constant balancing act. And I think what undermines self-confidence is you should of course be able to do it mathematically and get all the calculations right, and it all should work. In practice, a head cold, you lose control. Teaching a bit too intensively, talking too much, you lose control. Stress throws it completely, all over the place, in my case. So there's this constant sense of walking on a tightrope, without much of a sense of balance.

It means life for you is potentially very unstable. And again, that's not good for the self-confidence and self-esteem. And it certainly limits the sort of things I do, in terms of travel. Not in a huge way, but it is always a consideration. You know, that flight will, will be a bit too long, that timing of the journey will clash with mealtimes. So it is though much more flexible now. When I was first diagnosed it was two injections a day. Now it's five. And that is infinitely more flexible. It sounds - it sounds worse. But the, the shorter acting and the much longer acting insulins mean you can play, play with the day much more flexibly. You don't have to know exactly what you will eat twelve hours in advance, which was sort of what it was before.