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The Diabetic Traveler Diary – Part 1

With Pete Davies type 1 diabetic since 1956

I don’t think we carried my urine test kit (blood test meters hadn’t been invented back then!) so my parents kept a very watchful eye on me and gave me a boiled sweet every 15/20 mins. I thought I was in heaven!! I was 8 years old at the time.

 

I guess my travels started in 1954 in Eldoret, Kenya, where on Oct 5th, I was born. My family occasionally traveled home to the UK and on one visit in Nov 1956, I was diagnosed with T1D.

Being so young I don’t remember diagnosis at all, but thankfully, I do have diary extracts of diagnosis which my mum kept. My family also lived in Dar es Salam (Tanzania) but finally, in Nairobi as the T1 care, there was really good.

In 1962, my sisters were approaching secondary school age (I was 7) my family came back to live in the UK. It was hard extremely hard leaving East Africa and before we left, my family drove 4,700 miles from Nairobi to Cape Town on really rough mud roads, in an ordinary family car. What a wonderful adventure it was but goodness knows how my mum kept my soluble and Lente insulins cool (both animal-based 80-unit/cc insulins), quite apart from safeguarding the delicate glass syringes and urine test gear! We came home by ship from Capetown to Southampton (car too!) calling briefly at Madeira en route.

In our first year in the UK, my family climbed Snowdon – England’s/Wales highest mountain. A well-meaning man(?) sent us up the wrong route – Crib Goch which is in fact the hardest trekking route up the mountain. It was scary but I loved it! I don’t think we carried my urine test kit (blood test meters hadn’t been invented back then!) so my parents kept a very watchful eye on me and gave me a boiled sweet every 15/20 mins. I thought I was in heaven!! I was 8 years old at the time.

My parents ‘can do anything’ attitude was incredible – I’m sure that’s why I am really positive and T1 has NEVER stopped me doing anything. I owe them so much!”

Part 2 – Coming Soon.

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