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Blind diabetic aims to help others by setting up club
LIFE has dealt Christopher Mackenzie a series of cruel blows, and at the age of 48 he has been unable to work for the last five years.
But he is not downhearted and hopes to help other people by setting up a club for people who – like him – suffer from complications of type one diabetes.
Christopher, of Lytchett Matravers, said: “I can’t work, I’m blind, bored and I can’t do anything. I would like to do something for people who are middleaged with diabetic complications.
I would like them to get involved in the local community and try and do things like bowling and blind archery.”
Badly bullied at school in Trinidad, where his father was working as a civil engineer, Christopher suffered a breakdown then was diagnosed as a diabetic at the age of 13.
“I was very ill. I had three doctors come to me. One said I should have a sugar and water solution, another salt and water, and the third knew what was wrong. He saved my life. I was straight into hospital. I was like a skeleton. They left it a little bit too late, hence the problems I have got now.”
Before moving to Dorset, Christopher spent many years in Hampshire, where he worked for Tesco. “My health deteriorated and I kept going in and out of hospital.
They came up with the option of retiring me on medical grounds.”
Five years ago, he asked whether he could have an insulin pump to help control his disease, but was told he could not.
After moving to Dorset a couple of years later, he was about to be given a pump by Poole Hospital when his vision deteriorated.
“I am now totally blind. They don’t try blind people on insulin pumps. I use pens morning and evening and I have to try and find the right spot to do the injection.”
Christopher has had his gall bladder removed, and has prostate problems. He has nerve damage to his upper body and legs, so uses a wheelchair. This year he has also developed heart disease.
He has started training to walk with a long cane as he is hoping to be able to have a guide dog.
“There’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself, otherwise the whole world would be totally dull.
I’ve always been an active person.
I like listening to music but life can be a bit mundane. I want to try and do things. I want to meet people with the same problems. I hope it will help them too,” he said.
Chris can be contacted on email@example.com
Facts about the condition
TYPE one diabetes is caused by a complete failure of insulin production.
Insulin is the only way the body has of regulating blood sugar levels.
Without it, the body starts breaking down muscle and fat, causing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.
Symptoms include abnormal thirst and urination, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and pain.
Long-term effects of high blood sugar levels include poor circulation, which can lead to kidney and heart problems, stroke, impotence and infection; damaged eyesight; numbness and weakness; swings in blood pressure; diarrhoea.
It can also lead to connective tissue problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.