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[IPk] What I am doing

Hi y'all,

Having had a bad experience with the NHS last year that could have been 
avoided if I'd known of the other Oxford student who had a pump (I could 
have gotten some batteries from her in the middle of the night), I decided 
around Christmas last year that I should try to start a 
support/networking/advocacy organization for people with type 1 in Oxford. 
After trying to communicate with the Radcliffe Infirmary (not the John 
Radcliffe Hospital--for clinic appointments I go to the Radcliffe Infirmary, 
but the clinic is relocating to the Churchill Hospital soon) and the college 
nurses and getting absolutely nowhere, I gave up for the rest of the 
academic year. I had work to do and no idea where else to turn. I got the 
names of two undergrads in Balliol with type 1, but I managed to meet just 
one of them by the end of last spring. However, now in the middle of week 
three (out of 8 in the term), I have struck gold and my enthusiasm has been 

The other day I went to Boots to collect some prescriptions. The guy in 
front of me in the queue picked up a load of Humalog Mix25. I sort of 
stopped him on his way away from the counter. While I was waiting for my 
stuff, we exchanged e-mail addresses. He's in his second year, reading 
biology in another college, and he knows a few people in his college and 
some in other colleges who have type 1. 'Great!' I thought, 'but how will I 
_really_ spread the word--this one guy's interest in whatever I might start 
up is nice, but will it get anything off the ground? No way'.

So I had a think last night and had some ideas. The current Oxford 
University Student Union V-P for Welfare is an undergrad in Balliol whom I 
met him several weeks ago. I got to know the current disabilities rep in the 
Balliol JCR (junior common room: undergrad student body) last year. 'Aha! I 
can get Andrew and Nancy in on my scheme!' I thought, 'Andrew can contact 
the welfare officers, both undergraduate and graduate, in all the colleges, 
and Nancy can follow up with the disabilities reps'. Okay, so there was 
progress, at least in my mind.

Tonight, I had to return to Boots to pick up some stuff that hadn't been 
ready the other day. The pharmacist who'd been working when I'd run into the 
second-year biologist was on duty and she came over to double-check my 
stuff. As the queue was short, I got chatting with her about the 
possibilities for getting Boots to help. She mentioned that they might be 
able to make available flyers about whatever I set up to people collecting 
insulin and test strips! She must speak with her manager about the prospect, 
but her support alone was encouraging. I will see about getting a meeting 
with the manager, whatever the outcome of the pharmacist's conversation with 
him or her.

So I left Boots feeling quite good. Later on, I went to a bar/restaurant in 
town for drinks after a meeting. Andrew from OUSU and Nancy the disabilities 
rep were just finishing dinner at the table closest to the door! We talked 
for about 10 minutes. Andrew--who wasn't aware of my diabetes until 
tonight--was ALL ABOUT setting up something. He has meetings with the people 
who run the Primary Care Trust on a regular basis, access to all the college 
nurses and all the welfare reps in the university, and contact information 
for every doctor in Oxford. After I'd expressed profuse thanks for his 
willingness to help me find people with type 1 and mobilize them, Andrew 
replied, 'And would you like a website? We can make you a website, no 
problem'. Ch-ching!

I can't believe all of that has happened in the past 48 hours, but I'm 
rolling with it. I hope that people will emerge from the woodwork and we'll 
wind up with a good crowd of locals as well as university students and 
fellows. If anyone on the listserv knows anyone with type 1 who lives in 
Oxford, or has heard of a student from elsewhere with type 1 who should be 
in Oxford now, please share my university e-mail address: 
email @ redacted .

What all of the above will do to help anyone outside of Oxford I don't know, 
but I thought it might be of interest. Think laterally, be creative, be 
up-front, approach people you don't know, enlist people who look 
sympathetic, and don't rely on your doctor to do much beyond sign your 
prescription slips (unless he or she actually knows something about 
diabetes, which we have already established is not all that likely).

Power to the people!!!

IDDM 8+ years; MiniMed pumper 6+ years; annoying the authorities 21+ years

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