How we ‘fixed’ our diabetic dad – and saved his life
When their father, Geoff, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 50, brothers Ian and Anthony Whitington were not hugely surprised, and for 10 years, they drifted along and watched from the sidelines.
“Dad had always been the ‘big man’,” says Anthony, 39. “As kids, we thought it was funny. Dad could drink more than anyone, he could eat more than anyone. It was his identity. That’s our dad and that’s what he does.”
“As we got older, of course we worried,” adds Ian, 37. “But everyone around us would say, ‘If he doesn’t want to change, you can’t change him. He has to do it himself.’” So nothing much was done – and Geoff joined the 3.5m adults in the UK who manage their diabetes with ever-greater doses of medication and regular check-ups.
“We were all resigned to our family roles,” says Anthony. “I was a busy financial adviser with four kids of my own. Ian was a busy cameraman with jobs all over the world. Dad was a funny fat guy who drank too much.”
The wake-up calls were different for both of them. For Anthony, it was a family trip to Chessington zoo in 2013. By then, Geoff weighed 127kg (20 stone), had high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm), plus everything diabetes could throw at him – a swollen prostate, poor circulation, ulcers on one foot and a bone deformity on the other.
“We were walking around this theme park when the bones collapsed through his foot,” says Anthony. “I remember him grabbing a railing, the blood in his sock, getting him back to the car. Suddenly, this thing that the d Continue reading