A man who had his foot amputated is urging other diabetics to ‘keep control’ of their sugar levels and have regular foot checks.
Raymond Parker, of Lansdowne Drive, Hailsham was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes nearly 15 years ago.
But eight years ago, on the run up to Christmas, he found himself at Eastbourne District General Hospital, preparing to have his foot amputated.
“I was at work at the time,” he said. “I came over a bit unwell. I thought I was coming down with the flu.”
“I went home and lay down on my bed, but turned over in my sleep and fell out of bed. I hit my leg on the side.
“After two or three days I went to bed one evening and pulled my sock off. My skin came off the ball of my foot.
“The skin had got an infection and I got a blister. I thought I had better go to the hospital with this but left it to the morning.”
Raymond said hospital staff looked at his foot and told him they were going to have to admit him.
“They said you’re going to have to have an operation to save your foot – you’re going to have an amputation.”
The number of amputations in the UK has reached an average of 135 a week, according to figures released by Diabetes UK.
The charity said more than 7,000 amputation take place every week – although 80 per cent could be avoided with good footcare and diabetes management.
Raymond, who had an epidural while his foot was removed, has remained optimistic following the operations.
“You’re dealt a card and you just have to get on with it,” he added.
Raymond said he wants people to be more aware of what can happen if people with diabetes don’t have regular foot checks and keep their diabetes ‘under control’.
Raymond has been back to the hospital to talk to other people facing an amputation.
“I have to say to them it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
Raymond said it wasn’t until after the operation he realised he had been feeling unwell because of his diabetes.
“I had my car stolen and my tester was in the car. I didn’t check my sugar levels during that period.”
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The fact that the total number of amputations is continuing to rise is a huge concern because we know the devastating impact they have on people’s lives.
“As well as the psychological impact, they also cost lives as most people die within five years of having one.”
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