LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Titanic

I was the only one in our party that downed. Better odds than I’d expected, actually.

We’d come to Denver to take in the traveling exhibit of Titanic artifacts that have been raised from their watery grave in the deep, cold, dark Atlantic. It is a wonderful, eerie, amazing experience. You can run your finger across a chunk of the Titanic’s hull, touching history. You see clothes, money, a pipe and tobacco pouch. All preserved by the icy depths. There are chunks of the ship: a bridge telegraph that signaled the engine room to reverse the engines as the ice berg loomed. A compass. Rivets. A wall sconce. Part of the grand stair case. You walk down a reconstructed corridor on the First Class B deck and you find yourself walking back into history. You can gaze at a pair of eye glasses, one lens missing, and realize that they were most likely on a passenger’s face when he went into the water.

Book a trip to Denver. You won’t regret it.

There were many wonderful things about the exhibit. For the kids the show has created a huge block of ice, an ice berg of sorts, that they can touch. There are profiles and stories. Never too much to read, unless you have a five-year-old in tow. There is a huge chunk of the hull. There are massively enlarged photos. Bottles of champagne, still full, ready to drink by popping the cork.

Book a trip to Denver. You won’t regret it.

But one of the most interesting elements was the boarding pass. As you enter the exhibit you are given a boarding pass with the name of a real passenger on the ship. I was Mr. Richard Henry Rouse, age 50. A 3rd Class passenger who had lost his job as a coal miner during the coal strike. I was off to Cleveland, Ohio, where a daughter lives. My plan is to find work and then send for the wife and other daughter. Rio was Mr. Edward Ryan, age 24. He boarded at the Queenstown stop-over. The rest of us at Southampton. Mr. Ryan is also a 3rd Class passenger immigrating to Troy, New York. Debbie was Mrs. Elizabeth Hocking, age 54, a 2nd Class passenger from Cornwall. She is seen off by the YMCA choir which came to sing as her train left the station. My mother was 18-year-old 3rd Class passenger Mrs. Sam Aks of London. She is traveling with her 10-month-old son to join her husband in Norfolk, Virginia who had established a tailor shop.

In today’s dollars, we in 3rd Class paid about $650 for passage. The bottom-basement 1st Class ticket was $48,000. More than my house cost. The best suite on the ship would have set you back more than $78,000 in today’s dollars and you still would have had to pay extra to use the swimming pool.

Knowing what I did about the history of the Titanic, it didn’t look good for the home team.

Due to the nature of the artifacts; food, even bottled water, is forbidden in the exhibit. No ER sugar for me. I wasn’t even carrying a glucometer. I’ve actually become somewhat lazy about that. Guardian is just so damn reliable. I was stable, in the 140’s with modest IOB. I didn’t worry too much about hitting a glucose berg and sinking into the icy hypo depths.

At the end of the exhibit, spanning an entire wall, is a list of those who survived and those who were lost. It is broken into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class, and crew. The crew took horrible losses. As did third class. That said, many third class passengers did survive; and many first class (mainly men) died.

This really tied you to the exhibit in a unique and powerful way. As people gathered at the board eagerly searching for their names there were cries of “on man…I downed.” Or, “I lived! I lived!”

As expected, I downed. To my surprise and pleasure, however, Rio survived. As did Deb; no surprise as she was a second class lady. My mother, however, must have had one of the most harrowing experiences of any passenger who lived. The 18-year-old mother was walking in a daze near the boat deck when someone snatched her baby from her arms to put him in a life boat. God apparently on her side, she ends up in a different life-boat, but they spend the night separated from each other and uncertain of each other’s fate. They are reunited on the Carpathia the next day.

Book a trip to Denver. You won’t regret it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Caro said...

I second the recommendation.

I saw the same exhibition when it was in London. I drowned.

What really strikes me reading your account is that all those artifacts in the exhibition never made it across the Atlantic on board the ship. Yet they've made it now. A strange thought.

4:13 PM  
Blogger type1emt said...

I saw it in Richmond, it was awesome.

My character survived.
(surprisingly)

2:10 PM  

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