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!).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Life in the fast lane.

I drive a lot, 10 hours a week or more depending on what’s going down on my days “off.” But I had forgotten that driving can be fun.

This re-discovery of what every 16-year-old boy knows started when Deb’s aging and ill-maintained (we’re poor remember?) Honda CRV blew an engine. With close to 300 thousand miles on it, a transmission that was skipping, and a host of other problems the theoretical math was clear: if we had the money it made more sense to start over than to pour more into this particular black hole.

Also, you can sometimes borrow money to buy a car. You can’t borrow money to fix one.

The big surprise was that it was Deb’s car that bit the big one. We’d both figured it would be my hail-survivor over-driven Accord which is both more heavily driven and more maintenance abused. I had a long “discussion” with a better paid colleague about the importance of major tune ups and changing timing belts and the like. She just didn’t get it. Yeah, I know all of that. But I need to keep the electricity on. There isn’t money for both.

My Mom cut short her birding trip (thank God for cell phones, right?) and came to our short term rescue transportation wise. Between Rio’s school being north and west of our house about 25 miles and my work being north and east of our house about 75 miles; being a one car family was impossible.

We checked online to get a feel of what was out there, discussed needs, evaluated our possibilities of getting credit in this world, and planned a trip to the only used car dealer I trust. Where upon Mom announced she really hated her one-year-old ’08 Honda CRV. It does have a significant blind spot. And this particular car also seems to be hexed, as no end of near and not-so-near “incidents” have plagued it. With Deb’s car dead, mine on life support, and Mom convinced hers was a death trap; I was given a charter: see what kind of deal you can get the family on three cars with two trade ins.

Our life-long sales guy had retired but we choose a new one (after asking if they had female sales staff, which they didn’t) and after being assured he was a patient man we laid out the whole complicated story. We’re here for anywhere between 0 and 3 cars with anywhere between 0 and 2 trade ins. We have no fucking idea what we need. I hope you got a lot of time on your hands today.

The sales guy, Rob, was great. We started with a quick council of war. Deb needed high ground clearance for our “drive way,” a twisting, rutted dirt-rock wagon trail with slopes up to 55 degrees in some places. She also demanded four doors, AC, and a clicker to auto lock the car when she arrived with arms full of child etc at school. Mom need something high off the ground that she can get in and out of with arthritic knees. She also needed cruise control, CD and AC. I needed good gas mileage, AC, a CD, and would love a moon roof to pull commuting pipe smoke out of the cabin. Rio needed a PT Cruiser. Period.

Thus, with charter in hand, we set off into the lot to see what we could see. To keep the little one happy we decided to test drive a PT Cruiser, with no real thought that it was appropriate for any one of us. The one on the lot was metallic aqua green. Not ugly exactly, perhaps more shocking. But as soon as I sat in the driver’s seat I fell in love. The interior is post-modern sci-fi; how we all thought the future would look back in 1952. It’s high tech art-deco. The details are amazing and creative. The dash board rises up to a wicked air-plane-like wind shield. The doors wrap around you, you feel like you are in a protected metal cocoon. The driver’s seat was as comfortable as my desk chair. There was room for my long legs and my big head and yet I could still reach the steering wheel. More than reach. It was right where it ought to be. Someone designed this car for my size and shape. Let’s drive.

For three years my commuting buddy E has been telling me how much she loves Turbo Volvos. Turbo this, turbo that, turbo the other thing. Yawn. Bear in mind we live at a mile above sea level and work at close to 8,000 feet above sea level. As it turns out, this little PT had a turbo. As we approached the freeway the sales man said, “Go ahead, punch it.”

I gently pressed the pedal to the floor and with a musical snarl the mean little green machine surged forward. Like in a carnival ride the force of the acceleration pushed us back in our seats. Simultaneously Rio and I let out a whoop of sheer joy. Power rocks. It’s a guy thing.

I drove some other stuff that afternoon, including cars with better gas mileage. But….

“You drive a lot,” said my Mom, “life’s too short not to enjoy it. But for God’s sake, use the cruise control, I don’t want you getting tickets with that turbo.”

So a joy to sit in. A joy to drive. Debbie studied me for a long time, raised one eye brow and said, “Well I never thought I say this, but that car looks good on you.”

Oh, and it has a moon roof.

Both Mom and Deb ended up with Subaru Foresters. Deb’s is a gorgeous gun-metal grey. Yeah. Turbo.

Mom initially chose a sparkly tan one with no turbo. But, well, it did seem pretty gutless after the other two and she ended up some a limited edition burgundy Forester of questionable lineage. Clearly this car is the bastard child of a Lamborghini. I’m sure you can’t picture a Subaru sports car, but that is what my 83-year-old Mother is terrorizing the country side with.

Having bought three cars we were treated….very well….at the dealer ship, as you can imagine. The guy in charge of detailing the cars and tanking them up before they left the lot came in to the finance office where we were finishing up the paper work. He handed me the keys. “Here’s for the PT Cruiser. I’ll have the other two out shortly. Thanks a lot for your businesses… oh, and I’m available for adoption.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At last....

Drum roll......

The box sat on my desk for hours, taunting me. But I was really busy. Then, finally, at day's end--with shaking hands--I got the courage to open the box......

...and it is beautiful. Typo on cover and all....

Monday, January 26, 2009

What can you do but faint?

I held out the centrifuge to Rio. Now this is not a toy, I told him, it is a real piece of lab equipment. Now you are probably asking yourself what kind of idiot buys a six-year-old a working centrifuge?

The answer to that it is: an idiot who is the father of a most unusual and exceptional child. I confess, my son flunked kindergarten. Rio, who has a college-graduate level vocabulary couldn’t be bothered to learn how to read. This year his teacher says he’s doing great on reading at school, but he won’t pick up a book at home.

We’ve got how many thousands of books in our personal library and a kid who doesn’t want to read????? Arggggggggggggg!!!!!!

Well, he is what God made him. His teacher also tells me he is a mathematical genius, or wizard, or some such. My personal observations throughout life are that humans are good at words or numbers, but rarely both. Rio is also a born engineer. He can take anything apart in record time and more remarkably can actually put it back together right 80% of the time. (We just aren’t going to talk about the other 20% of the time……)

But back to the centrifuge. I got him a DNA Explorer Kit, as his second great interest after how things work, is in all things biological. I think it is the result of trying to understand why all the adults in his life are so sick. Anyway, he can name all the organs of the human body on sight, and has a frighteningly broad understanding both body systems and of medicine. It was time to take it to the next level—the blue print of life—DNA.

Rio turned the centrifuge over carefully in his small hands, carefully studying it from every angle. “So….this…isn’t a toy?” he asked. “This is….real?”


Rio set the machine down on the coffee table. “Excuse me, Daddy, I need to go to the library and faint.”

In hindsight, this seems like a good solution to overwhelming emotion. Just remove yourself for a moment and go faint. I just got an email that the advance copies of my book are being two-day FedEx’d to me.

Now I know every word, of course, I wrote them. Even the misspelled one. And I know what every page looks like. And I know what the cover looks like. But only on the computer, or on the printed page. I’m yet to see it as a book, with form and volume, and the wonderful smell of off-set ink on paper. I haven’t been able to hold it in my hands and thumb through its pages.

It has been a long time in coming, and I’m not real good a waiting. Visualization is about to be replaced with experience. I’m so excited and stressed out that I can’t stand it.

Excuse me, I think I’ll go into the library and faint.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nightmares asleep and awake

I’m nearly too stressed-out to function. I’ve got car trouble, money trouble, wife trouble, work trouble, and child trouble. Not necessarily in that order. I’ve been waking up every day at 4am, unable to get back to sleep.

Somewhere in this list of things plaguing my sub-conscious is THE BOOK. Sometime in the next two weeks the Advanced Copies will be in my hands and the wait will be over. My creation will have transformed itself from the DNA of handwritten notes into a living-breathing-three-dimensional creation with weight and volume.

Now, not to sound like a sales pitch, but you need some background to understand the nightmare I had last night. The book is to be hard-cover. It is smallish and will have a “printed case.” That means the cover art is magically and wonderfully entombed into the cover with no need for a dust jacket. The spine is sewn, making it more durable than the glued models and more prone to stay open to the spot you want it open to. The pages are extra-thick coated stock so the book will be as much a pleasure for your fingers as it is for the eye.

All of this made the book heaps more expensive to produce than a paperback printed on nasty newsprint-like paper. But nothing less than the best will do for me. Books are sacred.

So bearing in mind what the book is supposed to look like, I woke up at 3am this morning drenched in sweat, heart pounding. I had just dreamed that the Advance Copies had arrived. I eagerly tore open the Fed Ex package and there it was. Not hard cover. Wrong size. Spiral bound. Leatherette cover. Cheap yellowish paper.

My hands are still shaking.

For reassurance that I had not succumbed to disaster I proceed bleary-eyed to my computer. Still dark outside, I opened up the cover file. And there was the beautiful cover art: red blood cells swimming in a first aid kit-style red cross. And at the bottom, on the cover, plain as day, glaringly clear: a typo.


We went through months of proof reading and editing to make sure every word was right. And here, on the cover, a misspelled word. As I write this the book is at the bindery. Misspelled cover and all. OhmyGod.OhmyGod.OhmyGod.OhmyGod.

Excuse me while I go throw up….

Ok, I’m back.

Now you can argue about whether the introduction of a book by an eminent professional in the field should be called a “Foreword” or a “Forward.” Both are commonly used, but for course “Foreword” is the technically correct choice.

But nowhere in the world is there such a thing as a “Foreward.” Until now. Yep, the eminent Endocrinologist (who will likely kill me in the near future) Dr. Kathleen Colleran has written a Foreward to my book. It says so right on the cover.

Now….where did I leave that rat poison?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wars -- then and now, big and small

War is hell, and I had a hell of a day. Up at dawn, I battled a blizzard on the drive into town. I then fought with four Venetian wood blinds at Mom’s new place. Installing them required drilling holes into the cement and adobe. Stuffing those little plastic thing-a-ma-jigs into said holes. Then discovering the holes didn’t quite line up with the metal brackets on the blinds. Assorted colorful language. Next discovering that either the guy at home depot cut some wrong or I measured wrong. More colorful language.

The day ends peacefully enough, until the random-insulin-for-constant-grazing runs out in the early evening. A steep climb sets in. I take a correction, forget about it, and get ready for the work week ahead. I gotta layout my clothes for morning. Pick a matching earring. Chose a pipe for the drive home. Check the weather. Make coffee. Pack lunch.

Then I curl up in my foxhole with Archeology Magazine to read about the latest dive on the wreck of the Lusitania. Turns out she was caring ammo, and a lot of it too. She was a legitimate military target by the rules of war at the time she was sunk by a U-boat with great loss for civilian life; an event that lead American into World War I. The Brits have been denying it….lying about it… for 93 years.

My maternal grandfather served in WWI. He was an engineer. They carried double the ammo the regular army did. He once told me the war was fought between retreating German engineers tearing up the roads and bridges and advancing Allied engineers trying to rebuild them. He had medals from all of the really nasty battles. He got gassed too. As a child I used to play with the buttons he took from the uniform of a German soldier he captured; but he never really talked to me about the war until the last year of his life, me a teenager by then—still too young to really understand that there is no glory in war.

Recently on eBay I found a WWI Army Expeditionary Force medical corps caduceus pin. Maybe the guy who wore it patched up my grandpa. I brought it and pinned it on my suede jacket.

Battle fatigue setting in, I closed my magazine and turned off my reading light. The little lights on my electric oil-filled radiator bathing the corner of my bedroom in soft orange light like a distant fire, I pull the covers up to my chin and wriggle my toes down into the cold recesses of my covers. Outside a cold wind howled and whistled around my windows.

As I drifted towards sleep something tickles my stomach. Air raid! The soft-throbbing “vibration” alarm of the Guardian drags me back to the living. Groan… what?

Low predicted.

I fumble in the dark for one of the FreeStyle light meters, a lance, and vial of strips. By the icy blue glow of my indoor/outdoor temperature alarm clock I get the test strip right side up and business side in to the slot of the meter. A quick press of the larger center button turns on the strip port light. Target it sight. Snap. Squeeze. Slurp……78.

OK. My hands find the infusion set on my stomach, then the hose. I reel in the Cozmo 1800 and enter the BG into the hypo manager. It tells me I need 45 carbs to turn the low around. You gotta be fucking kidding me. That much? I check the IOB screen, and sure enough, I have a boat load of insulin on board with over and hour and half on the clock.

I eat three and a half cherry slices and collapse.

And all stays quiet on the Western Front for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stopping to breathe

Everything stopped. With no plan, with no organization, we were dawn by our silent inner voices. Our need at this time, above all others, to be part of a group. We gathered in the lobby--doctors, nurses, office staff, and patients. We filled the chairs, leaned against the walls, and sat crossed legged on the floor. Our eyes glued to the TV on the wall, we watched history unfold.

In dead silence we watched our new President take the oath of office. Then 5….10…15…seconds of silence. A collective sigh of relief.

The page of history had turned.

At once we broke out into an explosion of cheers, whoops, high-fives, bear hugs, and applause. A good time to be alive.

We listened, in rapture, to his acceptance speech. Previous generations can tell you where they where when they found out that Pearl Harbor was bombed, where they were when man landed on the moon, and one of us can ever forget where we where when the twin towers fell.

I will always remember where I was when history changed course this time. With my friends… my colleagues… my family at the clinic. Witnessing history. Together.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Shalom is a Hebrew word that functions for both hello and goodbye. I’m writing a shalom-post today to let you say hello to someone I had to say goodbye too.

I want to tell you all about my dear friend Anita. She worked for me at the lab in the old days, running one of the big machines. At that time, at 75 years of age, she was my oldest employee. My youngest was 19.

Anita was a Type-2 Diabetic. She was also a extraordinary baker. She made deserts to die for, but like deaf Beethoven writing magnificent symphonies he could not hear; she never so much as licked a spoon. How she could create such pies, cakes, and other sweet delights with no feedback is a complete mystery to me.

Anita had spent most of her life as a nurse and she had seen up close and personal the damage uncontrolled diabetes wreaks on the body. Determined to be buried with all her toes, kidneys worthy of donation, and eyes sharp and clear, she had more discipline than most of us combined.

Back then, I wasn’t diabetic yet, but she gave me my first introduction to hypoglycemia: by nearly driving through the lab. It was early morning and I was coming down the hallway from the back darkrooms after firing up the processors for the day. With a deafening clap of thunder the walls shook. Whatthefuck???

A plane crash? One of the machines exploded? An earthquake?

My mind swimming in confusion I made my way to the front lobby where I found Anita had used her Subaru Fosterer to try and turn the lab into a drive-thu. Running late to work she had skipped her breakfast, but her old-fashioned oral meds didn’t know that, and her little pancreas just kept pumping out the insulin. Pulling into the parking lot, her foot mistook the accelerator for the brake. Her SUV surged forward, jumped the railroad tie cactus garden and punched a hole in the brand-newly stucco‘d front wall of the building. Her Subaru was high centered on the landscaping like a metal beached whale.

It only took some candy to rescue Anita. The Subaru took AAA and several tow trucks. The building…well, stucco patches never match. Thank goodness the cacti finally grew high enough to cover the paler-than-the-wall patch that annoyed me for years.

At the time all of this happened, I had never even heard the word hypoglycemia. Isn’t that when children get wild after drinking too much grape Kool-Aid? My, how my vocabulary and horizons have changed since then…

Not long ago, Anita developed myasthenia gravis, and autoimmune disease of an even more sinister nature than T-1. Her muscles stopped working from the top down. First her eyelids got droopy. Then she had trouble swallowing. Then trouble holding her head up. Then trouble with her arms, then her lungs. From the first hint of a problem until the end was three weeks.

On a ventilator, body crippled, mind sharp as a tack, able only to communicate by awkwardly writing notes, she took command of her destiny. She pulled out her ventilator tube herself. She personally removed all the sensors and IVs and feeding tubes. It was not a fit of rage. It was calm, calculated, and brave beyond any imagining on my part.

She wrote one last note to her daughter, telling her how much she loved her and how she was the best thing that ever happened to her. And then, 12 minutes later, Anita died in her daughter’s arms.

This happened just before Thanksgiving. Sorry, Anita, it took me until now to pay you tribute.

We gathered, with other friends and family to remember Anita. The family’s rabbi said a prayer in ancient Aramaic. We all shared memories and stories. Then we gathered for a feast of her favorite foods to celebrate a life well-lived.

Bagels, and bread, and cookies, and grapes, and pumpkin pie and the fricken Guardian picks this particular time to conk out. It loses signal and slips into a restart. The monitor now thinks a new sensor is in, and I have a 2.5 hour warm up. I SWAG bolus the whole feast, grazing, bolusing, grazing some more. I take a couple of finger sticks and muddle through. Ironic that I honor my friend who introduced me to hypoglycemia by putting myself at risk for it.

I’m an excellent diabetes tour guide; but a very poor role model. Anita, on the other hand, was a most excellent role model.

Rest in peace
Anita Shubert
May 16, 1925—November 24, 2008

Shalom, Anita.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The cover of the rolling stone: part two

This excited Debbie more than anything else in the last five years:

Yep. My book. On AMAZON! How cool is that?

Monday, January 05, 2009

We the patients….

The French say the difference between them and us is that the French Government fears the people while here, the U.S. citizens fear the Government. I think that in recent years, that may be true, but neither reality is healthy.

But now we have something ever better than either approach to the balance of power above (knock on wood). It seems we have a new Government that genuinely wants to listen to the people. That makes this a very good time to use a tool that for years has been impotent: the petition.

If your government doesn’t really give a shit what you think, it doesn’t really matter how many of you think it. When a government is listening, and in fact, has invited comment, then there is great power in numbers.

So here is what has happened: in a nut shell the FDA has freaked out over recent research that may (or may not) connect D-meds to heart trouble. In a knee jerk over-reaction (my opinion) a new ruling has come down that will require big Parma to prove new D-meds are cardiac friendly before being approved. This will add not only a huge amount of time, but a huge amount of money to the approval process; you and I won’t get new treatments for much longer and we’ll pay much more.

And even with all of that, we won’t be any safer. The fact is, you really don’t know what the hell will happen with a med until you get a lot of people using it. Compounding the difficulty is that heart attacks are what kill diabetics in the first place….well, last place, actually. But what we need is stronger post-market tracking not more pre-market scrutiny.

A petition has been started that aims to collect 20,000 names asking the FDA to reconsider and further asking the FDA to create an end-users advisory panel made up not of PhD’s but Tom, Dick, and Janes who use the meds.

Anyway, my buddy Amy over at Diabetes Mine tipped me off to this today and I want to help spread the word. For Amy’s take on the issue go to:

I urge you to research this for yourself and if you agree, please sign the petition at:

It is pretty quick, easy, and painless. BUT, please, take the extra time to write just an sentence or two from the heart to personalize it. I signed in at #113. As of this post we are up to 217. They want 20K. Let’s give them 50K.

Your Government is listening. It is time to use your Voice.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Trials and tribulations of travel: hence forth, the Three-T’s of Diabetes

I try. You try. We all try. But sometimes, we all just get screwed.

We were at Penny’s Diner, in Vaughn, New Mexico of all places. Vaughn is not one of those places you can see from space. Penny’s, believe it or not, is 24-7-365, even open on Christmas. It is a funky, retro-50’s-style roadside joint with lots of chrome, black & white floor tile, and spinning backless stools at the counter.

I resisted the chocolate malt.

I resisted the burger and fries.

I resisted the chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, eggs, toast, and hash browns.

A diet Coke and the taco salad please, I told the waitress. I bolused for the tortilla, threw in a few extra carbs for the tomatoes and was feeling pretty virtuous. Yes, we are traveling, but this time I’m going to keep my BGLs in check if it kills me.

So as I was adding up the check on my PDA and trying to figure out how the hell it could have cost that much for three adults and a child to have lunch (no 1950’s prices, that’s for sure), Jezebel says to me “Did your Coke taste funny to you?” She, who is somewhere in that no-man’s land between Pre-Diabetes and Type-2 Diabetes still refuses to drink diet soda most of the time.

Ummmmmmmmm…..I didn’t notice….. But I do have a hard time telling the difference, as I rarely drink soda at all. I chose too today as I’m the designated driver and we still have nearly half the state to drive across. In hindsight iced tea would have been safer.

Why do you ask?

“Oh, mine tasted a bit like diet soda, I was wondering if the waitress got them backwards.”

Thirty minutes ago would have been the time to mention it. If I had drunk an regular soda, I’d have a hell of an excursion by now.

Fifteen minutes later the Guardian is squawking at me and clocking a 375. Crap.

Many correction boluses later we arrived in Carlsbad for our dual mission: the famous Caverns and the River Lights. Up in my end of the state you can spit across the Pecos River. Not that I would. In fact, why would anyone? The point is, unless you live in the arid southwest, you wouldn’t even dignify this modest flow of water with the title of “river” at all. But down south, it is another story altogether.

To my shock, the houses that line the river here have garages on the water for the home owners’ boats. The only reason I know this is I was on the river too. Every year the creative Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce promotes night-time boat tours on the river that showcase a stunning array of light displays reflected off the water.

We found out about it on our last trip down (you might recall the sign I photographed advising diabetics to “access your condition” at the Caverns). It sounded like fun, so we made reservations. As it turned out, we nearly missed the boat. Literally.

We had booked passage on the George Washington, a real, honest-to-God 1800s vintage stern wheel paddle boat. I have no idea what this thing was built for, or how it came to be on a river in southern New Mexico.

Anyway, we were driving around Carlsbad in the dark, like maniacs, trying to find the dock. We finally found it: from the wrong side of the river. Double crap. More manic driving. Parking. Coats, hats, mittens and gloves. It’s going to be cold on the water!

The top deck proved to be most popular, but we were too far back in line to get a seat “up stairs.” As it turns out, Rio and I ended up on the very tip of the bow for a fabulous ride. It wasn’t exactly DiCaprio and Winslet in Titanic; but it also had a happier ending too. Rio sat on the rail and I sat toward the center, the boat small enough that I could stretch out my legs and rest my feet on the gunnel, heals over the dark water. To my left sat Deb and her mother on the next bench over. Rio and I snuggled up under a blanket, he looking like a miniature orange Michelin Man in his life jacket. In the pocket of my cargo pants a FreeStyle Lite meter, just for incase, as my in-laws like to say. Can’t beat the strip-port light when you are in an old boat, up the river, in the pitch dark. Actually the hypo didn’t come on the water. It hit later, at Chili’s.

And of course, even with the Cozmo Hypo Manager to guide me, I overate the low. Maybe. Or maybe it was the shooter.

After another sensible meal of Southwestern-style salad, the desert menu was taunting me. Specifically the new white-chocolate lava cake. Tempting. I love white-chocolate. I love lava cakes….well any kind of cake that involves ice cream and warm sauce. Plus it was something new… Carbs unknown. No doubt 100 or so. Maybe more.

The alternative was the shooter, a new mini-desert from Chili’s: a shot glass full of cheese cake, key lime pie, and so forth. You can get ‘em in four packs or solos. One option was red velvet cake.

Still trying to remain virtuous, I opted for the shot glass of red velvet cake and woefully underestimated the carbs. Triple crap. If I was going to have a massive excursion, I should have had the white chocolate lava cake.

The next morning, following the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar, where I watched a skinny young man start with four cinnamon rolls, followed up by a triple serving of biscuits and gravy while I ate bacon and lite yogurt, we went to the Caverns.

Having last time done the natural entrance thing, and this time having a senior citizen with bad knees, we opted to take the elevator ride 750 feet straight down. No need to access my condition this time. Or so I thought.

OK, so what’s up with this whole underground hypo thing, anyway? Last time I was here I had an epic crash, but I attributed it to the strenuous walk down in. This time I took an elevator ride. The trail can’t be more than a mile or two. It is paved for God’s sake. It has hand rails. It has a few ups and downs, but nothing to write home about. But there I was, between the Hall of Giants and the Bottomless Pit, frantically trying to open a bottle of cherry slices.

On the ride back up the elevator, my blood sugar mimicked the rise. Quadruple crap.

After too long in the gift shop it was past time to go home, Ummmmm….guys, the sun is ten degrees above the horizon, it is a work night, and I’m on the wrong side of the state….

On the return trip we hit Vaughn again in the dark of night; only a venti latte from Starbucks in Roswell keeping me alive and alert to this point.

I cast my eye across the menu, remembering the Coke incident the last time I was here. By the hand of others and by the fickle hand of nature, this trip has been a blood sugar disaster from start to finish. Another salad? Bunless burger? Skinless burrito? A glass of water with lemon?

Screw it.

I turned to the waitress, I'll take the chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, eggs, toast, and hash browns. Oh, and bring me a chocolate malt too…

PS: as it is a new year I need to add:

Copyright 2009 on this post and all that follow this year. Who'd thought we'd all live to see 2009?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

First day

It is 1:37 in the morning and I’m eating huevos rancheros at home with the two people I love the most. It is a good start to the new year, and hopefully, a new era for us all.

We tried the party thing. For Christmas I bought Deb tickets to an expensive charity New Year’s Eve bash at a historic hotel in town. It was to benefit my counter-parts at a neighboring health center and the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program.

It was Black Tie & Blue Jeans (something we like to do in the West). I did both, as over the holidays that damn washing machine has shrunk all my blue jeans and I can’t get them buttoned and zipped without giving myself a hernia. Cargo pants didn’t seem the right choice for the event, so I settled on black jeans, black faux suede shirt, bolo tie from my Dad’s collection, and a grey sport coat with black elbow patches.

Deb was dressed and ready to go by the time the party was half over. Well, great beauty takes time. As it turns out we didn’t miss a thing.

We dropped Rio with both grandmothers (my Mom has taken over the house that we inherited from Deb’s Grandmother, so Rio’s two grandmas are in two halves of a Frankenstein-like duplex that evolved over many generations from a one room dirt-floor adobe to a 1950’s star-studded dinner club called El Ortiz). It is an archeologists’ worst nightmare with doors that go nowhere, steps that disappear into the ground, bizarre patterns on the wood floors that are the ghostly foot prints of walls moved as the needs of the building changed over the decades. My favorite: the quarter-circle of the bandstand can still be clearly seen on my Mom’s bedroom floor.

So back to this party that was supposed to have two bands, a buffet, palm readers, massages, a live auction and a silent one. Well, like the rest of 2008, there was some false advertising involved. The party was so lame that at 11:30 Deb snuggled up to me, rubbing her breasts into my side, kissed my ear and in a very sexy, husky, voice whispered, “just take me…. to Taco Bell.” I love it when she talks dirty to me.

Unfortunately Taco Bell closed early for the holiday. (When does Taco Bell ever close, for crying-out-loud?)

Defeated on all fronts we went back to Nanna/Grandma Jean’s house and all stood in my mother-in-law’s low ceilinged kitchen and compared non-synchronized watches to try to figure out if it was a new year yet or not. In the end, we used the Guardian as the official time and when it read 00:00 (military time) we hugged, kissed, and said thank God that 2008 is over with.

Everyone I know is stressed out and worn out. Some folks I know are suffering more than others. I think I’m doing better than most for the moment; but the sheer weight of our cultural stress and depression affects the very air I breathe.

But at this moment, with red chili warming my stomach, and cab over ice in a proper wine glass (at the party I paid the price of a full bottle for one “glass” in a flat bottomed clear plastic cup); everything feels right.

So to all of you: Happy New Year. And this year, I think it will be a happy year.

Copyright 2009