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 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?


Blogger Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

2011 is the year that will freak me out. I can't believe I'll be 40 that soon...

Ain't the D a b**ch sometimes? I spent the whole holiday break swinging back & forth too. Here's to better days!

9:55 AM  

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