Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Diabetes' Spring Break Adventure


Diabetes came on vacation with us last spring.  It was treated to a lovely 9 day jaunt through London and Paris.  We didn’t want to bring it, but given no choice, we packed its bag and dragged it along.

Its bag was the largest carry-on we had.  Crammed full of contraband items such as syringes, sharp lancets, juice boxes and liquid insulin, it was the one nobody wanted to carry.  After spending hours on the internet making sure diabetes' bag wouldn’t get confiscated, it successfully made it through security with nary a question.  Its host had a little more trouble.  She was wanded, and her insulin pump (technically diabetes’ luggage) was wiped for explosives, as were her hands.  The TSA decided she was not the most adorable 8 year old terrorist in history, so she was allowed to continue with us on our journey.

Throughout the day, we checked on diabetes frequently.  It did not seem to be appreciative of the unusual routine and foods concurrent with international airline travel.  Blood sugars were high, despite frequent checks, temporary basal rates, and corrections.  It didn’t even respond to calisthenics in the airplane bathroom.  It finally settled down once we were off the plane and walking through the airport. 

Until it fully realized that the time had changed.  “Why are you eating breakfast at 3 a.m.?”  “Why did you change all the pump’s basal rates to different times?”  “Why are you walking miles this morning when you should still be in bed?”  We refused to give in to its whining, except to keep testing more frequently and treating as needed.  Crazy high blood sugar was corrected at Buckingham Palace.  The guards didn’t flinch.  Piles of smarties were consumed on the floor (literally) of Notre Dame with one of the lowest numbers diabetes has treated us to yet.

Diabetes wasn’t thrilled with the strange foods either.  But it got them anyway.  Its pithy comments are in parenthesis.  We ate fish and chips, and croque monsieur (SO not low fat), crepes (lots of carbs for a thin pancake, eh?), traditional English breakfast (where’s my shredded wheat and strawberries?), lots and lots of sandwiches on white bread (have these people never heard of whole grains?), and chocolate mousse (we NEVER eat dessert for lunch).  But we counted (read: guessed) every carb with some accuracy, and walked it all off.  We plowed through vials of test strips, leaving DNA samples across two cities. There was an occasional rebellion, but for the most part we kept diabetes from completely flipping its lid, allowing its host to fully experience and enjoy the cities she visited.

It was pretty clear that diabetes didn’t enjoy its vacation.  It would very much prefer to stay home and stick to the same menu and routine every day. Frankly, bringing it along was no picnic for us, either.  But for the time being, it’s going to have to keep traveling with us. No matter what tricks it pulls, or how much it whines, we won’t let it stop us.

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