Diabetes Self-Management Blog

My continuous glucose monitor (CGM) woke me up with its three sharp beeps. I turned on the backlight and saw that my blood glucose was low. Groping for the light switch on the lamp, I wondered what I would treat it with. When I managed to turn on the light, I saw an orange I had snatched on the way in and — look at this! — four pieces of hard candy on the nightstand. (Of course I forgot about the glucose tabs in my purse!)

It’s a good thing I had something to treat lows in the room, because I couldn’t go out to get anything: I was alone, I was in a hotel room, and I had nothing to wear but a blanket.

Welcome to my world. I had already been through several days of mishaps that occurred so often it became funny.

Last week, I told you about the great mobility scooter adventure. While that was “fun” in itself, the trip became even more “funner” as it went on.

Before leaving home, I’d joked that I was going to give myself IV antibiotics during a Broadway show. Honest, it was a joke! However, I slept through a dose and, since you can only move the timing of a dose one hour (forward or backward) at a time, guess when I was scheduled to take my medicine. Correct! Right in the middle of a Broadway show!

I ran the tubing attached to the PICC line up my sleeve, down the inside of my shirt, and slipped the bottle into my pocket before leaving the hotel. At the proper time, I reached inside the top of my shirt to open the line. Where was that line? Further down my shirt? Down into my sleeve? It’s gotta be here somewh…. Ah! There it is!

The woman sitting on that side of me failed to return to the seat after intermission. I have no idea why: It was a good seat.

One night was fun for sure. No quotation marks. Grandson and I met Diabetes Self-Management Editor Ingrid Strauch and Web Editor Diane Fennell for dinner at an Asian restaurant with an eclectic menu. It can be an experience picking a restaurant that addresses the needs of somebody who is on a gluten-free diet, somebody who is a vegetarian, somebody with diabetes and, in this case, someone who is a teenager. This place did it very well. I learned something else, too: The restaurant was just across the street from Carnegie Hall, so I found out you don’t really have to practice to get there: You can ride your scooter.

I get to have dinner with any number of the “gang” from DSM when we’re in the same place, like for a conference. Ingrid and Diane are people I’ve known for awhile, so it’s a comfortable group. It was good to just sit and relax with friends.

And it had been somewhat of a hectic day up until then. Grandson and I had tickets to a matinee performance of The Phantom of the Opera and were to meet there. I was shopping when I casually asked somebody what time it was. And I gasped when she told me and I realized it was less than 15 minutes to curtain! I called Grandson, who’d come to the same realization and was putting on his shoes.

I checked out in a hurry and went careening down the sidewalk on my scooter, yelling: “I’m late! I’m late!” We fell into our seats just as the house lights dimmed. It was my fifth time seeing it and Grandson’s first time to see the live performance. I could go another 100 times.

The next day was Thursday and we had to go home. I’d call getting out of town the highlight of the trip.

First of all, I had to leave the rental scooter at the hotel and put up with a wheelchair at the airport. My broken scooter would fly home with me to head for the repair shop. Since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) won’t allow scooters to be left or picked up at the airport, I asked the scooter place I use in Indianapolis to leave a rental at my friend Sandy’s house and pick mine up from there the next day. Then I figured maybe I should call Sandy to tell her what I’d arranged. (Sometimes I think she just shakes her head at me, hopelessly.)

Wheelchair. Yes. I don’t like them. I like my freedom. I don’t want to ask “May I please go to the bathroom?” or “Can we stop at that store there?” Bathroom I’ll ask about, but I’ve never gotten up the courage to ask about stopping at a store — or at a snack stand.

In the meantime, Grandson was having his own problems. He had four carry-on bags to handle and couldn’t seem to get a luggage cart. He put $5 in and it got eaten. He put another $5 in…and it got eaten. No luggage cart. Then we got to security and TSA told him his ID was unacceptable.

As it happens, Indiana has gone from issuing IDs while you’re at the license bureau to giving you a temporary ID and mailing your permanent one.

“But they took it at the other airport when we came here,” he said.

“This,” said the TSA agent, drawing herself up, “is New York City.”

Finally, with some consultation among three agents, they accepted the temporary ID, a school ID card, and his medical coverage card, but said he’d have to undergo additional screening. (Then they tell me he could have used his expired passport for ID on domestic flights!)

The extra check, he said, “was OK, but I got a little worried when I saw the guy putting on rubber gloves.” (No, they didn’t: Just being hygienic.)

Ahhh…we were going home. But wait. Not quite yet. There was a mechanical problem with our plane so they were sending another. I had timed it so I could run IV after the plane landed. Well, it didn’t even take off until after it was supposed to land. I ran IV on the plane. I also cut my thumb on an overhead bin on the plane and couldn’t get a bandage because it was in the first aid kit and that was for emergencies. I guess I will have to add bandages to my long list of carry-ons in the future. (Harrumph! I thought bleeding on my new shirt an emergency!)

In the meantime, I sat in a wheelchair at the gate for about four hours. While shops and snack stands were tantalizingly in sight just down the hallway. Apparently, only the attendant was allowed to touch the wheelchair.

Home again — finally. And all was well. Until…

Husband, Granddaughter, and I were returning home after attending a Shlock Rock concert in Indianapolis. I had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at a fast-food place at one of the exits. We stopped very abruptly. Husband was turning his head to tell Granddaughter to get my walker when the van jumped the curb around a landscaping area and landed with its front end on top of a boulder. That sucker wasn’t goin’ nowhere.

But I still had to go to the bathroom. So I slid down from the van, grabbed the wheeled walker I keep in the van and started toward the restaurant. Hey! I took three whole steps before the walker flew up and I flew down, falling on my stomach on the rainy, muddy asphalt. Well, I landed on my left knee, too. Which looks like a psychedelic Easter egg. Then I turned over to sit up. In a mud puddle. In the pouring rain.

All of us couldn’t fit into the tow truck to get back home, so Husband and Granddaughter climbed in and I checked into a hotel. Where I stripped off my soaked, muddy clothes, took a long, hot shower, wrapped myself in a blanket, and crawled into bed.

Oh, well. Who wants a boring life, anyway?

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Comments
  1. At least you get out. I’m chained to a medicine cabinet.

    Posted by Harry......................... |
  2. Thanks, Jan for sharing your adventurous life. I always enjoy reading your posts. I had a good laugh.

    Posted by Kathy |
  3. How big is your medicine chest, Harry? I just take mine with me. It seems to require a larger carry-on bag each time! When I went to NYC, I took my pills; my diabetes, pump, and continuous glucose monitor supplies (plus extras, “just in case”); bottles of IV antibiotics; a mountain of syringes filled with saline to flush the IV lines; packets of alcohol wipes… Oh, and my scooter, of course. If I were going this week, I’d have to add a nebulizer and meds for my breathing treatments.

    Go a couple of days to a place that’s not far from home and see how you do — and then go from there. None of us should be weighed down by the things we use to treat our various and sundry conditions. (On the other hand, I tend to jump in first and check the depth later!)

    Jan

    Posted by Jan Chait |
  4. Wow, Jan! I am very glad you survived. That ordeal required great chutzpah. I am in awe.

    Posted by Eliz Ferguson |

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