Tag Archives: diabetes stories

Traveling with Diabetes


I’ve travelled several times each month this year and it’s given me some lessons:

I’ve learned that I get motion sickness on planes and cannot travel without taking Dramamine.  I tried to forego it once and that one time we just so happened to have a bumpy ride.  It is not fun to worry about dropping blood sugars while throwing up and being jostled about in the tiny plane lavatory. 

Taking all the airport stairs and skipping the moving sidewalks (is that what they’re called?) is a good way to combat all the sitting involved in travel.

Staff on planes are always happy.  I still haven’t met one that isn’t, which is freaky, but if I’m feeling low, so far they are quick to grab juice if I need it and want to conserve my glucose tablet stash for later.

The food situation when in an airport is mighty tricky.  Temptation abounds and yet the easiest way I’ve found to travel is to keep it real low carb because if things get hectic, and lately in airports, they always seem to, low carb often saves me amidst skipped blood sugar checks.

Given how close one’s next seat neighbor is in coach, I find it remarkable how injecting insulin in front of that neighbor has never been an awkward experience.  In fact, it’s a great conversation starter and I’ve literally written down each starting line for your own amusement:

“Wow, those needles are tiny, I’m so glad for you.”

“So you have diabetes, huh?”

“OMG, do you need sugar?”

“Ok, what do I do if you pass out on this flight?”

“Wow, in and out, just like that, eh?  It takes me longer to sneeze.”

“How long have you had it?”

And my personal favorite:  “Does it hurt? I’m sorry, of course it hurts, what was I thinking? That was such a stupid thing to say, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to say that, I just figured that it hurts but maybe it doesn’t or maybe you’re used to it, is that it, are you used to it? Wait…I take that back, I get migraines and I seriously doubt I’ll ever get used to them.  Just forget I said that, ok?”  5 seconds later:  “So, where ya headed?”


The Polls in VA Weren’t So Bad


I went to vote yesterday afternoon after my husband got home.  I was expecting to be in and out like last time around but was pleasantly surprised to see loads of people in front of me leaving me almost outside the entrance to the building.

I knew my blood sugar was around 70-80 and felt confident going in that I’d be fine to go vote and then get something to eat.  But of course when I saw all those people, I gulped thinking, “Can I make it?”  I searched my purse but didn’t have anything thanks to two little munchkins who think glucose tablets are candy.

I thought, “Well, I’m not low yet, I should be fine.”  After an hour and 15 minutes I realized I was too low to think straight and I did the irresponsible thing and argued with myself about whether it was worse to pass out in front of so many people and miss my chance to vote or walk out of the line I stood in for a long time and appear to be giving up on my voting to everyone around me.  I don’t normally care what people think but this election has me emotional and my low had me irrational so those were my thoughts.

Finally, I turned to the two ladies behind me whom I was chit-chatting with and casually mentioned, as if it were amusing, that my blood sugar was low and I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the voting booth still standing.  They looked at me and one said, “Oh, you have hypoglycemia, too?  I get low, too”.  I clarified, “I have type 1 diabetes but yes I get low and eventually go unconscious if I don’t get sugar in me.  The women looked at me with concern and one went over to the volunteer desk where people signed in and asked for some sugar and explained it was for a diabetic who needed it.

The lady at the desk looked at her huge container of juice and said, “That’s mine, we don’t have anything else.”  Another lady said, “Sorry, I don’t have anything.”  And they both went back to business.  I started feeling panicky, reluctant to make a scene and start asking people if they had Halloween candy in their purses.  I live in Virginia in a town that is divided 50/50 in this election and you could seriously feel the tension in the air.  It made me feel the opposite of warm and fuzzy and I didn’t want to ask anything of anyone.

But, I was starting to get really foggy.  All I could think was, “Sysy, you idiot, get sugar!  It’s important!” But what is it about when we’re low?  Suddenly important things become the things we hesitate about the most.

The line moved along and we ended up near the entrance to the church’s kitchen.  The three women behind me gently pushed me in there and helped me get some juice and a man ran over to me and gave me the chocolate chip cookie that he had just retrieved from his car.  I wasn’t even aware others knew about my situation.

Eyes were on me and people encouraged me to “drink and eat!” so that they wouldn’t see me hit the floor.  My blood sugar must have been really low at this point because everything was numb, especially my tongue.

After a few minutes I felt better and nervously laughed and said, “And they say people don’t help each other out anymore…”

Random comments from all around like “That’s right”, “We don’t have to agree to be united”, “People are people”, and “We’re just glad you’re ok” echoed around me and suddenly, the room didn’t feel like such a divided place.

A woman across the line said to me, “We don’t need to agree on what President to have to support each other.”

And I hate to admit it because of my cheese intolerance but that felt real warm and fuzzy.

Uncommon Find at the Dentist and Uncommon Thieves at the Park

Just an old photo we took of our ball- courtesy of Idea Go


I’ve been having this toothache for a few months.  Right now, for the first time in my life I don’t have dental insurance.  So the first thing I did was ignore the pain.  I thought, “Maybe it will go away”.  Then it got worse.  Then I got curious about it’s whereabouts and started poking and prodding and flossing around to figure out the pain’s exact place of origin.  I found it along with a high pitched yelp I didn’t know I had in me.  The pain felt like nerve pain, which I have been acquainted with in the past.  I assumed I must have a cavity or a filling had fallen out.

I made an appointment which I had yesterday and Alex stayed home from work to be with the kids.  I got x-rays done and my dentist says, “I don’t see anything, let’s compare with your last x-ray from 2 years ago.”  Then he studies the x-rays for a while and says “ahh this is interesting…very interesting”.  My adrenalin starts pumping from worry and suspense and he asks his assistant to come look and see if she notices anything odd.  She doesn’t and then he points out that the space inside my tooth has shrunken substantially.

I immediately go into what I call “Sysy land” otherwise known as my automatic inclination to be a medical detective (skilled or not).  I think, “Ok, maybe the tooth grinding at night has been pushing down on my molar?”  “Nope…unlikely…teeth don’t compact do they?  Ooh!  Maybe that was the one tooth I’ve had filled and it was done inadequately and infection has been eating up my tooth…wait…the space has shrunk, not gotten bigger…”  I was stumped.  Just as I was about to wonder if I had cancer in my tooth (ah, how fear trumps logic) the doctor finally put me out of my misery and explained that he rarely sees this but it seems to be some nerve inflammation going on deep inside the tooth.  He thought it was interesting, I thought it was probably expensive.

He said he’d have to take out the filling and put in a temporary medicated one.  If in a few months that doesn’t work, I’ll need my first root canal.  I don’t care how much it hurts, I simply can’t afford a root canal.  So let’s hope the filling works.  I’ll still need a permanent filling put in but I’m pretty sure that’s cheaper than a root canal.  I took some glucose tablets before he proceeded because I wasn’t expecting the unexpected.  He had to numb me twice and there should have been a third attempt because I was still feeling the drill but honestly, I just wanted to get it all over with.  I was prescribed an antibiotic for 10 days and to take two regular aspirin every four hours for a week.

I paid over 100 bucks for this and left thinking, “Noooo my poor wallet…”  Then I stopped the pity party.  Wait.  I used to make as much as my husband.  I could get a job and make that again.  I could have more money and dental insurance and I could put the kids in daycare.  I choose not to put the kids in daycare and am grateful for that opportunity.  I don’t think one way is better than the other, but feel for those who have to have it one way or another because they have no other alternative, no choice.  So this is the trade off.  And I just gotta deal with it.  These next few weeks I’m going to have to simply incorporate some serious money saving plans.  It will work out.

I wasn’t the only one experiencing something uncommon yesterday.  While I was at the dentist my husband was at the park with the kids.  He was kicking our soccer ball around and left it a hundred feet away when the kids migrated away from it.  No one else was at the park and he was close enough to the ball and he had on soccer cleats.  Suddenly a car drives by and stops in front of the ball.  A young kid jumps out, runs to the ball, doesn’t seem to care that my husband is like, “Hey that’s my ball!” and she and her mom drive swiftly out of there with OUR ball.  Alex can’t run after them with our two small children in his care so off they go.  LOL Can you believe that?  I couldn’t help but laugh about his encounter with drive-by thieves.  How often does that happen?  I bet they don’t know we can’t replace it.

Apparently yesterday was all about beating the odds (rolls eyes).