Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Too Low To Go

Sometimes if I'm in a rush in the morning, or if I have an extra 10 minutes or so, I skip eating breakfast at home and stop at the Starbucks or the little bakery shop on the way to work.

I drive the 20 minutes to my parking spot, then stop about halfway on my 10 minute walk to work for sustenance (small, decaf, skinny vanilla latte and a scone at Starbucks; cinnamon chip muffin and small non-fat milk carton like I used to get in grade school at the bakery). It's a little more carb than I usually eat in the morning, but I tend to run lower in the a.m. hours, so I just wind up having a small lunch.

Since today is the day before a holiday, there's a good chance the bosses will let us out a little early from work, and I won't have the opportunity to take a lunch break. So it's a good day to stop for a few extra carbs for the morning meal.

I always check my sugar when I wake up and it's usually in a pretty good range for me to just go, go, go without having to munch on something. This morning, though, I was under 60 and that's just a wee bit (read: a lot) too low for me to navigate Chicago morning rush hour traffic. So I'm eating a carb unit as I type (Pringles Baked Wheat Vanilla Stix: 90 calories, 4g fat, 12g carb) before I start the engines.

And I'm off, no longer too low to go, but just right for honking and shaking my finger at bad drivers (literally shaking my pointer finger, like your mom or grandma used to do to you; I find it gives better results than the lone bad finger).

As always, more to come (baked goods, to be exact)...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Question Of Cocktails

I was going to blog about World Diabetes Day, but really, all I have to report is I saw a couple blue lights, but not nearly enough considering I live in a city full of skyscrapers who can manage to light up with green and red for Christmas (BEFORE Thanksgiving, mind you). Suffice it to say I’ll be doing some letter writing before the next WDD…

So on to other, more pressing, more curious topics. Alcohol. Cocktails. Beer. Wine. Champagne. Ouzo. Vodka.

I did my fair share of drinking when I was in high school and college; I would say no more than the average teen and no less than the usual 20-something. When I was diagnosed with diabetes in my 30s, I was in the habit of being a social drinker—wine with dinner, a cocktail at the appropriate cocktail hour and beer with burgers at the bar. Occasionally I would misjudge (sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally) and I’d wind up tipsy, or even downright drunk. I never abused, but enjoyed. After all, they say a glass of red wine can even be healthy, like popping a vitamin (don’t ask me who “they” are. I’ve seen the news, I’ve read reports, and while posting a link would be the good-Samaritan thing to do, I’m hoping everyone out there has heard the same information so I don’t have to).

When I was diagnosed, I took the literature and pamphlets very seriously that said a little alcohol was okay once in a while, but no alcohol ever was better. I became alcohol-free as well as sugar-free all at once. Not even a good-bye champagne toast.

Well, just as I lightened up on the “no sugar ever” policy, I lightened up on the “no alcohol” policy. It started with just a drink on special occasions, then it went to maybe once a month, and now it’s about once a week. My usual choice is a vodka martini (dirty, with three olives, in case you’re curious), which basically has no carbohydrates. Sometimes I drink a beer, maybe two (Amstel Light is my preferred choice, but any light beer will do).

I don’t get drunk (that’s a lie; sometimes I do, but it’s more like the accidental once a month here and there, and less often more than more often). I do have more than one drink at a time, but generally no more than two. I watch my sugar when I’m drinking and I count the carbs in the drinks when they have them.

Even though I’m taking everything in to account, I still flash back to the “no drinking is best” idea I was originally handed. Am I messing something up by having a martini or a beer once a week? Do other diabetics drink? Have you had problems or complications because of it? What do your doctors say about it? Your diabetes educators? Any and all advice and comments are welcome. I just want someone else’s thoughts on the subject, since I’m so conflicted. In fact, I’m so conflicted, I may have to have a martini tonight…

As always, more to come (with three olives, please)…

Friday, November 14, 2008


It's World Diabetes Day today. Happy, happy to everyone who is taking note of it, and to all of you out there who are oblivious to it, but are about to be accosted by someone who knows why that building is lit up in blue.

I, too, am lit up in blue. I have on a blue tie (borrowed from husband) and a blue sweater (also borrowed from husband) and a blue-jean skirt.

When I went through my closet this morning, I realized my own wardrobe is sadly lacking in blue. All I could find was one thin little short-sleeve silk shirt that was not appropriate for November in Chicago.

Usually in the morning I'm worried about what my numbers are before exercising, what my numbers are after exercising, eating enough breakfast to last through the morning without over doing it so I can still eat lunch, packing said lunch and making sure there's enough carbs to keep me going, but not too many so I have to pause before dinner. And then there's filling my test kit with lancet drums, strips and alcohol swabs, and noting that I need to place an order for more supplies and knowing that despite my best intentions, it will take me several days to actually remember to do it. Do I have a granola bar in my bag in case of emergencies? How are my emergency supplies at work? Do I need to bring more? Where are my walking shoes, because I'm not supposed to walk that many blocks to work in my heels? All this and so much more.

But this morning, I have WDD to thank for a lovely change of pace. Today, I was thinking of colors, and not just numbers. And tonight, I'm watching to see what buildings in Chicago light up in blue, so I know which ones I'm going to write a letter to for next year's WDD.

As always, more to come...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

My mom quit smoking when I was really little. Years and years and years later, I remember her saying that sometimes she still dreamt about having a cigarette and could still taste it.

I'm a big snooze-alarm person, letting the buzzer go off every eight minutes for damn near an hour (I can only snooze for an hour before the alam shuts itself off; I know this from experience). While I appreciate the extra sleep time, one of the other things I appreciate is the mini dreams I have during these eight-minute segments.

During the actual course of the night, I'm sure I dream, but I'm so damn tired and so very deeply asleep, that I rarely remember anything about them. In the morning, however, I'm not so deeply under and I can have wild, vivid, fun, scary mini-movies. Sometimes I have three or four of them; sometimes they bleed into each other with barely visible threads.

This morning, I had an incredibly vivid dream about a beehive-shaped pastry. It was crunchy on the outside, like an overdone croissant, and it had a chocolate icing drizzled over the top. When I started eating it, bottom to top, I discovered it had a cinnamon swirl in it. I can still, 25 hours later, taste every single bite of it, feel it on my tongue, the weight of it in my stomach. It was buttery, and cinnamony and chocolately and just the right texture of melt-in-my-mouth and there's-enough-to-chew to satisfy every pastry desire I could ever have.

Yes, I indulge in the actual thing, but not as often as I used to pre-diabetes. Perhaps this dream was a gift from my subconscious, allowing me to have this delicious, carb-free ambrosia. Perhaps the universe is looking out for me. Maybe a dreamweaver living on another plane sent me this dream gift.

Then again... I should probably also mention that the dream included a slam contest with Keanu Reeves ("Well, you're like a bad toaster: burned out, smoky and way too crispy."), a girl covered in snot who was sleeping next to my husband on an old couch, and a transparent piece of paper I had to sign with my room number, which I could only remember ended in a "b."

As always, more to come (but no more Keanu; I really have no idea why he's in here)...

Monday, November 10, 2008

When The Planets Align

I wrote about my (early, early, early) low yesterday morning. While I don’t like to be low, sometimes the planets align just right and make a match I can’t argue with.

Somewhere in there I mentioned having risotto the night before. It was asparagus and shrimp risotto, from Carmine’s on Rush. Now, risotto and I don’t always get along, given the carb count, but it was an early dinner, and we were going to be doing some walking afterward, so I took a chance.

When the waiter brought the plate out, I thought I was going to choke. It. Was. Huge. It was also incredibly delicious, and I barely made a dent in the enormous amount—I couldn’t even pick out all the shrimp because I was so full. I had them wrap it up, thinking my husband would get a couple good lunches out of it this week.

And then the low hit on early Sunday morning. When I woke up at the more reasonable hour of 8:00, I was still low. So I had risotto for breakfast.

I did a little housework, did a test and—still fighting that low. So I had risotto for lunch.

If my sugars had been on track, the risotto would have been lost to me. But somehow, somewhere, Mars, Venus, Pluto and the moon wanted me to eat all that risotto for myself. And I did.

Is it weird to be happy for a low when there’s risotto—asparagus and shrimp risotto—in the fridge?

As always, more to come…

Sunday, November 9, 2008

D-Blog Day: EARLY

Today is the 4th Annual D-Blog Day, where bloggers who normally write about diabetes, all write on the same day. See?

I was definitely planning on participating. Just not quite this early.

It's 5:12 in the morning. On a Sunday. When I would normally be in bed for at least three more hours. But something woke me up. It woke me up an hour ago and I ignored it. When I woke up again, I put on my glasses and headed downstairs to test. A low. A definite, not-going-back-to-bed-just-quite-yet-low. I grabbed a juice box and sucked it down. I ate some granola-y type thing. And now I'm waiting for about 15 minutes or so to test again, to make sure everything took.

Did I mention it's 5:12 in the morning? Did I mention it's freezing outside, and freezing inside my house (my heat is turned way down low, because who's up at this hour?)? Did I mention I'm still tired and still want more sleep? Did I mention I had risotto for dinner last night, something that should have more than carbed me up to last through the night and well into the morning? I should have woken up at 8:30 with a respectable, non-low number. Instead, I'm up at 5:12 treating a low. Guess my body knew what it was doing when it woke me up.

Happy D-Blog Day to everyone. I'm going to test, and I'm going back to bed. See you on the flipside, when there's actual sun to type by.

As always, more to come...

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Little Things

…that annoy/disturb/perturb me as a diabetic:

*When I tear open an alcohol swab and rub it on my skin, only to discover there must have been a tiny hole somewhere, because the swab is completely dry.

*Opening a container of test strips and trying to pull out just one, but getting about 10 of them scattered across my kit, my lap, the front seat of my car…

*Blood droplets on the inside of almost every shirt I own, transferred from my preferred test site on my forearm.

*Bleeders. Sometimes I practically have to put my arm in a tourniquet to squeeze enough blood out to fill the meter. Other times, usually when I’m dressed up, wearing a white shirt, or in public, the blood just keeps coming and coming and coming. And I have no Kleenex. And I have to lick my arm. Multiple times.

*Getting that bubble of insulin when it pools up just under my skin before it absorbs. It feels weird and freaked the hell out of me the first time it happened. It still feels weird.

*Being really, really good and passing up something I’d truly like to eat because I think it will be too many carbs and I’ll be too high, only to discover an hour later that I’m obnoxiously low—and the opportunity to eat that fabulous thing is gone, gone, gone and I’m stuck with a Nutrigrain bar.

*Realizing two days too late that I should have ordered more supplies last week and having to ration.

*The smell of insulin.

*Trying to be subtle and test below the tablecloth, and dropping my lancet on the floor. Then having to crawl around to find it. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, never remember to just test on top of the table.

*The actual word “diabetes.” There are so many cool-sounding words in the English language. This isn’t one of them. How about diabetrix, like the Matrix?

As always, more to come (but maybe not so whiny next time)…

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Tippi Hedren Moment

(From the “& Stuff” portion of this blog.)

I was walking from my parking space to my office this morning, cutting through the park as I normally do.

My feet were on auto-pilot and my mind was lost in thought—how many carbs are there in that croissant waiting for me at work? Why did she send me that e-mail? I’ve got to buy leggings before the cold weather hits. I think I need to own a copy of Broadcast News. Who invented liquid soap and why?

So unaware of my surroundings was I that it took a flock of 20 pigeons taking off two feet from me before I was brought back to reality. One came within inches of my head, another brushed against my knee. I had to pause to avoid walking into them as they were ascending from the ground. My thought then? Tippi!

It takes a village to raise a child, it takes two to make a thing go right, it takes no more time to see the good side of life than it takes to see the bad, and it takes a flock of pigeons to get Lora out of her head.

As always, more to come…

Monday, November 3, 2008


Evidently, I’m going to hell, on insulin, with flabby muscles, completely alone.

At least, according to late-night television commercials.

I got sucked into a movie on a woman’s channel at around midnight on Saturday night. I’m assuming since I was the one watching, I was probably their target audience, and the commercials were skewed to me.

They had multiple commercials for diabetes meters, and one intriguing one geared toward Type 2 diabetics telling them it was okay to go on insulin if their current meds weren’t helping. It was a rather lengthy commerical for the time period—a good two minutes—and showed two people who said their lives were better for having gone on insulin. I wasn’t quick enough, or I was too tired or what have you (it was late, it was only an entertaining movie and not one that had my brain cells in overdrive), but I didn’t catch the tiny print to see if it was sponsored by an insulin company, or just a “health group.”

They had several Bowflex commercials that promised me a leaner, meaner body in only 20 minutes a day, five days a week. The people in those commercials are ripped—every muscle in their body defined and bulged out like a Ken doll on steroids.

Sandwiched between insulin and muscles were commercials from the Latter Day Saints offering me a free Bible and commercials for “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” personal alarm systems.

Based on this, I can only assume my initial statement above is true. I’m obviously already on insulin. I’m not ordering the free Bible. I don’t have a personal alarm system where a distinguished-looking gentlemen with white hair will ask, “Lora, your alarm went off. What can I do for you?” if something bad happens. And, although I do actually own a Bowflex, there’s not a remote chance that even if I did fourty minutes seven times a week that I would ever look like that girl in the bikini.

So, with my fate already decided, I guess I just have to sit back, relax, and watch more television. Or, try another time period on another channel and see what they have to tell me. Fortune by commercials.

As always, more to come (eventually from hell???)…