Yes – three weeks of conferencing and travelling and walking and eating and doing not much – and yet so much – have come to a jet-lagged conclusion and I find myself back writing, back at work and, most importantly, back with the kidlet. Which means all is wonderful and I am happy.
So, some diabetes highlights/lowlights from my travels.
This at Dubai airport. Double arrows down, a shitload of insulin on board and a grumpy face. Cleary, a lowlight!
And because I am #NotGoodAtDiabetes, I did it again in Copenhagen:
And in Stockholm.
Stopping in my tracks (and employing the brilliance of Google Translate) after seeing this newspaper on our last night in Stockholm.
Being so grateful for this sight in the press room at EASD in Stockholm…
… because I was low with #ConferenceHypoSyndrome.
Days doing this:
Which meant crazy days of barely needing to bolus as we walked, walked, walked and walked all over cities.
And days of walking meant carb stops of cinnamon buns flecked with cardamom and sprinkled with sugar in Stockholm. And in Copenhagen, no cardamom, but icing drizzled over their tops. And then, once in Paris, flaky, buttery pastries that left tell-tale crumbs down our shirts.
And coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
And ice cream because when in Paris, one must Berthillon!
In Paris, I came to an abrupt stop when I saw this:
I went in and spoke to the baker who told me that all the pastries were made using low sugar and low fat recipes. ‘Why?’ I asked him. ‘Why did you start this bakery?’ ‘My father has diabetes. And I do too.‘ He said. ‘And so do I,‘ I told him. We bought a croissant and I was expecting something dry and without the wonderful full flavour of a pastry whose main ingredient is butter and was surprised. It tasted delicious. He knew what he was doing! (Questionable marketing aside!)
There was the crappy night where I realised that my pump was out of insulin and, in my handbag changeover, I had forgotten to throw in my ‘spares bag’, so we needed to leave the jazz gig we had travelled halfway across Copenhagen to hear – before it even began – so that we could get back to the hotel and replenish my insulin stores. A complete #EffingDiabetes moment.
On our way from Copenhagen to Paris, I set off every possible alarm at security and was directed to a security officer. ‘I am wearing a medical device,’ I began, expecting the questions and the confusion and the necessary explanations. ‘An insulin pump? You have diabetes?’ was the reply. My stunned look was met with, ‘My husband wears one.’ And she smiled and sent me on my way.
But then in Dubai, as I was escorted to a sparse, windowless room, my ‘I have diabetes, I am wearing a medical device,’ was met with confusion and questions and the need to find a supervisor and, for the first time ever, a request for the letter from my doctor.
But here’s the thing. When I look back at this time away, it won’t be the hypos or the highs or the diabetes that I remember. It won’t be the times I had to stop to guzzle juice, or check my BGL. It won’t be the numbers or the alarms, warning me to eat something.
It will be the days spent catching up with DOC friends. It will be remembering how, with some of these friends, we made ‘riding the worm’ a thing in Sweden. It will be visiting the ABBA museum, and wandering around cemeteries. It will be afternoons being reacquainted with friends who live half a world away. It will be lounging on the grass at Place des Vosges, and sitting in cafes that we have visited before. It will be thinking about the amazing food – like the incredible beef tartar in Stockholm, and Berthillon’s blood orange sorbet. It will be about the waiter at a local café near our apartment in the Marais who didn’t so much as walk as shimmy and sing our breakfast order back to us. In French.
It will be about all those things. It will never, ever be the diabetes. Ever. And that is just the way it should be.