We spend most holidays with the Lawyer and his family. Thanksgiving is no different. Thanksgiving, like most holidays, is not exactly diabetic friendly. Every holiday is diabetic friendly, when the diabetic has self control. At around 8, I woke up and started trying to get things ready. The Soprano told me there were going to be 10-15 people at Thanksgiving this year and dinner needed to start at 1 sharp. Mamma doesn’t sharp on Saturday. She has always been more of a night person. Basically, I knew I had to get everything possible done before she woke up. Then, I would have to push with all my might to keep her moving in the direction of the door.
As with all roads in my life, there are many detours. I started with making breakfast. No you didn’t. Right, no milk. I started with going to the grocery store to get some milk. And paper plates, napkins, beer, snacks, and Claritin. I also picked up some paper plates, beer, snacks, and Claritin. Don’t forget the napkins. Finally, got back to the house and fixed Tata a bowl of cereal. Started making coffee for Mamma. You forgot the napkins. I had breakfast, Tata had breakfast, Squishy had breakfast, and Mamma had coffee. All teeth brushed and a couple of showers, and we are pushing towards the door. How many times did you say that before leaving?
Then we have a car ride to Baltimore. Squishy was out like a light, Tata was a sleep shortly there after, and Mamma was the opposite. Ever since she started going to school, she has been talking up a storm. She has so much to talk about. She talked my ear off on the way to Baltimore. It’s nice that she has something to talk about now. She spent far too long by herself. I cannot begin to explain how nice it is that she finally has friends besides Tata.
We actually made it to Baltimore before 1 PM. That is truly amazing because we are always late when we go visit. When we arrived, we brought everything inside and let the Soprano know that I still needed to get the ice cream. And the napkins! She asked that I pick up a table cloth as well. Mamma added a cherry pie to the list. Ran the grocery store where I received 2 more phone calls from the Soprano asking for Kraft Light Miracle Whip and French’s French Fried Onions. I don’t know about you, but I hate grocery stores. None of them are organized the way you would expect, because none of them are the same. Generally, the vegetables are on one end and you can find the freezers because they stand out like a sore thumb. The baker, the butcher, and the candle stick maker the florist are along the outside wall. Everything else is in the middle… somewhere.
I get lost in grocery stores. I’ll walk in with a specific list and then get distracted somewhere between ice cream and tomatoes. I keep thinking there is something I am forgetting. There is something that was supposed to be on my list or something that I noticed we were out of this morning that I have forgotten. That is the point where the brain should realize that you are in trouble. This is the point where you decide that you will walk up and down every aisle in the grocery store in order to spot the item you are forgetting so that you can remember it. This should set off every alarm in your body letting you know that you should be quickly heading to the door. It is not just grocery stores either. Ever do it Wal-Mart? Target? CVS? I go where ever you go.
When I finally returned from the grocery store, the 10 to 15 guests turned out to be 5. The four of us and the one of someone else. Thankfully you remembered the napkins on the second trip to the grocery store. Apparently, she brought napkins too.
As always, the Lawyer cooked a fantastic meal. It is a tradition in our family, as in many others, to eat way more than possible at Thanksgiving. By the end of the meal, we were all ready for sweatpants, naps, and sports. You sleep, the Lawyer watches the sports?
All fairly normal. Many people probably have a similar thanksgiving story to tell. But what if I go back and enter the diabetes. Remember the part where I had just gotten up and was going to fix Tata cereal only there wasn’t any milk? Before I realized there wasn’t Milk, I tested my blood. I took enough insulin for my bowl of cereal and poured two bowls of cereal before realizing there wasn’t any milk. This is the point where I threw my clothes on and stuffed my pockets with candy just in case I didn’t get home and start eating before my blood sugar started crashing because I was taking insulin for food I wasn’t eating.
Then, I cannot say that all diabetics are affected the same way when it comes to low blood sugar, but when my blood sugar is low, everything starts to get really fuzzy. I forget what I am doing. Small tasks become very difficult. Just getting a can of French’s French Fried Onions and heading to the cash register can seem like a very challenging feat. I don’t know why and looking back, I can never tell what exactly made the task so difficult. There is always this sudden urge of helplessness. I always wonder, if someone saw me at that point, would I look lost. Am I just standing in the aisle, staring at the florescent lights above me?
Next, lets eat dinner. I’m on what is called a sliding scale of insulin. I take insulin in ratio with the number of carbohydrates I eat. Ever try to count Thanksgiving dinner. When it is made by Stouffer’s it easy to count. Ours was homemade by the Lawyer. We had turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, biscuits, chocolate cake, apple pie, cherry pie, and I know there was more. How much am I going to eat? Will I have seconds? Will I have thirds? Let’s start guessing. Then, I spend the afternoon guessing at carbohydrates, taking insulin, and eating.
Finally, about 2 hours after dinner, I found out how wrong I was. My blood sugar was 292, and I needed take a little extra insulin before driving home. When we get home, I expect my blood sugar would be back down to normal. I check my blood one last time before taking my lente insulin and heading to bed. My blood sugar was 386. That was not expected. So I take some more insulin. Take my lente insulin and get ready for bed. To end the day off right, I forget to check again before falling asleep.
Holidays are hard. I remember that Christmas and Thanksgiving were always my favorite food days. I could eat nonstop all night long and the food was always so spectacular. It is just not that easy any more. I spend the evening trying to keep track of numbers. It is like a childhood nightmare where the math teacher came to Thanksgiving dinner and is asking you multiplication tables while you are trying to eat your mashed potatoes. The alternative, which I have used at a number of other holiday events over the years, is do nothing and fix it later. That is also not a great idea. Because fix it later, usually means trying to get the “HI” back down to a number. For those that don’t know, “HI” is what many of my meters say when my blood sugar is higher than the range of the meter. It just isn’t the same holiday when you have to keep track of what you are eating. I liked it better when it was eat first and ask questions later.