Riding The High-wire Without A Net…(A Long Read)

Obviously, this past weekend has been a bit of a journey for me… Saying final goodbyes to any family member leaves a lasting cloud over the occasion. I’ve always fancied myself as someone very organized and capable of thinking and planning ahead. Hell, I’ve travelled to Japan and Okinawa without any concern that i was prepared SPECIFICALLY because I can count on myself to be just that: prepared. This weekend taught me just how possible it is for someone to lose their edge when faced without something that divides their mind and spirit.

Our trip started with me leaving work early, last Thursday. This was necessary in order to drop off our sons in Kindersley to spend the following night with their grandparents while we travelled to Alberta for my uncle’s funeral. I left the office in a hurry once my meetings were done and once I was home, I found myself with about an hour of down time since Nathan wasn’t back from school yet. This turned out to be a mistake for a number of reasons. Over the years, I’ve come to discover that I usually function better under pressure. The hour of down time allowed for a small window of time for me to allow my thoughts to drift on the days to come and make a few mistakes…

We took to the road once Nathan was out of school, having picked up some McDonald’s drive-thru to appease the boys while simultaneously ensuring everyone was fed without delaying us at home. We made our way as far as Rosetown, which is only about an hour east from Kindersley. My pump started to vibrate, signalling that it needed a calibration. We pulled into a local coffee chain so that everyone could stretch and get some drinks for the remainder of the trip. That’s when I took my overnight bag apart and realized that during my “down time,” I left my fuckin’ glucometer in my work bag… Thus began the weekend…

I made my peace with the fact that I could feed the pump it’s own sensor readings using the graph to ensure some accuracy. This isn’t ideal and pump trainers will usually say it’s not recommended. But for lack of any other immediate options, it would do. I fed the pump the previous sensor reading and everything went gangbusters for the night as we slept at my wife’s parents’ house for the night. The following morning, we left for Red Deer, Alberta where I would be bidding final farewells to my uncle.

We had originally made arrangements to meet at my aunt’s house first, followed by going to chapel together. However, once we reached the outskirts of Red Deer, my pump vibrated an alarm indicating that my sensor had expired. Fucking lovely! All things considered, this wasn’t the worst situation I’d ever been in AND I just happened to have extras of everything in my bag EXCEPT a glucometer. Luckily, this is a non-prescription item so I was able to find a local pharmacy and pick up a cheap and outdated model of the current meter that uploads to my pump. this one would not, but it would take blood sugars readings to allow the calibration of the new sensor.

We checked into our hotel room and got ready for the service, all of which made us to late to go to my aunt’s first. Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And this is me, we’re talking about… So it should come as no surprise when the damn sensor failed. Despite our best attempts to get the transmitter to connect with then pump properly, the sensor just wasn’t having it. I thought it would be fine, since I had just purchased a new glucometer. I would simply run on manual mode for the weekend until I got back to Regina. THAT part at least, was no big deal…

We attended the chapel and sat through the memorial service, followed by a celebration of life and a meal afterwards. In honour of my uncle’s preference, everyone started with a dessert followed by their meal. It was a great tradition but it was very high-carb. This is why after saying goodbye to my aunt and cousins, we rushed back to the hotel room to test my blood. I had to do a double take to confirm that my glucometer wasn’t in it’s case. I took my overnight bag as well as my wife’s apart to ensure it hadn’t fallen out anywhere. I travelled our route from the car to the room backwards, checking to see if it had bee dropped somewhere. Nada!

I went back to the room and tried to collect my thoughts on what I should do next. It would be about 18 to 20 hours before we would be back in Saskatchewan and I needed either a sensor or a glucometer in order to maintain my blood sugars for that period of time. I really only had one choice: I had to find an open pharmacy that would have a glucometer for sale. Since it was about 9:30 pm, I managed to find a Shoppers Drug mart that was still open. In exchange for purchasing a box of the test strips I usually used at home, they provided me with a basic meter for free, which was all I really needed. I decided to buy a box of FreeStyle Libre, as well. Considering the luck I had been having, I figured having the “poor man’s CGM” in my tricep couldn’t hurt.

The following morning saw us enjoy a lovely breakfast with my family and then we got on the road back to Kindersley. When we were halfway to the Alberta/Saskatchewan border and stopped for fuel and coffee, my wife reaches between her seat and says, “Son of a bitch…” and reveals the first glucometer I had purchased when we reached Red Deer… Now, I own enough glucometers to open my own at-home Diabetes clinic. We made our way onto Kindersley and spent the night there with my wife’s parents. We took to the road for Regina around lunchtime the following day.

Our trip back to Regina was as one might expect; crying and restless kids followed by everyone napping while I drove. We chose take-out for supper, since we were pulling into home during dinner hour and had no idea what was available in our fridge. While eating, we gave Nathan a small Tupperware container that held a half-dozen chewable multi-vitamins. he was to take one, then return it to the kitchen, out of the baby’s reach. Ultimately, he left it sitting on the edge of the dining table, just mere inches away from the baby gate. Alexander (the baby) got a hold of it and ate the remaining vitamins before we realized he had it…

You know when you’re in an elevator that goers down when you thought it’d be going up? That’s kind of the feeling I got when Laura told me what had happened. In an immediate state of analyzation, I grabbed the vitamin bottle and started looking at the ingredients and the instructions in the event a child consumed the bottle. I contacted Saskatchewan Poison Control and provided them with all the information. they were able to calculate that the effect would be minimal, including bright, fluorescent pee and dark, almost black bowel movements. Otherwise, he might have a bit of a sore tummy but would be otherwise fine and suggested we feed him a snack to help absorb the excess iron he ingested.

That was the icing on an otherwise bitter cupcake on a bullshit of a weekend. Not only did my uncle pass away, my eldest son left something out that could have potentially been toxic and deadly to his baby brother. yes, we should have been watching. To our credit and his, he DID put them on the dining room table outside of the baby gate. Little did we know that our little Alexander had long enough arms to reach them. Live and learn. Alex turned out to be fine, but it prompted a very in-depth conversation with Nathan about the perils of leaving things in his little brother’s reach. It’s surprising how the little details can lead to big problems. We got lucky this time, but live and learn… ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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