BIG TREES, BAD CARTRIDGES, AND THE ABILITY TO MOVE ON

Chris and I returned yesterday from camping at Sequoia National Park. We had a blast kicking back, cooking on a camp fire, hiking, and seeing some of the sights that caused the area to gain national park status. In terms of diabetes, there were some s’mores-induced highs and a few hiking-induced lows, but overall we managed pretty well. But that doesn’t mean it was always smooth. 

First of all, our campground provided bear boxes at every campsite into which all scented items must be stored. All food, all beverages (even if unopened), all toiletries, and even kids carseats needed to be stored in the bear box. This is to protect both you and your vehicle from the many black bears. This means no food, no juice, nothing could be kept in our tent at night in case of an overnight low. Each night we needed to remember to take the snacks we’d kept in our daypacks and move them to the bear box. This is not a particularly difficult task, but it is another layer of diabetes-related thinking that needed to be done.

We hiked each of the full days we were there. We didn’t go on particularly long or strenuous trails, but we were around 7,000 feet elevation, which had a pretty strong impact on me. And each time we hiked, we both went low. I should have remembered to cut my basal rate, while Chris nixed his long-acting insulin completely and did quite well without it. Even so, the low blood sugar happened to each of us, so we would find a shaded rock or bench to sit on, have a snack, and keep moving on.

Toward the end of the trip, my insulin pump started whining an alarm. A problem with the cartridge! All insulin suspended! Must replace the cartridge! Okay, so I replaced the cartridge, refilled the tubing, reconnected the pump and kept moving on. Even when it started to wail again a few hours later, I took out the fresh cartridge, did a full cartridge and site change, and kept moving on.

I have also noticed that this is my approach to most monuments and sights, including the big trees of Sequoia. I look, I might snap a photo, and them I move on. For some reason, I don’t feel the urge to stop and ponder what’s in front of me (I probably assume that the reflection will take place in its own time. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t). My sister often jokes that this is why she likes going to museums with me – I go through them so quickly, there isn’t an opportunity to get bored. I’m usually interested in what I am seeing, but I just don’t feel the need to stand there, gaping. So when it came to seeing the majestic sequoia trees, it was the same. I looked, then I kept moving on.

In many ways, I think this is how I go through my life. I’m not sure it’s a good thing, now would I say it’s a bad thing. It has simply been my approach with some of the bigger things in life – the day I was diagnosed with diabetes and the ups and downs that have happened ever since. So now that you’ve read this post, I invite you to possibly comment on it or even share it, but in the end, just keep moving on.