14 July, 2011

Kayaking Cures

I took some time off from writing (publicly at least) because I had misplaced my positive mindset for quite awhile. While I know some find it therapeutic to share when they are down, I find it even more so to share when I'm upbeat - that way when I look back and reread, I have some of my own thoughts to keep me going in the positive direction. I apologize for the hiatus, but even more so for the nerdy 'betes and kayak jargon that fills this post - its summertime, so that's really all I've got going on :)

Tuesday night I went out on the Potomac to practice my paddling skills, and was excited that we would be spending more time on moving water than we normally do. The two practices I had gone to prior to this one both had their diabetes moments, and I was sure that this one would too. At each of the earlier practices, other kayakers had noticed my pump - the first asking me if it was a fancy waterproof cell phone, and the second (in the medical field and use to work in an endo's office) asking if they finally made waterproof pumps. The first experience made me laugh a little, but gave me a chance to give a quick diabetes info session. The second made me happy just because someone knew what it was - I love that feeling when someone gets it!

So, I checked my pump before I left to make sure I had enough insulin - 6 units remaining, but plenty to get through a few hours of kayaking in the evening (my basal rates are really low at this time of day, plus I knew I'd be cranking down the temp basal anyway). I checked my blood sugar - just over 200 - a tad on the high side, but I only give myself a quarter of my correction, knowing I'll be burning up glucose like crazy on the river. You might wonder why I don't just take my pump completely, since I use so little insulin then anyway. I've done this before, but I really prefer to keep it on during exercise so I have the benefit of the tiny doses of insulin so my body can access and burn up the carbs that I take in. I tossed a spare set of everything in my bag knowing that after 3+ days and 3 hrs of kayaking, my infusion set probably wasn't going to be too keen on staying adhered. Got my gear, made sure my rash guard was tucked in over my site to protect it, put on my spray skirt, pfd, and carried the rest of my gear down to the river.

I had just started using an otterbox the week before (I figured it might be good for me to have a spare meter with me when I'm out for longer paddles), so I stashed that in the back of my boat before hoping on the water. We practiced rolling on flat water, and then headed upstream to play in the chutes. We paddled upstream for awhile, and then stopped to rest for a bit - this is when I felt around and noticed that my infusion set had come out completely. So, knowing I didn't have many options, I pulled that sucker off the rest of the way and shoved the whole thing in my pocket. We were 30 minutes in to our 3 hours on the river.

For the next hour we practiced rolling our kayaks in the rapids - normally rolling is a great way to cool off - but with air temps at 100, and water temps over 85, it wasn't much of a relief - but it was great fun! We did a bunch of ferrying drills, and practiced some peel outs, and generally exhausted every muscle in our bodies. I took a break for a few - feeling worn out, but also feeling like my lips and mouth couldn't possibly be more dry. I wanted to drink the whole potomac, except that I'd likely grow a third eye, or suffer from hormone overdose. So now I'm thinking about how I was 200 before getting on the water, and that I've been disconnected for at least an hour, but likely longer, and I haven't felt this thirsty since I was in the hospital. I sip some water from my now warm bottle that has been sloshing around in my boat, and I decide its time to play in the waves a little more. So I pretend to be brave for awhile, and ferry back and forth across some of the more tame waves while watching some guys in playboats do some pretty wicked tricks.

Our instructor asks if everyone is down for staying out later tonight - and I find myself nodding with the rest of the crew, despite thinking in the back of my head that I really need to hook myself back up to an insulin source soon. Since we've all agreed to stay, I jump back in to practicing, and we go back to spotting each other for more rolling practice. I finally force myself to take a rest, thinking that I'm likely in the 300s, which isn't the greatest time for vigorous exercise. I dig my otterbox out of the stern of my boat, nearly flipping myself over since my muscles are kind of shaky and unstable at this point. I open the box, dry off my fingers with the tiny towel I keep inside, and I fish a test strip out of the container and shove it in my backup meter (thank goodness the aviva strips are bigger than the ones I use on my regular one-touch - so much easier to handle out on the water). Prick, wait 5 seconds, and up pops a 99! Can't get much more perfect than that! So, disconnected for at least two hours at this point, but my blood sugar hits the mark spot on - glad that site got ripped out, otherwise I would have ended up quite low. I guess the exercise and adrenaline cancelled out perfectly - pretty sure this is a sign that if I just stay out on the water all the time I'll be cured! I even got to down some juice when I got out of the water and keep my pump off til after my shower without going too high. I was clearly meant to be a fish - with a working pancreas :)

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