Traveling… And some D Stuff too.

Full Disclosure: This is primarily a non-D post, with a couple of D stories included.

The Great Spousal Unit and I traveled to Virginia so I could attend an open house where they’re working on the Artificial Pancreas at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a great opportunity for me. For Maureen, that meant the chance to spend a couple of extra days in one of the prettiest parts of the country. She has a some family there, and there are about 15-20 vineyards between Charlottesville and Staunton (pronounced Stanton), about 45 miles to the west.

So We stayed in Waynesboro, where Maureen’s cousin lives with his family (about 30 miles west of Charlottesville). I wouldn’t normally mention something like this, but we stayed in the absolute best Holiday Inn Express for three nights there. People were friendly, everything was clean. Even the morning breakfast bar was good.

So where was I? Well, let me start with a D story, kind of. This is when I went for my visit at UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology. Shortly after I arrived, a couple of the other guests arrived… one with a diabetes alert dog. I had never seen an alert dog before, and I was very curious. Plus, I’m a dog person. Almost as soon as they arrived, the dog started alerting its owner. I found out it was a high alert (I only thought they gave low alerts, but no). While we were talking, the dog kept alerting. The owner did a quick BG check, and she wasn’t high. She did mention that her dog would probably have trouble since she’d be at a gathering with a lot of Type 1s. Well, the dog just wouldn’t quit with the high alerts. Then it hit me: I had just eaten lunch before I arrived. I thought… maybe I was the reason for the high alert. So I excused myself from the conversation to go get some water, and I walked to the other end of the hallway. And the dog stopped. I tried to make sure that I wasn’t near her dog the rest of the visit. This person probably thought that I was not friendly, and I feel bad about that. But I wanted to make sure that if her dog gave an alert, it was for the right reasons, and not because I had a few french fries with lunch.

Now on to the travel. It wasn’t all wineries. We spent most of a day in Staunton, birthplace of Woodrow Wilson. Staunton is a beautiful small town with a lot of history. We shopped in the stores downtown, had lunch at Gypsy Hill Park, and got a milk shake at a little drive-in that’s been there for 60 years. We also managed to get in a vineyard visit before heading off to dinner. I really needed these two extra days off. Days like this help me take some of the stress off and recharge the batteries.

The next day was spent touring wineries. We’ve toured Virginia wineries before, many of them in this part of the state, and this was a great day to do it. Virginia has spent a lot of money subsidizing wineries in the state in the last few years, and it shows. There really is something to be said for going to the source and hearing from the people who are directly involved in making the product. And wine tastings ain’t a bad way to spend the day. Well, Maureen got to do the wine tasting, and I got to drive around a lot. But it was fun, and she deserved to get some extra attention for a while.

The fun part of the tour that day involved the Concrete Egg. You read that right: Concrete Egg. One of the new wineries we visited was Stinson Vineyards. We were told they are one of four Virginia wineries aging some of their wines in a 2,700 pound concrete egg. It’s for white wines primarily, and while aging, the wine actually brings in the minerals from the concrete. But in a good way. Gives it a unique taste. Think the difference between tap water and mineral water. They were very welcoming at Stinson, and they let us go back and check out the egg… they were quite proud of it. Stinson is a newer winery in the Charlottesville area, and it looks like they’re doing everything right. And the owner, and everyone we came into contact with there, was a woman. Girl Power in a winery.

My final story is another D story: After dinner Saturday night, it was time for a set change. I pulled out the set I had been using, and went to get everything together to put in a new one. It was only then that I realized that I had forgotten my Quick-Serter… the spring-loaded thing that shoots the cannula into my skin. What to do? I had three choices:

1) Drive the 3 1/2 hours home, immediately
2) Go the MDI route, with only fast-acting insulin available
3) Manually insert the cannula

I had never done a manual insert before, but I had read from others who had done it. I wanted to give it a try. The next set was due to go right in my belly, so I got everything together, and took a deep breath. Do you know that it’s hard to do the Quick-Set manually? I must have tried to shove it in about 8 or 9 times. I didn’t expect the needle to be so dull, but it was. Eventually, I had to get over a little bit of squeamishness, and the site of some extra blood from failed attempts, and I finally got it shoved in there. Literally had to push the thing in there, hard.

But it worked! And it lasted for 5 days. Not something I want to do all of the time, but it’s nice to know I can do it if I have to.

Now on to the pictures!

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Have a great week!

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  • Scott K. Johnson  On September 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Oh man – I’ve always been very nervous about having to insert one of those manually. I *think* I would be able to do it, but boy, it wouldn’t be pretty. Glad you were able to, and I agree, it’s nice to know you can if you need to.


  • scully  On September 26, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Am I a bad-a$$ diabetic mo’fo because I use the quick-sets most of the time but I don’t use the serter?
    I forgot it once and then I read something online and stopped using it forever ago. But, I thrive on stuff like that.


    • Scott K. Johnson  On September 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Holy shit, Scully! You just keep impressing me with your bad-a$$ery. 🙂


    • StephenS  On September 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      That is pretty high on the BADMF scale. But after reading so much about you, I’m not surprised. I was just so amazed that the set didn’t just slide in like a syringe. Kinda freaked me out. Next time (if there is a next time), I’ll try to channel my inner bad-ass.


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