Category Archives: Travel

Meeting Mike Hoskins.

I made my yearly trek to Cincinnati recently. I grew up in Cincinnati, and for the last four or five years, thanks to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I’ve been making the trip at this time of year to celebrate that most Queen City of holidays, Opening Day.

One of the great benefits of the journey the last two years has been the opportunity to make a side trip to Indianapolis to meet diabetes friends. Last year, I got to meet Cherise Shockley in person for the first time. This year, I got to sit down for lunch with Mike Hoskins.


For those who don’t know yet, Mike is a writer for Diabetes Mine, and he also has a blog of his own, called The Diabetic’s Corner Booth. On top of that, he’s also one of our brave Champion Athletes with Diabetes medal winners.

For someone like me, who grew up in the midwest, having lunch with a guy like Mike Hoskins is like having lunch with one of my brothers. I’ve changed a lot in the last twenty years since I’ve moved to the east coast, but there’s still a lot of me in Mike’s mannerisms, and in the way he speaks.

I enjoyed hearing his stories, though in retrospect, I did pepper him with too many questions. We talked about his recent pump decision, telling our stories online, our spouses and parents, work and diabetes, and phones (I’m considering an upgrade and I need all the advice I can get). All in all, it was too short. Especially since I had trouble with a detour in the Indiana countryside and wound up getting there late.

In case you’re wondering, in person meetings with others who are living with or affected by diabetes are worth their weight in gold. I came away from a simple lunch chat with a great feeling that I can’t really explain. But it made the trip more than worthwhile. So if you know of someone near you or where you’re going, and you think it might be nice to meet that person, don’t wait to reach out. Make that connection. I promise you it’s worth it. That’s my Monday advice.

Mike, thanks for lunch! Hope all the days in Indiana this year are as sunny and warm as last Tuesday.

My real life meeting with a Champion.

While I was away last week, I made a special side trip to meet a very special person:


Cherise Shockley is Founder and CEO of Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation, keepers of things like the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy website, the DSMA Blog Carnival, DSMA Live, DSMA en vivo, DSMA Live ‘Rents and the ever-popular Wednesday night DSMA Twitter chat. Our lunch wasn’t the ask-questions-get-answers-write-a-blog-post-about-it kind of thing. I just wanted to meet her, and give her the chance to put a face with a name, so to speak. Let me tell you about our meeting.

The first question you might ask is, “What is she really like?”. In person, Cherise is pretty much like her online self. Polite, funny, passionate about her cause, and always one step ahead of me.

And smart. Cherise is very, very smart. Growing up in a family where service to the community is part of her DNA, she’s inspired by the possibilities and challenges of bringing together people who are affected by diabetes. Best of all, she’s doing something about it. It seems like her mind is constantly thinking about ways to enhance and expand what DCAF can do for everyone touched by this disease.

During our conversation, I likened her to a military general. She may not have everything figured out yet. But as the social media landscape changes, she’s good at maximizing opportunities and figuring out the best way to make the most of her resources when they’re needed. That’s a quality that many people wish for, but so few possess. After just a few minutes, I was ready to go charging up the hill for DCAF too!

I’m not big on first impressions. Often we come across people who are rushed, are having a bad day, fighting with their significant others, or experiencing hypoglycemia. And that can affect how we are with people we meet for the first time, and how they perceive us. But in this case, my first impression was only positive. I have a really good feeling about DCAF and where Cherise will lead the foundation into the future.

I’m really glad I was able to make this connection. Our lunch together really gave me the feeling of being in the presence of greatness. I’m hoping you’ll make the connection with DCAF too.

The weekly DSMA Twitter chat happens every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time here in the USA. To join the conversation, go to

To listen to DSMA Live, DSMA en Vivo and DSMA Live ‘Rents, and to download previous podcasts, go to the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy station on Blog Talk Radio at

To support DCAF and all of the great happenings that are, um, happening, consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Just go to this page and click on the Donate button:

Airport Security.

I was thinking yesterday about all of the travel stuff from last week. The good news is that I didn’t have a single issue going through airport security. I rarely do.

But my observations of the security process, for myself and others, revealed that there are some things that I think could be better through the entire process. So taking the “It Takes a Village” viewpoint, here are a few suggestions for everyone:

For TSA Screeners: Can we get a little consistency here? I always point out that I’m wearing an insulin pump as I start the process. Yet sometimes, I get walked through the metal detector and waved on, just like any other passenger. Other times, I get directed to the full body scanner (which I decline based on guidelines provided by my pump maker—more on that in a minute), then to the full pat-down. Then finally, always finally, they do the “touch your pump with both hands” routine where I touch the pump, and my pump and hands get swabbed with something that looks like it came from the inside of a diaper, and the diaper-like product gets run through the machine to check for explosive residue. But TSA: If I had explosive residue on either, wouldn’t you want to know that first? Oh well… it always goes okay, and I don’t have the kind of modesty that bothers me to go through that process. Or maybe I realize that for most screeners, it’s more uncomfortable for them to do the pat-down than it is for me to get it. Although it kind of bothers whoever I’m traveling with. They get through security in seconds; I get through security in minutes (sometimes, many minutes).

Let me say also that I realize I’m in the minority here, and I completely sympathize with anyone who has an issue with this process… there must be a better, smarter, higher-tech way to do this. Full body pat-downs of kids or anyone else just because they’re wearing a medical device is ridiculous. I won’t waste time today going into the myriad of reasons why.

For medical device makers: Why can’t your devices go through full body scanners? Is it because you’ve never tested them? Is it because you’re not sure, and you’re just hedging? Is it because you truly believe that the scanner could foul up the software?

Whatever the reason, my suggestion is this: Fix it. Make your device good enough to go through the scanner. Or if you think it might be good enough, run it through a scanner a few thousand times to test and make sure. If you’re unwilling to do either of those, please communicate with TSA personnel to let them know, so we won’t routinely get directed to the full body scanner just because we’re wearing your device. My guess is your device will handle the scanner just fine. But I won’t know until I know I can go through the scanner for myself, without fear of invalidating my warranty. Wouldn’t you like to be able to say to kids, “You can go through security just like anyone else”? Again, it takes a village, okay?

And that brings me to:

Travelers: Actually, I don’t have any advice for you. Except to 1) Do your homework; 2) Get there early; 3) Be calm; and 4) Be nice to TSA staff. People have bad days, or their bosses are giving them a hard time about being extra diligent with the screening that day, or something else. The more we can take a deep breath and go with the flow, the easier things will probably be.

That does not mean that we should take any crap from TSA staff. When people are wrong about proper procedures, you are absolutely right to set them straight. When people are rude or unprofessional, you are absolutely right to point it out. TSA has a job to do at airport security. That job does not involve making us feel like we’re criminals if we didn’t get everything perfect before we hit their checkpoint today.

Okay, enough ranting. My point is, we all have a part to play. If we do our best, or at least try to do our best, we’ve done our part. Now let’s see if we can get the other players in this game to do theirs.

By the way, here’s the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website’s latest update, and a few links to pages that have travel information for various manufacturers:






Just a short one, I promise. Tomorrow, The Great Spousal Unit, The Live-In Niece, and myself are heading to sunny Sanibel Island, Florida for a week of swimming, bike riding, eating, drinking, and bolusing, probably until almost 8 o’clock every night.

Actually, I’ll probably be staying up late watching the baseball playoffs, because God knows I won’t be staying up past midnight watching once I go back to work.

Before I go, I want to say thank you to whoever nominated me for Best Advocacy in the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs in September. It’s one of those things that instantly feels really nice. Then in the next minute, you start thinking, “Wow, now I’ve got to go out and prove that I deserved it”. Well, I’ll be trying to do that, as soon as I come back.

Let me say this, however: I really enjoy reading what my fellow Type (insert your type here)’s are writing about. The stories of your lives, your experiences, your joys, your sorrows, your successes, your failures, are all very important to me. I care more about reading your blogs, hearing your podcasts, seeing your tweets, than I care to admit to the average person.

There are two take-aways for you here:

First, if you’re out there reading something via social media, be supportive. It takes guts to tell your story, warts and all. Just the effort that’s involved in that is worth your appreciation. And when you read something that moves you… let it move you, and make a comment, send an e-mail, or support a cause that’s worth fighting for.

Second, if you’re thinking about telling your story, and you haven’t yet: consider doing so. It’s actually very easy to get started, and like Sara has said before, I guarantee there is someone out there waiting to hear you and connect with what you have to say.

Finally, don’t forget to nominate early and often in the October Best of the ‘Betes Blogs categories:
– Best Use of Humor
– Best Vlog
– Best Recipe
– Best Use of Photography
– Best Advocacy
– Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
– Best Story of a D Meet-up
– Best non-D Related Post
– Best Post by a Type 1
– Best Post by a Type 2
– Best Post by a Type Awesome
– Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified
– Best story of a D-mistake
– Best Motivational Post
– Best Diabetes Art

Any posts written during the month of October are eligible (please no self-nominations). Email a nomination(s) to Or send a Direct Message (don’t make my mistake and send a Tweet To The World) with your nomination(s) to the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs twitter account– @bestbetesblogs.

Time to get off of my soap box and get packing. Have a great week!

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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