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Sleepless in Santa Barbara

Last night, at 11:30 pm, as I was in my car getting ready to go to sleep, I heard beautiful guitar music being played by a man named Bruce G. He had laid out his guitar case and CDs, a guest book, and business cards on one corner of the second floor parking structure walkway. He also put a feedback monitor on an isand across from him.

His music was improvised Flaminco-style renditions of classics such as, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Ode to Joy,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and classical guitar pieces I had never heard before. I was enthralled, as the music resonated beautifully throughout the structure. He performed like a virtuoso, thumping on the guitar for percussion while expertly playing; his fingers plucking, strumming, and sliding faster than I could keep up.

I got out of my car to listen to him. I asked if I could videotape a bit, and he nodded. I remained outside in the cold, barefoot, listening. I closed my eyes, and felt transported. The situation was surreal. Almost no one else was around, but here was this gifted man playing in the oddest of places. Despite my sadness from the past few days, I felt so much better. A few couples that happened by and who heard him playing, walked up the stairs to investigate. Bruce told them about his CDs for sale, and he offered them some hard candy while they listened.

He continued playing for over an hour. By that time, I had gotten back in my car and lay down to sleep. Eventually, he stopped and packed his things and drove away. I fell asleep.

I woke up at 5:20 am after a difficult night of restless sleep. Lately, I’ve had leg tremors and night sweats. I’ve also experienced mood swings and increased edemia in my hands and feet. These are all signs that my Diabetes in not under control.

I just tossed out the of the insulin I had with me as it is obviously no good. I can survive for a few weeks without it, though it will require me to diligently monitor my symptoms and respond accordingly. I lived with raging Diabetes for years. It was not pleasant but I can do it again. My doctor, upon checking my blood sugar three years ago told me he didn’t know how I had lived for as long as I had with a blood sugar level of 428. The normal range is from 70 to 100.

Now that I am experiencing the same symptoms as back then, it is apparent that the insulin I have been keeping in my car (with the windows partially rolled down) is no longer viable. I had always thought that it was supposed to be refrigerated until you needed to use it; at which time, I would keep it on my office desk for a week, at room temperature. Last night, my wife called me and told me that insulin, when not in use, needs to be kept refrigerated. Apparently, I still have a lot to learn about this disease.

Since I was first diagnosed, I have been a stubborn bastard about accepting my condition, and about identifying myself as “Diabetic.” But today, l now understand. I have had the persistent nausea and ‘increased emotionalism that plagued me for years before I finally was taking insulin. Those symptoms were mitigated by my eating food. Eating seemed to make me feel less sick. It comforted me. l but I see now that I was essentially self-medicating. Thus, I got fat and complicated my health even further. Well, I Am not going back to poor health. Not after coming so far.

I intend on losing another 40 lbs and being healthy and active again. That means I have to be absolutely diligent about my diet. Which means I have to change my habits. l realize this now. I am sick, and I have been thinking of Diabetes as a personal weakness. So, I have been denying its seriousness, and thus, my need to take it seriously.

So, Hello. My name is Roger, and l am a diabetic…

As part of the monitoring process, l am going to elicit feedback from you.

I need to raise money again in order to continue with this march. The uncertainty of not having enough has been wearing, and has made me anxious and feeling guilty about undertaking this endeavor. Am l selfish for doing this march? Originally, I thought that I would get media coverage and, thus, enough in donations to accomplish it. But, nothing has happened as l planned, and now, I have only enough for the car trip from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita.

What do you think? l don’t want to give up. I have endured a lot to get here. I can and will go all the way, At the same time, for what? What good will l do? SOMETHING’s got to be done and said about our rights. If I Stop now, I won’t be doing what I can to stop politicians from stealing our rights. In the grand scheme of things, though, what can just one man do?

I need perspective. I need your help. Again. Please post comments below.


3 thoughts on “Sleepless in Santa Barbara

  1. See Your Doctor Before You Go

    Before a long trip, have a medical exam to make sure your diabetes is in good control. Schedule the exam with enough time to work on your control before you depart.

    Before any trip, get two papers from your doctor: a letter and a prescription. The letter should explain what you need to do for your diabetes, such as take diabetes pills or insulin shots. It should list insulin, syringes, and any other medications or devices you use. The letter should also list any allergies you have or any foods or medications to which you are sensitive.

    The prescription should be for insulin or diabetes pills. You should have more than enough insulin and syringes or pills to last through the trip. But the prescription may help in case of emergency.

    No matter where you go, wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that shows you have diabetes. If you’re leaving the country, also learn how to say “I have diabetes” and “sugar or orange juice, please”.

    Many people with diabetes, particularly those who use insulin, should have a medical ID with them at all times.

    In the event of a severe hypoglycemic episode, a car accident, or other emergency, the medical ID can provide critical information about the person’s health status, such as the fact that they have diabetes, whether or not they use insulin, whether they have any allergies, etc. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID when they are caring for someone who can’t speak for themselves.

    Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.
    Packing Tips

    The second rule of travel for a person with diabetes: pack at least twice as much medication and blood-testing supplies as you think you need.

    Whether you travel by car, plane, boat, bike, or foot, you’ll want to keep this “carry-on” bag with you at all times. Pack this bag with:

    all the insulin and syringes you will need for the trip
    blood and urine testing supplies (include extra batteries for your glucose meter)
    all oral medications (an extra supply is a good idea)
    other medications or medical supplies, such as glucagon, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotic ointment, anti-inausea drugs
    your ID and diabetes identity card
    a well-wrapped, air-tight snack pack of crackers or cheese, peanut butter, fruit, a juice box, and some form of sugar (hard candy or glucose tablets) to treat low blood glucose

    Eating in the Air

    When you fly, you can request a special meal low in sugar, fat, or cholesterol. Make your request at least two days before the flight.

    If you take insulin, wait until you see your food coming down the aisle before you take your shot. Otherwise, a delay in the meal could lead to low blood glucose. To be safe, always carry some food with you. If your meal is delayed or an order is mixed up, you won’t be stuck with an empty stomach.
    Have Insulin, Will Travel

    When you travel with insulin, give some thought to where you’ll be storing your supplies. Insulin does not need to be refrigerated, but insulin stored in very hot or very cold temperatures may lose strength.

    Don’t store your insulin in the glove compartment or trunk of your car. Backpacks and cycle bags can get quite hot in the direct sunlight. If you plan to travel by car or bike or to be out in the elements, take steps to protect your insulin. Many travel packs are available to keep your insulin cool.

    In general, you should stick with the exact brand and formulation of insulin that you have been prescribed by your doctor.

    However, if you run out while you are on the road, and your regular brand is unavailable, you may substitute another brand’s equivalent formulation (for example, NovoLog for Humalog, Humulin R for Novolin R). Changes in formulation (for example, from rapid-acting Humalog to to short-acting Humulin R) require medical supervision.

    Checking your blood glucose while traveling is as important as when you’re at home.

    If you are more active than usual, your blood glucose could go too low. Take along snacks when hiking or sightseeing. Don’t assume you will be able to find food wherever you are.

    No matter what kind of diabetes you have, it’s smart to watch what you eat and drink when traveling.

    Wear comfortable shoes and never go barefoot. Check your feet every day. You should look for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, and scratches. Get medical care at the first sign of infection or inflammation.

    Go wherever your heart leads you. Just remember that you take your diabetes with you. Take your self-care along, too.

    Dehydration and heat exhaustion — Special care needs to be taken during extreme heat. YOU KNEW ALL THIS WHEN YOU BEGAN YOUR MARCH RIGHT?

  2. Yes, prior to this trip, l had already gone over things with my doctor about checking my feet, etc. 1 check my feet, and all that. And, I still take the Metaformin and Januvia for my diabetes Without refrigeration, my Lantus insulin is an issue. The Diabetes, aside, I want feedback about the march itself.

  3. Your health is very important! This is your journey in life. The choice of fulfilling this march is yours to make. If and when you make it up to Stanislaus county my husband and I want to help you along the path however we can. We believe in what you are doing. But please watch your sugars!

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