The Mocha Frappaccino Experiment.
There is always a lot of walking involved when exploring the neighborhoods of an urban city. Walking, no matter how slow and meandering, will invariably lower your blood sugars. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing. And sometimes it’s just plain weird.
Jill and I are getting ready to leave her apartment and make our way to the Corcoran Museum, about a mile away. We packed enough supplies that we could get locked in the museum overnight and be just fine, then headed downtown. Since I had woken up at 91 mg/dl only a couple hours earlier, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to go low on our way there. I rang in at 206 mg/d.
“I don’t think I’m going to bolus,” I told Jill. “I’ll see what the walking does.”
The Corcoran Museum is lovely, though not as large as some. The Annie Leibowitz museum was quite extensive, and it took us over an hour and a half to go through the entire exhibit. Jill and I elected to check out the Ansel Adams exhibit while we were there. It was nearing two in the afternoon, and we hadn’t had lunch yet.
“I think I’m going low,” I whispered and made my way to a bench to test.
64 mg/dl. Not too low and I munched on a handful of disgusting apple-flavored (at least, I think that’s what they were supposed to be) glucose tablet. After a few minutes of sitting, I rejoined Jill and we decided to hunt for lunch.
We passed by the clamor at the World Bank (see Monday’s post) and kept walking. It took us awhile to find a place to each, but we decided on the Pita Pit at the student union on the George Washington University campus. We had already walked at least another mile and I wanted to make sure I was on the up swing. I had climbed forty points and was now clocking in at 102 mg/dl. A perfect reading to indulge on a huge pita with grilled chicken, mushrooms and olives. I calculated that the pita was probably around 40 carbs, about the amount of a tortilla or two slices of bread.
I had been to most of the museums and landmarks in Washington D.C. – the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol, the Smithsonian, even the Library of Congress. But there were two neighborhoods that I had never check out and was curious to see what the fuss was about.
Our first stop was Georgetown, which was a bit disappointing as the street we were on was like Soho, only the buildings were about a hundred years older. After visiting a stationary and gift stop, where I introduced Jill to the wonder that is Anne Taintor, I started to feel a tad low. My insulin pump was nagging at me to test (I have the alarm clock set to go off five times a day to remind me to test), so I pulled out my glucose meter and rested it on top of some books.
I was 76 mg/dl. “I’m low again,” I said. Jill asked if I had any more glucose tabs. “I used them all.”
We decided to cross the street and go into Barnes & Nobles to get a drink. I chose a mocha frappaccino, and Jill chose a low-carb steamed milk with sugar-free vanilla syrup (though if you ask her, she’ll tell you they put coffee in it).
There was no place to sit, but seeing as how I wasn’t that low and was about to consume at more than 70 gram of carbohydrate beverage, I thought, “I’ll be fine. Let’s walk.”
We sipped and we talked. We talked about how much we wanted to move to the adorable and outrageously expensive homes. We talked about how we felt when our blood sugar is low. We talked about finding people with diabetes in our new towns.
I was also trying to figure out how much insulin to take for the mocha frappaccino. Obviously, the casual walking did more of a number on my blood sugars that I had anticipated, and I was nervous about taking more insulin on top of two recent lows.
“I don’t think I’m going to take any insulin,” I announced.
“Really?” Jill asked.
“Yeah. It will be an experiment,” I said. She laughed.
We checked out Dupont Circle, called Jill’s friend Carrie to find out more about that night’s kamikaze party and then decided to go home and rest up a bit before going out again.
When we arrived back at the apartment, I decided I should probably check my blood sugar. I was worried that I may have overkilled it with the mocha frappaccino and I wanted to knock down any rise in blood sugar before we went to dinner.
“Jill, guess what I am.”
“Uh… two hundred and… seventy-nine?” she guessed.
“D.C. has cured me!” I exclaimed.
Just before we left for dinner, I tested one more time, just to make sure there wasn’t a sneak attack on my blood sugars.
To my amazement, I had held completely steady and had technically dropped to 120 mg/dl (though in this day and age of lying glucose meters, I could very well have been 140 mg/dl, and my meter wouldn’t know the difference).
I think all the walking actually helped control my blood sugars while drinking as well. Even though I did spike to 297 mg/dl after six kamikazes, after a correction bolus, I tested at 155 mg/dl at 5:30 a.m. and I was back down to 133 mg/dl when I woke up the next morning.
Moral of the story: Sight-seeing should be a recommended form of treatment for all people with diabetes.
(P.S. The correct answers for Monday’s bonus questions: 1) Jill’s headband is Jillcode for “2 pi R” which is the mathematical equation for the circumference of a circle, i.e. the Rising Sun) and 2) The title of the post comes from the song of the same name by The Postal Service.)