A Campfire Collection

The most recent annual camping adventure took me up to Interlochen, Michigan for a week and allows me to trade in the real life stresses and online universe for much-needed relaxation outdoors. Here's a Friday Lite post with some snippets of My D-Life Around The Campfire and nearby places.

Moonlight, Campfire, & The Darkness Outdoors: This was my 5th year in the past decade on a summer camping adventure, and the the third straight in late July heading up to the northern part of Lower Michigan with friends. But it was my first where I wasn't pumping, but rather endured Multiple Daily Injections. My sugars were pretty steady or even slightly Low a majority of the time, and only a few times did they rise Higher when overeating and not compensating with enough insulin. Daytime was easy enough. But after dark presented some challenges. Being at a Michigan state park helped, as there were lighted restrooms, showers, running water and electricity. Washing the hands was easy enough, and a trip to the lighted restroom near our site gave me the ability to easily give myself a shot whenever needed. I carried a few syringes in my small little case, and kept the four 10-needle bags in a larger case that stayed in the master suitcase inside the tent for safekeeping, along with extras of all other supplies and meds. This system worked out pretty well, and in my opinion was just as good as the years before when I was pumping (actually, even better as it was my first camping trip that I was truly and actively engaged in "good" D-Management.)

All The Diabetics: Actually, it was the original Beyonce version known as "All the Single Ladies." One night, the tune began playing at a camp site next door. I couldn't get All The Diabetics out of my head, and the outstanding SugaSheen tune was on my mind for the rest of that evening. A quick Tweet let the DOC know, too. As I recall, that text-Tweet was the first time I'd breached my no-online contact rule. Oh well. A few times it made me wonder about the carb-counts of campfire snacks, and it reminded me to test my blood sugar. But it also made me think about the awesome DOC and how I missed keeping in touch with them.

Parking Lots and Microbrews: Despite being away from the DOC, though, the camping vacation did lead to an actual D-Meetup and a sighting of another likely Type 1. First, there was the parking lot encounter at Tom's, the local grocery store, on our first full day. Suzi had gone back inside the store to buy stamps we'd forgotten, and I was left to load up the vehicle. The young woman was parked in the spot next to me, and when she opened up her trunk, I saw the purple Minimed Paradigm dangling from her waste band. "Nice Minimed," I said, receiving a glance of acknowledgment. "Thanks! Are you diabetic?" I introduced myself and briefly recapped my tagline of a history, specifically my ongoing pump hiatus that's taken me back to MDI for a few months, and learned she'd been Type 1 for about 15 years. She was from the area and her young daughter in the car and was already running late, so our 3-minute conversation didn't last longer. A few days later while dining at a Traverse City microbrewery, we observed a man who was wearing a Cozmo on his belt. Didn't talk to him though, and there wasn't really any reason for that. But, that was two other Ds in the course of a camping week - what a small little D-World!

Not For The Fish: Two friends have boats, and so that took me out on the massive lake a few times during the week. Being on the boat meant maneuvering how I'd navigate the Low Waters should they splash my way. Day trips weren't an issue, as my wife carried some emergency Sweet-Tarts in the bag she brought. But the more complicated time was my fishing (casting?) excursions on the water without her. My tackle box gave me an option. It was soon stocked not only with Sweet-Tarts, but a pack of Skittles and a tube of orange glucose tablets. Only ate one roll of Sweet-Tarts while camping, though it wasn't on the boat. Later turned out that the other rolls of Sweet-Tarts in my swimsuit didn't survive a short trek through the lake water, and I ditched them rather than gamble with the possibility of Swimmer's Itch in the throat. The safe sugar options in my tackle box ended up being left on a friend's boat, and it journeyed back to Southeast Michigan instead of finding its way back to my vehicle for a return to Indiana. Maybe I'll pick it up before next year's camping vacation, though I doubt the sugar will still be edible by that time.

Waterlogged Meter. Not everything was safe from the lake water, though. On one journey to the boat that involved a short little walk through the waist-high waters, I stuck my little black zip-up case into the beer cooler for some safety. Unfortunately, I forgot about it and it got trampled by beer cans inside, ending up at the bottom in the melting ice water. Half a vial of test strips and a lancet were sacrificed, but the main casualty: My trusty One Touch UltraLink meter (the only one I've had to connect with my Minimed 722 and the only one with ALL of my readings for the past few weeks since I'd last uploaded.) One of my last results on there was 141 from earlier in the day when we were out on the boat, but now for the fishing leg of the trip my meter was a goner. Later replaced batteries and dried it out, but there was no salvation. The meter was lost - it's sleeping with the fishes (those who escaped the glucose-neighboring lures in my tackle box). After getting back to Indiana, I phoned One Touch and explained the situation and they're sending me a replacement. Should receive it by August 1. So, there's that.

A Cherry-Glazed D-Feast: Another post-vacation treat was what we brought home from this part of Michigan, which is very near Traverse City and is pretty much cherry wine country. Dozens of wineries are scattered throughout the area, and we ventured to several during our trip. We came home with about a case of wine, most being some variety of cherry wine. Also got a Cherry Barbeque Mustard from one of those wineries, which not only was a great dip with Wheat Thin crisps but also served as a key ingredient for an outstanding D-Feast. Being that I missed the first D-Feast Friday on July 23, here's my contribution for both that Friday and this one today!

Barbecue Mustard Glazed Pork Chops with rice and Michigan Cherry Spiced Wine.
  •  Ingredients: 1/2 inch thick bone-in pork chops are what we use, but it really doesn't matter. Rice. Corn.
  • Preheat grill-pan to medium-high, spray with "Pam for Grilling"
  • Once heated, place porkchops on pan. Do not move after initial placement on pan.  This will help create the crust (Thanks FoodNetwork!)
  • After cooking for a couple minutes, check for lines and flip over. This is where the 2008-award winning Cherry Barbeque Mustard comes into play. We bought it at the Chateau Grand Traverse Winery, but it was just sold there after being produced at Brownwood Farms. Place about a spoonful (adjust for taste) on the cooked side of the pork chop.  Repeat on the second side.  
  • Continue flipping and adding glaze until done and according to taste.  These specific chops took about 10 to 15 minutes to cook and 3 to 4 spoonfuls of glaze.
  • Add Uncle Ben's 90-second microwave bags of rice (my favorite with this is the Garden Variety, but really you could probably have anything that compliments the chops.) 
  • Pour a glass of the Cherry Spiced Wine from The Cherry Republic Winery in Traverse City.
  • If interested in dessert, you may also enjoy a small portion of Doug Murdick's Fudge from Traverse City. It isn't exactly carb or sugar friendly, but it is Awesome.
  • Enjoy!!!!
  • For me: this total was just about 100 grams. Each teaspoon of the sauce is 5g, so with four servings it was 20g for me. The rice, corn, wine, and fudge all added to that carb count - totally worthwhile D-Feast, in my opinion!
Lilly's Returning Home Award: Of course, aside from the wine and treats brought home, I returned to an even cooler award received by mail. A package from Eli Lilly here in Indy. It was my very own Lilly Diabetes Journey Award for 25-Year Insulin Medal, dubbed to be "a celebration of (my) hard work and determination" in living with diabetes for a quarter century (as of Spring 2009). I'd applied about a month ago and had already received the Joslin Award, and this was the second to arrive. The official tag for it: formerly known as LillyforLife, this recognizes diabetes patients who have successfully managed their disease with the help of insulin for 25, 50, or 75 years or more. Since 1974, Lilly has presented more than 2,000 insulin medals to people affected by diabetes. These individuals serve as an inspiration to all people affected by diabetes, for learning how to manage their disease and adapting to the ever-changing technology of diabetes care throughout their diabetes journey." My award: A personally engraved medal in its own red box, complete with a consent and release form for "Interviewing, Photographing, and Videotaping." Not sure where that'll lead, but it'll be interesting I'm sure. This was a cool little gift to get upon returning home.

Well, that's all there is. Riley (our happy D-Dog) was thrilled to get home for not only a bath, but also to be reunited with the Shadow Cat - who appeared to check out the ruckus upon our return but appeared dismayed that we spoiled her week-long run of the house. All is back to normal now and we have only the memories and Campfire Tales for 2010, but we remain happy with that reflection and the anticipation for what we're hoping will be an even greater adventure next year. That is, if the stars align for what's expected to be an awesome CWD 2011 conference. The waiting and planning now begins...


Ooo! Thanks for the DFeast - I added it to the Linky list.

That's a very meaningful medal. Here's to another 25 and more!
Cherise said…
wow! what a huge adventure. The food looks great, awesome medal (you earned it) and "All the diabetics" tooooo cool.
Anonymous said…
Great story Michael. The pork chop recipe is one for the recipe book. Thanks ffor sharing it. Norm.

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