I was completely terrified of getting on the raft. Jenn (Chris's sister), Steve (her husband), Chris and I fastened on our life jackets. Armed with a yellow helmet, a paddle, and a life vest, I looked like a Nintendo character and I felt like I was going off to war. We carried the raft down to the edge of the Kennebec River and got ready to climb on.
"I don't know about this. I am scared, dude." I grabbed Chris by the arm and shot him a panicked look. (I also briefly wondered why I called him "dude," but that's neither here nor there.)
"It's going to be fine. Once we start, you'll love it. I promise." He rubbed my arm and we climbed into the boat. Scott, our rafting guide, shouted to us from the back of the boat.
"Okay, so the pace-setters in the front," Chris and Steve took the front spots. "And then file in behind them." Jenn and I sat behind them and the other four rafters filed in behind us. Eight rafters, one guide, and one jam-packed fanny pack filled with my meter, glucose tabs, tubes of cake gel, juice, and insulin pens.
Two seconds into it, I was beside myself with fear.
About 30 seconds into it, I thought it was awesome.
And despite my terror, this whole trip was awesome. I'm not the woodsy-type (contain your shock), so the idea of being out in the middle of class 4 or 5 rapids with nothing but a paddle in my hand and my legs locked against the center pontoons of the raft to keep me from falling out didn't sound terrific to me. I was also worried about the diabetes-related implications.
But something about being in the middle of nowhere with water raging on either side and feeling scared, excited, and completely alive all at the same time was worth every damn second.
We stayed at the Northern Outdoors lodge in a cabin tent, so we camped out at night, cooked s'mores on the fire, and had the benefit of a bathhouse (read: cabin where there were flushable toilets) within walking distance.
We suited up in our wetsuits and conquered the Kennebec River (read: didn't fall out of the raft).
After our day on the raft, we went out and drank with our rafting guide. Here he is, rather drunk, telling me that I wasn't the only diabetic he's seen on these rafting trips and dagnabit, I did it!
Diabetes-wise, this trip wasn't easy. After spending the week reacclimating myself to Lantus and readying myself with insulin pens and syringes, I felt confident that my blood sugars would remain semi-stable. My blood sugars were a little higher this past week, but nothing too obscene. However, the anxiety and excitement of rafting sent my sugars skyrocketing, tossing me up into the 350 mg/dl range about halfway through the trip. Thanks to the trusty insulin pens I brought with me, I came down quickly, but it was annoying to reach that peak (mainly because it made me have to pee and peeing in the woods is not my thing. blech).
After considering all the options, it was a good idea for me to stay off the pump for the trip. I wasn't confident that it would remain dry, even if I had an aquapack or something similar. Rolling pumpless allowed me to jump into the "swimming rapids," where we could swim in the class 2 rapids, let me leap off the raft when we were easing down the last part of the river, and I didn't have that constant worry of "Is it okay? Am I still connected? Is it dry?"
My main (Maine?) concern was bringing enough reaction supplies. Thanks to the terrific rafting guide and my traveling companions, there was enough cake gel on that raft to sponsor a Barbie birthday party. Chris and Steve each had a tube in their pocket, I had three tubes on me, and the rafting guide had a stash of juice, cake gel, and an insulin pen in his dry pack.
Testing on the boat proved to be a bit of a challenge. I had my One Touch UltraMini encased in two plastic bags, so it remained mostly dry, but finding a moment to unearth it from within both bags, set up the strip, test, and keep things dry was tough. I tested every 30 minutes or so, despite these conditions, and the Green Mini kept things controlled. (Although the tampons would have been helpful from an absorption standpoint. It was soggy on that damn raft.)
I missed my pump terribly, though. More on that tomorrow. But pump and I have been reunited, I am now a white-water rafting veteran (or at least I can say I did it), and I'm looking forward to going again next summer.
I DID IT. I am quite proud of myself. Diabetes be damned!