Forgot the Henchman

License to lower your blood sugar, in combination with daily exercise and a carbohydrate-reduced diet.
Licensed to lower your blood sugar, in combination with daily exercise and a carbohydrate-reduced diet.

I just had a Bond moment. It’s like a blonde moment, but more lethal.

I returned from our California adventure after 16 days of coastal rambling. I was scurrying about, drawing horizontal lines through my  “To-Do” list before entering hospital for chemotherapy.

Chemo requires a pre-admission blood test. As I sat there, draining a small bit of me into a syringe, I told the nurse the lab results would show my blood sugars were high. I could tell from the taste in my mouth. Not to worry, I had just taken a whopping dose of insulin in response.

I have been a diabetic for 21 years. My blood sugar control is mediocre. A normal blood sugar is between four and six incomprehensible-scientific-units-of-measurement (ISUMs). I tend to average about eight ISUMs. I used to lie in bed, afraid that diabetes-related complications would kill me before 60. Would I live to see my son’s tenth birthday?.

Funny how cancer changes perspective.

After my diagnosis three years ago, I put all diabetes-related worries away. I didn’t fret about dying from heart attack, stroke or organ failure. I worried about seeing another Christmas.

So there I was last week, two hours after my blood test. My phone rang. It was the nurse.

Could I come to the emergency department? Did I need an ambulance to get there?

My ISUMs were at 43.

I have never, in 21 years, known my blood sugar to climb above 30. “Above 40” is the kind of number that makes a nurse worry about you.

Just like James Bond, I forgot about the henchman.

A repeated feature in Bond films occurs in the closing minutes, after the main villain has been vanquished. The evil sidekick suddenly appears to shatter the kimono-and-body-oil reverie of the denouement.  In Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery has killed Blofeld and is relaxing with Jill St. John when they are attacked by the almost-forgotten assassins Wint and Kidd. After Roger Moore shoots Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun, mini-killer Herve Villechaize turns up with a knife. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Moore is close to (for once) having sex with one of the Bond girls, when the metal-toothed “Jaws” appears, ready to bite him in half.

Bond thought dispatching the main villain left him free to relax. The return of the loyal-to-the-end assistant is a reminder to take care of one’s secondary villains. I bet lots of cancer patients have similar problems with their Parkinson’s, MS, Lupus, etc.

In the 43 ISUMs incident, I mistakenly thought my insulin would remain effective while out of the fridge for two weeks of vacation. It did not.  A quick trip to the pharmacist, some fresh insulin and a ban on snacks had my ISUM back to 6.9 by the following morning. I was shaken, not stirred.

“Mike O’Brien will be BACK… in Die Another Day!”

Radiating happiness!

Read the fine print.
Read the fine print.

We  just got back from two weeks in California. Beautiful state. Colder than you think.

We spent two days in Disneyland. It really is the happiest place on earth. Just ask my three-year-old. Of course, he can’t read, so he was spared the momentary fear that comes from scanning the small sign posted on the park’s outer gate. It reads, no joke:

“The Disneyland Resort contains chemicals known to the state of California  to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

So there you have it.

Disneyland may cause cancer.

That must be confusing news for the many terminal kids who elect to visit the theme park, courtesy of the admirable Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s a bit like Somalian refugees fleeing rape, hunger and violence and moving to Sierra Leone. (By the way, there is no adult equivalent for the Make-A-Wish Foundation: I went courtesy of the “Pay -For-Your-Own-Damn-Wish Foundation.”)

I do not know how Disney threatens us and our unborn children.

Maybe supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is another name for asbestos. Maybe Sleeping Beauty is really in a late-stage coma. Maybe the forest animals lied when they told Bambi it was a hunter who killed his mother.

It turns out, the signs are the result of an overly cautious state law that requires them to be erected in public places that contain toxic building materials, even though normal exposure to said materials isn’t anywhere close to dangerous. That’s reassuring. Visitors to California can go back to being afraid of road rage.

However, even if Wallyworld is a toxic playground, it’s one I would go to again. Yes, the Dumbo ride may give you something malignant, but remember that your next best option is Knott’s Berry Farm. That’s a theme park… on a farm.

No thanks. I’ll risk shaking hands with Mickey Metastasis and his dog Plutonium.

I’ll ride Platelets of the Caribbean. I will eat Disneyland food (even the ten-dollar Franken-meat turkey leg).

During our two days at Disney, I noticed a complete absence of bald or kerchiefed kids. They weren’t even in Tomorrowland, which is what every cancer patient is seeking, really.

Maybe they read the little sign, wised up and made their last wish a visit to the Mayo Clinic. When the clinic’s attractions work,  it really is the happiest place on earth.

I would ride Chemo Mountain twice!