A Diabetes Adventure in New York City


This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking my very first trip to New York City to attend the New York City Horror Film Festival. I’m a major wimp when it comes to scary movies, but as a diabetic, I was more concerned about whether or not it would be a good weekend for my blood sugar.

Tribeca Cinemas - New York


Let me back up and provide some background information. The trip came together last minute, as I learned that my boyfriend’s oldest brother was coming to NYC to show his short film, Killer Kart, at the festival. I didn’t think that I would be able to go, because of schoolwork and all the time it would consume to travel to NYC. Upon consulting my schedule, I was delighted to realize that I could afford to go, seeing as any upcoming assignments weren’t due until later this week.

So after my last class on Friday, I started the journey home. And thus began my weekend of wild blood sugars.

I was fine during the hour and a half drive from Amherst to home. I made a pit-stop at my house to say hello to my mom and my dog before I drove off to my boyfriend’s. We ate a quick meal and drove for three hours to Connecticut to spend time at his other brother’s house with their family. Halfway through our drive, we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and my blood sugar was on the decline. I knew we would be eating pizza when we reached our destination, so I had a small snack to boost my blood sugar. Much to my surprise, I barely saw the number on my CGM change from 70 to 80 throughout the remainder of the drive. I shrugged it off and enjoyed a couple of slices of pizza, with my sugar lingering in the 150s into the night. It was nice to be able to relax and hear entertaining family stories by the fire.

Saturday came around and the whole family and I took a two-hour train ride to the city. When we finally got there, I was immediately blown away by the utter chaos. There were so many people, so many buildings, so much to look at! It was all a blur as we walked in a group to find a place to eat. We settled on the Brooklyn diner, where I had a delicious Cobb salad for lunch. I was hesitant to bolus for it, because my blood sugar reading was somewhere in the low 100s. I knew we had much more walking to do, so in a rare move, I did not take insulin at lunch.

Luckily, I made the right call. We walked all around Times Square and I kept a close watch on my CGM. It was very steady in the 120s, so I felt more confident about my decision to refrain from bolusing. But then the tell-tale signs of a low began to hit me.

Low blood sugars are never fun. But when you’re in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers, they’re positively dreadful. I was looking all around me at the tall buildings and bright lights and people and I felt disoriented and panicky.  Even though my CGM said I was doing fine, I decided to follow my instincts and eat three glucose tablets, which again proved to be a smart choice. By the time we hailed down a taxi to get to the theater, I felt a hundred times better. Before long, we had made it to Tribeca Cinemas and settled down to watch Killer Kart (check out the trailer!) along with another short and then a feature movie. By then, my blood sugar was doing just fine and I was able to relax and enjoy the event.


After a dizzying six-and-a-half hours more of travel, I found myself back at school writing this piece. It’s a good reminder that my blood sugar isn’t always going to be perfect when I want it to be, but as long as I trust how I’m feeling, then I can have fun instead of letting my diabetes get to me. 

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