Some people might feel guilty about "eating their way" through the Minnesota State Fair. Not me!
In the first week of September, I found there was really nothing pressing to be done. No hay to be made, no cattle to work, no fence needing attention and no silage needing to be chopped. It coincided with a couple days off for Sherill. We decided a short trip was in order.
On Labor Day Monday, we got in the car and headed to The Great Minnesota Get-Together, aka the Minnesota State Fair.
We made our way to St. Paul in decent time. The weather was spectacular. Mid-70s temps and a gentle breeze made for a great day to stroll around the fairgrounds. I was well equipped for the state fair this year; I had new technology on me. My new insulin pump had just arrived the previous Friday. It has a new feature to let me know when my blood glucose is falling or rising at a rate to trigger either a low or high glucose episode. I can shift the alarm trigger points to go off at whatever number I choose. My pump then talks to my Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) and does the math to extrapolate my data and let me know I need to do something about my levels.
My Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator, Joan, was talking about the new features at my appointment in August. Her cell phone rang during our discussion, which is incredibly rare. She excused herself and went into the hall to take the call. I could tell from her voice level and repetitive nature that she was probably talking with a patient on Medicare. Sure enough, as she wound down the conversation and opened the door again, she told the caller, "Well, let's just do that then, and if you have any problems or questions, don't be afraid to call this number again."
Then Joan came back into the room and vaguely explained what happened. An older gentleman had taken a dose of insulin that would have knocked a small horse on its butt. It was 20 units. The most I've ever taken at a high-carb meal was 10 or 12 units. It sounded to me like it was the gentleman's wife Joan was talking with at the end of the conversation.
"I asked why he had taken so much and I didn't really get an answer. They were just calling to see what they should do. They said the plan was to 'just eat like Hell!' I told them that would probably work, but don't take that much insulin again."
So now I had myself a new Joan-is-really-cool motto for handling my diabetes: "Just eat like Hell!"
I should probably get that in written prescription form.
So as I walked across the fairgrounds early on this particular day, my new pump started to chirp at me. "LOW PREDICTED" came across the screen.
Huh. Sounds like medical trouble ahead. Looks to me like I should turn to the old WWJSID bracelet idea and ask, "What Would Joan Say I Do?"
Well, altogether now, "JUST EAT LIKE HELL!" of course!
Not far away was a Fresh French Fries place. Potatoes. Tons of carbs in those, even though they don't seem to change my blood sugar much when I eat them. But they're the standard food for my people, and my pump is pretty much ordering me to order. It would be medically and ethnically rude of me not to, so Sherill got in line and bought a big 32-oz. cup of fries. We downed those in short order. They were quite good, especially with all the salt and vinegar on them.
But if the spuds didn't work, there was a funnel cake place nearby. Those are always good. Funnel-cake consumption is an excellent way to get powdered sugar into the bloodstream in an efficient manner. I've used the system before at Disney World with excellent results. It's a very effective chirp-prevention method.
Then we headed to the Food Building. Very subtle name choice there. Had to look for Cajun-walleye-on-a-stick. I had that a few years ago and loved it. We didn't find Cajun walleye, but we did find plain Walleye-on-a-stick, so I stood in that line and got some. Then we moved over a couple of booths and got a San Felipe Fish Taco. It was tilapia in a bed of cabbage with a delightful chipotle sauce with mango salsa slathered on it. As a serving hedge, we got a single Walleye-on-a-stick and a Grande Fish Taco. If either of them was outstanding, we could easily go back for more. If one flopped, we'd only be out one serving instead of two.
They were both quite good, but Sherill and I agreed the Fish Taco was far superior. A mental note was made to return before our departure later in the afternoon.
We moved on to another item not far away. Big Fat Bacon. It's an enormous slab of bacon, served on a stick, and deeply slathered with maple syrup.
Hands-free bacon dripping with syrup? Ladies and gentlemen, this is why the rest of the world hates us.
I was disappointed to find they didn't have any dipped in chocolate. We got a slice/slab anyway. Medical reasons. Chirp prevention, that was my motivation. I was being proactive.
Then it was on to a hut with a hefty line. This one was sort of the granddaddy of food-to-go. It was Sweet Martha's Cookies. They make chocolate chip cookies. For the Costco and Sam's Club enthusiasts among us, they make ’em in big quantities. Better yet, they sell ’em in big quantities. The multiple lines here were 30 or 40 deep, but I felt it was worth the wait, so we queued up. I watched orders going past me as we moved closer to the front. I made sure I had some space between Sherill, me, and the counter. I was placing this order, not her. She'd get the girly Cone-O-Cookies with about a dozen or so cookies in it. Thinking ahead to chirp prevention, I went into full guy mode. I ordered the bucket of cookies. Four dozen or more. A kid comes out of the back room with a tray of cookies and sets them on the counter in front of the order-taking kid. He whips out a french fry scoop and fills your cone or bucket. If you go the bucket route, he fills it full, and then he keeps adding to it until the mountain of cookies spills out. The handle of the bucket ends up with cookies pressing against it. Sure, they have a lid for your bucket, but it's wedged in between the side and the carry strap. You more or less have to eat a dozen or more cookies before you can put the lid on your bucket and get it to seal.
Don't try to tell me a guy didn't invent that. If he didn't, I bet he came up with the Velcro carry strap for next year's model where you can strap the bucket right to your head to make self-serve that much easier.
A trip past the Deep Fried Candy Bar stand showed us another long line. My odds of candy satisfaction didn't look good. No Deep Fried Candy Bar was almost like going on a diet at the state fair. We made another trip to the Food Building and got another Fish Taco. Sort of a palette cleanser. Had to take a break in between dessert items.
After that, it was a stop at the cotton candy booth. That was actually more of a Sherill choice than a Jeff choice. I'm not a huge fan of cotton candy, but it would probably keep better on the return trip home. Hate to have my pump chirp and have to try to eat something made of now-melted chocolate. Cotton candy is pretty much like life insurance. Yeah, it looks expensive and pointless, but when you are a recipient of the benefits, boy are you glad someone else blew the money on it.
Just before we headed for the gate, we saw a stand with something that sounded appropriate. Sadly, I was so full at that point that I wasn't sure I could attempt it. I waited around until someone went through the line and walked past me with a serving. It was Deep Fried Pie. No stick; no chocolate-dipping; just Deep Fried Pie.
I was skeptical. It looked like a McDonald's apple pie to me. No dice. Nobody shows up at Yankee Stadium and pulls out a Whiffle ball and a Nerf bat. Go big or go home.
I reached for my pump to check the screen and see where I was glucose-GPS-wise. Hated to be in the Deep Fried Pie neighborhood and miss a turn I should take. I think my pump giggled at me, with a lilt in its voice that sounded just like the GPS lady. Hard to know for sure. It may have just been smoking from the day's workout and starting to sputter from exhaustion.
Good thing Joan won't see the numbers until February.
Guy No. 2