Our Five Star Sunday

This Sunday started the way all Sundays should, with an epic breakfast. After recently re-organising the freezer, I found we've been hoarding pancakes. So, pancakes it was. With bacon, butter, maple syrup and strawberries, of course. Strangely, my blood sugars did pretty great on this combo. Who'd have thought it!

We got ready to head out to Chewton Glen, our five star destination for Sunday lunch. It's become a yearly tradition for us to pop there for Barry's birthday. The voucher had forever on it, but this weekend seemed perfect as we needed cheering up and the weather was divine.

I grabbed this dress, which Barry bought for my birthday back in March. Himself. With no help or advice from anyone! Really impressed.

Not only did it fit beautifully, it was a great dress for a scorchingly hot, muggy Sunday. My insulin pump clipped neatly to my bra and could not be seen and the Dexcom on my arm - well I'm past caring what other people think. Hence the bright pink Stay Put patch. Go big or go home!

I grabbed some low blood sugar rescue remedies - note to self: running low! Jelly babies crammed into a pot, because you never know how many you may need. In this weather, blood sugars do a funny thing and run low for most people with diabetes (PWD's); the heat seems to make everything work faster. Plus, we intended to walk, so it's essential to have plenty of these in my handbag.

This little guy is on his own now. We've been so upset all weekend as his Sister, Lex, was hit by a car and killed instantly on Friday night. The vet called to say a passer-by had picked her up after seeing the driver hit her and carry on without stopping. We are very grateful to whoever took her into the local vets, as it must not have been easy.

This little man has been waiting next to the back door for her every night since, which is choking and heartbreaking in itself. So, plenty of cuddles and lots of treats for this one.

We left in plenty of time, thank goodness. This foal decided to sunbathe in the road, causing huge tailbacks in the New Forest. But who could be angry - it was way too sweet.

Our tradition of finding a red sports car for Barry. We had to go quick! It was pretty much in an identical parking space to the last time - even though one is a Ferrari and the other is a Jaguar. Most recent is the Jag, left-hand side. Barry says he is much greyer, but I'm sure it's just the lighting :-)

Surrounded by flowers and wearing them too. Is this a major fashion faux pas I wonder?!

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This is one of the statues outside Chewton Glen and the ornament we have at home, which also came from there. My Mum & Stepdad bought this for us as a house warming gift.

Very pretty front of house. We felt the inside was in need of a little updating this time, but perhaps they are on the case already. They seem to have changed quite a few things since we visited last. Customer Service was second to none and honestly, they could not have been more accommodating.

What to order? So much to choose from. We ended up ordering the same starter and main.

My blood sugar decided to do this right before our starter arrived, so I prayed the alarm would not start sounding on my Dexcom! If you've never heard one go off, think of an Ambulance Siren in an enclosed room. These things are loud! I quickly ate some Jelly Babies for my appetiser and held this thing tightly in case I needed to muffle it!

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So ready for food! Looking a bit wiped out due to the low blood sugar level. Me not Barry. Barry was just super hangry after a long drive, but you wouldn't know it right?

Eating out means guessing carbohydrates (carbs.) for PWD's because this is what an insulin pump uses to decide how much insulin to deliver. A lot of people think the whole thing is completely automated - but not so at all. We still have to tell our pumps the number of carbs. we eat at each meal. 

We pre-programme our pumps with predicted ratios of insulin to carbs based on which meal / time of day it is. The thinking is, it will be mostly the same at a certain time of day. The pump then calculates an amount of insulin to deliver.

So I guessed 10g for this. Also taking into consideration the fact I'm running low right now (should maybe take the insulin a little later than usual), but the meal looks low fat so it will digest fast (should take the insulin now-ish) but I am planning to walk after lunch (should reduce the total amount of insulin I take for this meal or we will run into trouble later in the afternoon). I'll spare you these decision making paradigms for the remaining courses, but you get the idea.

Not easy people. Not easy at all. We do our best in situations like this and cross everything we have. And Barry is the most patient, kind, understanding and supportive man there is when it comes to diabetes. And everything actually, but especially diabetes management.

Terrine of Chicken and Leek, which came with a toasted hazelnut and apple salad and a Granny Smith apple dressing. Heavenly, every single bite. It was fairly savoury, containing capers, mustard, leeks, hazelnuts and apple.

A very expensive glass of red wine. Well, £20 a glass seems a lot to someone who will happily drink whole bottles costing less than half this! It was nice, a little acidic, but okay. Also wine will drop my blood sugars about 3-4 hours after I have it, so I factored this in a little too. I swear, my head is constantly on the go calculating. I should be a mathematical genius after 31 years with this condition. Why is this not the case I wonder?!

I used my remote control to bolus (take my insulin) for my meal. I didn't fancy rooting around inside my dress to find my pump in a five star restaurant, so thank goodness for this little machine. It also doubles up as my blood testing machine. It sends a signal to my pump, which vibrates 3 times to let me know it's delivering my bolus.

And the beef joint for our Roast Dinner arrived. Delicious.

A gnarly Yorkshire Pudding, blushing beef, roast potatoes and a selection of veggies. We actually ended up with different veg. They were all delicious and perfectly crisp.

Blood sugar a little higher than I would like, but we were due to walk soon after lunch so no point panicking and taking more insulin at this stage. Roast Dinner is notoriously difficult to manage due to the high-ish fat content, so sometimes we use something called a dual wave or square wave bolus. Essentially, these boluses mean the insulin delivery is spread out over a longer period of time to help it match the way the food digests. I didn't do this today as the food seemed to be digesting quickly. I think because the gravy was more sweet and rich than fatty and stock like.

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Onto dessert. We ordered a Strawberry Pavlova and a very civilised Cheeseboard. Cheeseboard for me to minimise the rapid sugar content of my meal. Cheese is high fat though, so I was also bearing this in mind in case I had any low blood sugars during our walk. Fat will really slow down absorption of rescue remedies sometimes! Jelly Babies and the like. 

Both were delicious. I could not tell you what many of the cheeses were except to say I liked all of them except the one closest in the shot. The brie was gone in seconds (me). The blue took a hit from Barry!

Time for a real blood sugar level. The Dexcom is great, but the version I have is not approved for 'no finger stick testing' so I must and do often take a real blood test to be certain. I was actually running slightly lower, which seemed an okay starting level for a walk.

At this point, I was also seeing how much Bolus on Board (B.O.B) I had. This means how much active insulin is left in my system. My insulin pump registers this. The more on board before exercise, the more unpredictable it can be and the greater the risk of going low (hypo).

Here's the back of the Hotel. Very pretty.

We really laughed at the Ha-Ha wall as we had never heard of one. It's apparently a wall which preserves the view of the landscape beyond - basically a hidden drop! And the ha-ha comes from people laughing or being agast as they discover this. I love it!

Some new statues under one of the trees, having an exciting, scantily clad picnic.

The Beach Walk - this is what we were after.

And we made it! With no blood sugar hiccups, just a lovely, scenic walk through heaven scented countryside.

On the way back, Barry let me know I was dropping. I was also designated driver so it was so important for me to be okay blood sugar wise. Hence the blow-by-blow accounts of a real day in the life of a PWD!

I took 3 Jelly Babies to catch it before it fell as this particular version of the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM) always runs about 10-15 minutes behind blood sugar reality. So when this said 8.4 and heading down, if I were to have taken a blood test, it would have been lower than this already.

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A tree which looked really surprised on the way back!

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Free water! We popped into Reception at Chewton Glen on the way back and the kind man grabbed us a free bottle of ice cold water straight from the fridge. Big thank you!

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A real blood test before driving, as is required by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (D.V.L.A.) in the UK. We must have a record of a real blood sugar on our machine within the last two hours at all times when driving. If we have any low blood sugars, we must wait 45 minutes to drive and obviously not be low anymore! I'm pretty sure this is still current regulation and I was good on all scores. 4mmol/L is the floor so no driving if it hits below 4. At 5mmol/L or less - I should be eating a snack. 6mmol/L is a good level. I had one more Jelly Baby and off we went!

Barry kept an eye on my Dexcom for me as I drove. Well, for the parts where he was awake anyway!

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And home inside the 2 hour window before I had to pull over to check my levels again.

A very, very small dinner as this PWD was done with carb. counting for the day!

A wonderful, five star Sunday all round.

Happy Monday to you :-)

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