The Way Things Are






99 Hours
2005-04-25, 11:19 a.m.

99 Hours, in which I chronicle a business trip to take 2 classes in the frozen tundra of the Great North.

Hour 1 - 1:00 pm: I知 getting my work crap pulled together - computer, power cord for computer, network cable, charger for mobile phone, and packing it in my suitcase and loading it into my car.
Hour 2 - 2:00 pm: I知 sitting in the terminal waiting for my flight.
Hour 3 - 3:00 pm: In the air!
Hour 4 - 4:00 pm: Oh, no. DFW International. I can feel my soul being sucked from my body, just a little.
Hour 5 - 5:00 pm: Back up in the air!
Hour 6 - 6:00 pm: Still in the air. Which beat the alternative, I guess. Yay.
Hour 7 - 7:00 pm: Ahh, Minneapolis. Why isn稚 it cold here?
Hour 8 - 8:00 pm: At the hotel. This place is just a wee bit ratty, but the room service bistro burger, featuring brie, is mighty good. Dog the Bounty Hunter is on! I知 in heaven.
Hour 9 - 9: 00pm: Travel exhaustion settles in, and I must retire.
Hour 10 - 10:00 pm: Sleeping.
Hour 11 - 11:00 pm: Wakeful restlessness begins. Why did I end up with a room across the hall from the ice machine? Its incessant groaning and churning alarms me.

Hour 12 - 12:00 am: Sleeping.
Hour 13 - 1:00 am: And now I知 awake!
Hour 14 - 2:00 am: And now I知 asleep.
Hour 15 - 3:00 am: And now I知 awake!
Hour 16 - 4:00 am: I知 still awake! Why must this be?
Hour 17 - 5:00 am: Ahh, back asleep.
Hour 18 - 6:00 am: And here痴 the alarm.
Hour 19 - 7:00 am: I知 walking to the Hilton, where my check in for my conference.
Hour 20 - 8:00 am: Eating breakfast with co-conspirators and like-minded individuals.
Hour 21 - 9:00 am: Back at original hotel for class. Instructor is hilarious very irreverent. This will be fun.
Hour 22 - 10:00 am: Class. I知 not learning very much, but I知 having fun.
Hour 23 - 11:00 am: Class. See above.
Hour 24 - 12:00 pm: Lunch. Fetch tuna sandwich from deli down the street, and eat in my room while reading R is for Ricochet.
Hour 25 - 1:00 pm: Back in class.
Hour 26 - 2:00 pm: Getting very sleepy.
Hour 27 - 3:00 pm: Group project. Just answering questions, looking at scenarios, trying to figure out what痴 right and what痴 wrong. And I知 right! Hooray! Am genius!
Hour 28 - 4:00 pm: Class is out. I知 on my own.
Hour 29 - 5:00 pm: What痴 this? Can it be? I知 working out! I brought my lil dvd player and workout disc, and I知 working out in the hotel room.
Hour 30 - 6:00 pm: Second shower of the day.
Hour 31 - 7:00 pm: Walk to Thai food restaurant for take-out.
Hour 32 - 8:00 pm: Having eaten another meal in the solitude of my room, I get out my needle, thread and too-long pants, and commence to hemming.
Hour 33 - 9:00 pm: What痴 on tv? I don稚 even remember. Dozing. Snnnkkkkkkzzzzz.
Hour 34 - 10:00 pm: Soundly sleeping.
Hour 35 - 11:00 pm: Still sleeping.

Hour 36 - 12:00 am: I am still sleeping.
Hour 37 - 1:00 am: Still sleeping even yet.
Hour 38 - 2:00 am: Up to pee like a racehorse, and then I知 back down.
Hour 39 - 3:00 am: Sleeping.
Hour 40 - 4:00 am: Am still sleeping. This is good.
Hour 41 - 5:00 am: I wake up because this is when I get up at home, and hell, it痴 starting to get light outside.
Hour 42 - 6:00 am: Dozing contentedly.
Hour 43 - 7:00 am: And here痴 the alarm.
Hour 44 - 8:00 am: Breakfast in my hotel with co-conspirators, including one 笛ohn, who will figure mightily in upcoming hours.
Hour 45 - 9:00 am: Class. Very interesting. Very motivating teacher. John sits next to me, sets 3 kit-kats on the table, tells me that as a Type 1 diabetic, his blood sugar tends to dip sometimes, and proceeds to eat candy from the complimentary hotel candy dish on the table. He says he injects insulin 5 times a day, and that痴 what keeps him alive. I am alarmed, but he seems to have a system in place to keep it all under control.
Hour 46 - 10:00 am: I知 still in class. But luckily, it痴 almost time for a potty break.
Hour 47 - 11:00 am: Imagine this. I知 still in class.
Hour 48 - 12:00 pm: Yay! Lunchtime! I go to a Chinese buffet with a friend who was in Wednesday痴 class.
Hour 49 - 1:00 pm: Class starts up again. John痴 arm is bleeding a bit from his latest injection. Poor man.
Hour 50 - 2:00 pm: I知 still here. The instructor continues to ask me questions about housing markets and whatnot, the kind of stuff I should know, but I don稚. I blush mightily.
Hour 51 - 3:00 pm: What do you know? Still in class.
Hour 52 - 4:00 pm: Class is over. Run down to my room to change clothes.
Hour 53 - 5:00 pm: Our class has a field trip! To see actual affordable housing developments in Minneapolis. This is very interesting. What I find most interesting is that these paragons of affordable develop apparently run on a frayed shoestring like the ones I oversee. Maybe I知 not such a lame-ass after all.
Hour 54 - 6:00 pm: The field trip continues, but now we池e all trying to decide where to eat dinner.
Hour 55 - 7:00 pm: Thai it is. Second day in a row for me, but I like it so much, I don稚 mind at all. Here痴 something important: John mentions to me that his blood sugar is feeling a bit low, and he wishes his spring rolls would hurry up. I offer to run across the street to Target to get him a kit-kat, but he eats a glucose tab that he has in his pocket. All is well. The spring rolls arrive and he eats with much relish.
Hour 56 - 8:00 pm: Dinner over, my ass is freezing, and I race-walk back to the hotel for another evening sitting in my hotel room, hemming yet more pants I was too lazy to do at home. At least it gives me something to do, right?
Hour 57 - 9:00 pm: Exhaustion overtakes. Must sleep.
Hour 58 - 10:00 pm: Ooops! Back awake.
Hour 59 - 11:00 pm: And now I sleep.

Hour 60 - 12:00 am: And now I wake. What the hell?
Hour 61 - 1:00 am: Sleep.
Hour 62 - 2:00 am: Awake. Something scares me. Lights flash across my ceiling, like car headlights, except I知 9 stories up, and these lights are coming from my door, not the window. I知 a little freaked out. Did someone flash a flashlight through my peephole?
Hour 63 - 3:00 am: Sleep badly the rest of the night.
Hour 64 - 4:00 am: And now I知 awake.
Hour 65 - 5:00 am: Awake for good, it appears.
Hour 66 - 6:00 am: This fucking sucks. I壇 like to sleep. Snnnnnnkkkkzzzzzz.
Hour 67 - 7:00 am: Andthere痴 the alarm. Oh woe is me.
Hour 68 - 8:00 am: Breakfast in the hotel. There痴 John reading his paper. He joins me at my table, and we chat with others who sit with us.
Hour 69 - 9:00 am: Last day of class starts.
Hour 70 - 10:00 am: I need to pee. Can I hold out another 15 minutes? Did John party last night? Because he seems to be nodding off and then jumping back awake. No, it seems that John has Tourrettes on top of diabetes. No, that痴 not it. The man is having a seizure.

Oh shit! Our instructor asks him loudly, John are you okay? John stars vacantly at him but cannot respond. I ask him, and get the same stare. Oh shit! I announce that John is a very insulin-dependent diabetic and that his blood sugar can get really low. People ask me if there is medicine he takes. I tell them that for low sugar, you eat candy. I get up to run to the office to ask for emergency services (why didn稚 I just call 911 on my cell phone? I am useless in an emergency).

As I go flapping about in a panic, looking for folks in authority at the hotel or the course I知 taking, other folks gather around John to fan him, as he is sweating profusely, and start putting candy in his mouth. He is able to chew feebly.

When I return to the room, folks in authority have brought hotel management in, somebody is on the phone with 911, and somebody else has brought orange juice. I open one of the juices, hold my hand under John痴 chin, and start pouring juice into his mouth. He is able to swallow. A straw is offered, but he can稚 suck, so I toss it and continue to pour in the juice.

My heart leaps and I give thanks and praise to God when John痴 hand comes up and grasps the juice bottle around mine. He痴 coming back. He comes back with a vengeance. He wants no ambulance, no paramedics. I laugh and tell him it痴 too fucking late for that we all need emergency services by this time.

The paramedics arrive, and the rest of us back off. John announces with a drunken bray, 的樽 A LIL HYPOGLYCEMIC! Well, no shit. They test his blood sugar, and it痴 at 30. This is after all the candy and juice. They give him an IV with glucose, and order him to eat a turkey sandwich, which arrives very quickly. A second blood test puts him at 200. John says he is now high as a kite.

After John vehemently denied hospitalization, and class settled down, I asked him what his blood sugar is supposed to be. He said that my internal thermostat most likely keeps mind at around 80-100. And that his has gotten into the 20s before. I have no doubt it was in the 20s when the seizures started.

Hour 71 - 11:00 am: John is a rather wiry, hyperactive person. He fidgets a lot. Every time he shifts in his chair, I glance at him to make sure he痴 not going into another seizure. At one point, after some protracted fidgeting, I lean over and ask him 鄭re you okay? He response that he痴 fine feels normal. I tell him that I知 going to ask him that question every 30 minutes FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. He laughs, but I知 sure he痴 appreciative, somewhere deep down.
Hour 72 - 12:00 pm: Thank you, God, for lunch. I needed to get out of that room. Chipotle. Good.
Hour 73 - 1:00 pm: Class starts back up. We listen, we learn. What I have learned most of all is that I need to expand my staff, and that I need to stop being so prickly and antisocial and at least ACT like I like other people and my job.
Hour 74 - 2:00 pm: Class wraps up. We get out early today because we spent a couple hours field tripping the night before. There are many hugs and handshakes, and John is grabbed in a bear hug by more than one person. Not by me I知 not that demonstrative. I am still shaky and I知 sure I stink of panic sweat.
Hour 75 - 3:00 pm: In my room, I read. I finish R is for Ricochet.
Hour 76 - 4:00 pm: Deciding that I知 still shaky and a little obsessive, I work out. Yes, I worked out in my hotel room again. Am dedicated and fat of ass.
Hour 77 - 5:00 pm: Finished working out, and I have decided I need a walk. It痴 very cold now. A cold front has moved through and it痴 about 40* by my estimate. I walk for about 20 minutes, down to Loring Park and back, and am pelted by spitting rain that feels at times like it might be freezing.
Hour 78 - 6:00 pm: Sufficiently exhausted, I shower and then begin packing for the trip home.
Hour 79 - 7:00 pm: I知 hungry, so I order a grilled chicken sandwich and fries, thereby eliminating any benefit I might have gotten from all the working out and walking.
Hour 80 - 8:00 pm: I致e settled down to watch tv and doze.
Hour 81 - 9:00 pm: Exhaustion calls, so lights out.
Hour 82 - 10:00 pm: I proceed not to sleep.
Hour 83 - 11:00 pm: And some more not sleeping.

Hour 84 - 12:00 am: Ahh, sleep.
Hour 85 - 1:00 am: And I知 awake. Who knew that a Friday night was such a busy time for the ice machine?
Hour 86 - 2:00 am: Sleep.
Hour 87 - 3:00 am: Awake. Damn you, ice machine!
Hour 88 - 4:00 am: Awake. Fucking ice machine. And who drinks a coke at 4 in the morning? Is it too late to request a room change?
Hour 89 - 5:00 am: I sleep.
Hour 90 - 6:00 am: And here痴 the freaking alarm.
Hour 91 - 7:00 am: Coffee in my room. That痴 better. Let痴 go down and wait for the shuttle.
Hour 92 - 8:00 am: This shuttle is the one that meanders all over town. Where does the driver think any extra people are going to go? We池e packed in here, and I can smell my neighbor痴 breath. I think of offering him a mint but decide to just look awake and not breathe whenever he talks.
Hour 93 - 9:00 am: Caribou Coffee a small coffee of the day, and a lemon scone. I love scones, but why? They are like a kind of crumbly dried-out biscuit.
Hour 94 - 10:00 am: We池e flying! Wee! I have to pee.
Hour 95 - 11:00 am: Still flying. I知 reading Therapy, by Jonathan Kellerman.
Hour 96 - 12:00 pm: Have to pee again. That痴 why I get the aisle seat.
Hour 97 - 1:00 pm: DFW, give me back my soul!
Hour 98 - 2:00 pm: Ahhh, San Antonio. Home. It痴 warm, like it痴 supposed to be in April.
Hour 99 - 3:00 pm: What痴 this? An Old Navy jones? I stop on my way home and get a new pair of jeans in a size that might actually accommodate my fat ass, because these jeans I致e been wearing all day? I can hardly bend my legs.

So what did I learn? I learned more outside of the curricula of the two classes I took than inside. Most of all, I learned this:

When you are in a class or other prolonged time of sitting and listening, and a classmate is an insulin-dependent diabetic, bring some OJ with you. Don稚 be shy. Just bring it. Take it from the continental breakfast buffet, and carry it around with you.

If you notice said Type 1 diabetic jumping and doing a weird jerky version of jazz hands, don稚 be polite. Don稚 look politely away so that you won稚 embarrass him or her about their tics. This is not a tic, it is a seizure of some kind.

Don稚 hesitate to ask 笛ohn, are you okay? If no satisfactory answer is given, do not be embarrassed to help them drink some orange juice.

I keep kicking myself for trying not to notice that John had gone from fidgeting to twitching to jumping. I guess when we look back at any emergency, we tend to pick apart what we did wrong and how we could have responded better. I need to quit doing that, but I wish I hadn稚 been embarrassed for him, and had realized it for what it was. I also wish that I hadn稚 wasted time flapping about, running down the hall and whatnot.

Instructions to self:

1. Retrieve cell phone from purse.
2. Dial 911.

I was talking to my sister on Saturday afternoon, telling her about this, and she said 笛ust like in Steel Magnolias? I told her I didn稚 remember, but she said that when Julie Roberts is at the beauty shop, she starts gripping her chair and jerking her arms and staring, and that Sally Fields feeds her orange juice. So if you have seen that movie lately and remember the scene, it may be a lot like what I was sitting next to on Friday morning. I may have to rent it and watch it, just to see. Although the last thing anybody needs is a movie to make them cry, dammit.

I can cry over real life.

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