I was lucky this year. For Hanukkah, my mom decided to cash in a certificate for a Day at the Spa she'd been holding onto since Mother's Day, and I was to be her chosen companion. Haha! A day of aromatherapy, foot massages, facial treatments, hot mineral baths and herbal teas. What could be better? Weeelll... leaving the diabetes at home for once would have been nice.
Here's how it went:
We left just before 11am and sailed into the City without a lick of traffic. We coughed up the exorbitant downtown parking fees happily, knowing where we were headed. Up, up, up a half-dozen separate curving escalators past sparkling holiday mall decorations, piano music wafting over the din. But wait, it's almost lunch time. I'm not all that hungry yet, but I'm only at 82 and we're gonna be pampering in there for several hours at least. So we stop for lunch, a quick salad plate, which contains garbanzo beans and some mysterious sweet-tasting dressing that surely is sugar-based. So I dose for 25g carb.
Soon enough, we're wrapped in our plush white terrycloth robes, and each being escorted into a "treatment room" by a "technician" in a little beige frock. My "tech" has a heavy Russian accent, and asks me a lot of questions about my health before we get started.
"How is you's health?" she starts.
"Um, good, generally," I stammer.
"You taking medications now?"
"Well, yes, mostly insulin though..."
"Insol? Affect your skin? You take antibiotics?"
"Mainly just a lot of insulin, and a few other ..." (I cut myself off; do I really need to explain the half-tablet of thyroid medicine I take every morning? Can't I just get my facial now?)
She lets it go and begins by dipping my hands in hot paraffin, which first startles and then soothes. Next the hands are wrapped in plastic, covered with big, soft protective mitts, tied up at the wrists with ribbons. Snuggled in the massage "bed" as I am, I feel like an infant wearing giant anti-scratch mitts.
Suddenly she seems to remember something urgent:
"You take off your jewelry?"
"I just stuck most of it in the robe pocket."
"Oh no! You forget it there. Or somebody take your robe by accident... no good."
We compromise by placing my more valuable pieces in a paper cup (which looks a lot iffier to me than the robe pocket, but mittened as I am, I'm in no position to argue).
Cold cucumber rounds on the eyes. Aaaah, the pumpkin face mask, followed by a neck massage.
And then, just as Spa Nirvana should be setting in, the Old Ticker starts up:
Do I detect a slight dizziness? Could my blood glucose be dropping? I WAS only at 82 before the salad, after all...
Oh NO!! Not now... Not with the pumpkin face mask on and the mitts. God, the mitts!! And the robe... which I am NOT wearing... is hanging on the door over there somewhere with my raisins in the pocket... What if someone DOES take my robe by accident?
And WHERE have I left my combo glucose meter/insulin pump? In the flipping locker room! Down the hall to the... right, was it? Oh God, I'm naked on some strange bed with hands and face bound, and no hypo treatments in reach. What HAVE I done...?
Hmm-dmm, ding, ting... the soothing sounds of New Age massage music enter my consciousness. And we've moved on to the foot massage, which feels heavenly -- even if I'm still wondering about how quickly I could reach sugar if needed.
After an hour of this sort of tainted bliss, we are out in the open again headed to the steaming spa pools. Then it dawns on me: with my OmniPod attached to my belly this week, I can't dunk in the jacuzzi. Oh well. I opt for the sauna and "mister" and steam room, where only one co-patron is curious enough to gesture at my pod and ask, What happened?
Later, on the way home, I do feel incredibly refreshed -- a little glowing even. My body certainly enjoyed this precious day away, even if I can't ever turn off the damn mental Diabetes Detection System. Maybe by Hanukkah next year, somebody will be offering a Mental Day at the Spa scenario for us PWDs, ay? Fat chance.