Today’s schedule was social. The purpose of my trip to Santa Fe was to meet with Gretchen Becker, and it was a great success.
Gretchen and I both have type 2 diabetes and write about it. We have worked closely together for about a dozen years, corresponding by email and phone calls. She has helped me on many articles and I have reciprocated. Gretchen has now written three books about diabetes, one of which, The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, is, as I have often written, undoubtedly the very best book for anyone who gets this disease.
We both post articles regularly on HealthCentral.com. Her focus is the humor of diabetes, something important but very difficult to pull off. She pulls it off incredibly well. I often find myself laughing out loud as I read her articles. Of course, she also writes serious articles too, which are equally important.
Gretchen came here from her farm in Vermont to meet with college friends, Ann, who now lives in New Hampshire, and Virginia, who now lives in San Diego. They graciously invited me to join them and welcomed me warmly.
We went out to dinner together to a Mexican fish restaurant last night. Today we went together to the Bandelier National Monument, about 45 miles northwest of Santa Fe. Here, the Ancestral Pueblo people lived in caves and in a oasis-like valley from about 1250 to about 1600.
Here Gretchen and I pose together at an overlook over the valley.
We walked for an hour or two on a wonderful loop trail around the kiva, the pueblo, the cliff dwellings, and a nature trail along the stream that runs through the valley.
Here is what is probably a natural formation. But it sure looks like a sculpture!
We all decided ahead of time that we wouldn’t climb the ladders to look into the cave dwellings. But when we got to them, they weren’t too bad, so we went up to look at how the people lived. It was clear to me that I would have been awfully uncomfortable living in those small caves with my height.
We were back to the motel in Santa Fe by 1 p.m. That was exactly the right time for me. I had an appointment in Albuquerque to meet with John Maynard, the vice president of development and engineering for VeraLight, at 2:30. That company is in the final stages of making a new device, called the Scout DS. It will be used for diagnosing diabetes and pre-diabetes.
But it will also tell us our levels of advanced glycosylated end-products (AGEs), which in high levels are damaging to our hearts. I am most interested in this function, because I have written a lot about AGEs, which are still little-known.
When I was in Chicago for the American Diabetes Association convention in June, I took the opportunity to be tested for my AGEs level with a similar device that a Dutch company is working on. My friend, Karen LaVine, a certified diabetes educator in Albuquerque, made the great suggestion that while I was in New Mexico I check out the similar device at VeraLight is developing.
Fortunately, my AGEs levels tested low at 24.1. “Pretty damn good,” John said.
This evening I got back to the motel just in time to go out to dinner at an (East) Indian restaurant in Santa Fe with Gretchen and Ann. Virginia wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t accompany us. But for the rest of us it was a fitting conclusion to a lovely social day.