When I go travelling (and that’s a very loose term, given I have never ventured beyond Australia), I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I have packed enough supplies to last me the distance. I give a lot of thought to how I will manage if I get stranded, lost, delayed or even robbed. I pack for the trip through airport security and the plane, in an attempt to make my load as light and convenient as possible.
What I don’t really give a lot of thought to, however, is how I will manage my diabetes on the trip. Travel tends to be a break from the daily grind, and diabetes management unintentionally tends to go onto the backburner. It’s also full of spontaneity which, for me, includes a lot of unplanned carbs (read: Cannoli) and physical activity.
This weekend, my travel plans were a little different to what I was used to. I wouldn’t be travelling by air, with the luxury of being able to sleep, write or watch Netflix from the comfort of my seat. I wouldn’t be sightseeing or walking a lot, either. I would be seated behind the wheel of my car, making a road trip three hours south of Perth to spend some time with family.
This time around, I was increasingly conscious of looking after my blood sugars while I was making my way through country roads at 110 kilometres per hour. I didn’t particularly want to be sharing screen time with my insulin pump, pricking my fingers or thinking all that much about blood sugars.
Even though I would inevitably be eating out, I was increasingly conscious of ordering something that would be simple to carb count. I chose bacon and eggs at a local Dome along the way, with an iced latte. I gave a small bolus for the coffee and half slice of toast that I ate, and ran an extended bolus to cover the protein over two and a half hours.
I might have pulled my Libre reader out three or four times during the drive home, which came back with a number that remained fairly steady the entire time. The most eventful moment was me needing to pull over to take off my jacket as the overcast south western skies transitioned into warm Perth sunshine.
I didn’t spend too much time thinking about my diabetes during the road trip, and the spectacular drive was a surprisingly nice mental break.
During a conversation over the weekend, one of my family members suggested that I must know my body really well, and how it reacts to all of the variables that affect blood sugars. It couldn’t be more spot on.
I have so much accumulated knowledge when it comes to managing my diabetes, and I definitely need to channel some of that into a better game plan next time I hit the road (which is more likely to be a plane).
I’ve vowed and declared never to fly again because of my Type 1 Diabetes. A trip to New Zealand a few years back left me very hyperglycaemic. As I was unable to remove the air bubbles from my cartridge I chose to remain pump free for the duration of the flight. Then there are all the security issues (read “sharps”). Road trips are also challenging, requiring regular blood tests (can’t afford a CGM and can only dream about Looping) because I’m forced to sit for a couple of hours minimum – far from my normal routine..
I have been at this for 44 years and I have no idea how many variables I know. What I do know for certain is that I no almost nothing. My body changes sometimes minute to minute.
For me the key is know that my body always changes, and unlike vacations, that will never end.