Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes
This past weekend was my first real vacation traveling with Type 1 Diabetes, and I discovered that it required more planning than my former, pancreas-working life. When you’re eating away from home, you don’t know exactly what’s in your food. I mean, you have a pretty good idea of the ingredients, but compared to actually making the food yourself, you’re not as precise on the carb count, which us diabetics are most concerned about. Coupled with vacation activities that aren’t the most needle-friendly, you can really go off target!
I discovered this throughout my weekend away from home. On Saturday, we went for a hike and I was not prepared for a low (no sugar on me – nor a glucose tester). When I started to feel shaky and sweaty, I immediately decided to turn around, fearing an impending low spell. (I always carry sugar on me. Why didn’t I this time?) When I got home, I was at 70 and was glad I turned around when I did.
On Sunday, I got low again on the way to the airport (54), but this time I had pretzels and gummy bears with me! Schwing! However, then we decided to go to Del Taco and I failed to give myself a shot. Blame it on the French fries, or the inconvenience of going through airport security, but I needed 2 units of Humalog! Finally, when I got on the plane, I tested myself and was at 212. Damn; I hadn’t been that high in months…
Here are a few travel tips that I learned over the weekend:
- Always carry a fruit bar on you; it may prevent you from going home early.
- Traveling is not the most convenient for testing your glucose levels, but do it as much as you can.
- When you’re dining out, try to order things that are the most predictable to count carbs. That sautéed lamb may not be as easy to predict, compared to the grilled fish.
- Tell the people that you’re traveling with about your diabetes. They’ll be supportive of your testing and injections!
- Don’t be afraid to give yourself a shot in public. People will understand, and your body will thank you.
Until next time,