I have been travelling so much for work lately that every spare free moment I have has been spent hanging out with my family so haven’t had time to post. It has reminded me though that those of us with Diabetes have some unique challenges when it comes to travelling.
About a week before I go on a trip, I make sure I have all of my diabetic supplies that I’m going to need while I’m away and for about a week after. If I don’t then my first stop is to my pharmacy to get refills. My pharmacy is really great and is quick at getting all of my complicated pump supplies in. In addition to the pump supplies and the everyday stuff that I carry around, I also make sure to pack my extra pump (thanks to my awesome insurance the restarted in January 2012) just in case the one I’m using were to die on me.
A couple of years ago I was on a business trip to Saskatoon and I had to change out my infusion set and reservoir. Unfortunately I received a lovely error message about my motor not working. I promptly ripped out the new infusion set and tried again. My pump then decided to go completely blank. Of course I didn’t bring any extra needles or insulin pens with me and it was 11pm so no pharmacies were open. Stupid me, I thought I’ll be fine, so I went to bed and promptly woke up with a 26.5 mmol/L. I decided to go directly to a medicentre and to see if I could get some needles. Thankfully I was flying home that afternoon and Medtronic was able to have a pump to me by the next morning. Needless to say I will never travel without some sort of back-up again.
My CDE has always told me that you shouldn’t change the time on your pump until you get to your final location. I have no idea why though which I find really strange as normally I question everything. The problem with this method is I have a horrible memory and often forget to change the time back. This also doesn’t work when you’re driving across the country as you probably are going to go through multiple time changes.
She’s also told me that some diabetics need to give themselves a little bolus or a reduced basal rate in flight as they are either more or less resistant to insulin while in the air. Something to do with the altitude. Thankfully I’ve never noticed a difference in my sensitivity so have not had to change my calculations.
The hardest part of travelling for me is eating out. When travelling for work, I’m usually at the mercy of an admin assistant that books the restaurants or has the lunch brought in. They don’t usually book the most healthy choices but rather what’s closest to the function we’re attending. The only time this isn’t the case is when I’m travelling to do a site visit. Unfortunately my choices aren’t much better. I’m usually grabbing lunch on the fly so tend to choose the first fast food restaurant I can find. Thankfully those choices (while unhealthy) at least have all of the nutritional info online for easy planning. In regular restaurants though there are so many hidden carbs and I always seem to over or under estimate which leads me to dealing with it late at night at my hotel.
Planning ahead is so key to making a trip easier on your diabetes.
Thankfully my work travelling is finished for the next little bit and now I can focus on my vacation planning. My husband, son, and I are heading for a two week road trip to the US. My husband’s family is having a mini-reunion in Omaha (where most of them live). He’s the middle child of 5 and all but 1 are married with 1 kid. We’ll be there for about a week and it should be great.