Travel and Diabetes
I thought today I would wrap up my travel series with some tips that I have learned while traveling the country. I am sure others have better, more up to date or even contradictory opinions. Feel free to disagree or correct if you are so inclined.
Getting to and from your destination can destroy your blood sugar. Prior to using a pump there were times I felt that I could not push enough insulin to keep my blood sugar under control. So while flying testing is the most important thing. I suppose the rule should be test early and often much like voting in our state. Second, when traveling I have found that food is a problem. In the airport, you usually have many food choices and for some reason they all have more calories, more fat and more carbohydrates. I had been eating subway for lunch for several months and I found an airport subway. They had a limited menu and that menu just ruined my blood sugar. The combination of travel, a different sandwich and likely different recipe for the bread really wrecked me. I was off kilter for a few days and that ruins any good trip.
Rushing can lower your blood sugar so in an airport try to allow adequate time between flights. Invariably, if you land at gate C27 your connection will leave from gate A14. That means a tight schedule can upset your blood sugar and ruin your day. Running in airports can cause a low or because of adrenaline a high once you get to the gate. Medical supplies should never be checked if you want them later in your trip. I know that seems a ridiculous statement but if you will need it do not check it. if you do check it you know it will get lost. Check that extra bag of syringes and you will run out while the airline delivers your bag 5 days after your trip to the place you were going. That brings me to another point always write you cell number on the bag tag and if you remember put it inside as well. Doing this gives you the best chance of getting it back someday.
When I was traveling for business in particular, and staying in high rise hotels, I tried to bring a small bag and pack it once I got to the room. I put syringes, insulin, and my spare meter in the bag, that way if the hotel had to be evacuated I had a go bag ready to fly out the door.
Know where your insulin is at all times. In my experience syringes and insulin are nearly impossible to replace in a state that you do not live in. Doctors are licensed by state so if you do have to replace a prescription it will require a visit to a clinic like a med check or ER, and you have to hope you can convince their doctor to call your doctor and then hopefully that their doctor will take the word of your doctor. In a tough spot, your prescription is not enough to bail you out.
Keep track of your pants. Ok that is just for me. But seriously diabetics have to gather lots of stuff as they leave a room in a hurry. Knowing where your clothes are reduces that time. In my experience hotel rooms look very foreign when the smoke alarm is going off. Finding all the stuff you need to get out and make sure you are set for the remainder of your trip is tough, in a hotel getting out alive for a diabetic means planning in advance.
If you are traveling with others agree on a place where you will gather. The car or the front doors are good reference points. Do this once and it will sink in for the future. Shoes are very important while traveling. Tearing up your feet is not fun no matter where you are. Generally while you travel your feet are under stress anyway, poor fitting shoes are miserable. Take some extra bandages just in case. I find a few band aids are plenty. Usually everything costs more while on the road so if you can avoid the hassle of buying high it is worth the effort.
Either take or scope out food upon arrival. If you need something in the night it is easier to get it if you know where to find it in advance. Along with it keep some change handy. It is a hassle but $2.00 to $5.00 is plenty in an emergency.
Finally have fun. New places are the reason we travel and just because we are diabetic does not mean we should miss out. Sure it is a hassle but it is well worth it following some small tips will lesson stress later. I know others have good or better suggestions, have at it.