Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Diabetes Travel Guide

Diabetes and traveling are not always friends.

Sometimes they work well together - sometimes they don't.

I'm currently away at a two-day conference and diabetes is playing nice so far. No highs and no lows - despite sitting all day and eating weird food. Not fried snake weird. Just fewer fruits and veggies and a lot more empty carbs than I'm used to. It's only two days though and I have a run planned for the wee hours so things should be fine.

Being with a lot of people that I know but who don't see me regularly means that they know I have diabetes and are comfortable enough with me to ask questions.

A brief roundup from the day's conversations:

"You have diabetes - so you can't let your sugar go below 7 right?" Nope. Shouldn't go below 4 but I've been as low as 1.0 before. Still alive. "Oh, well my aunt can't let her sugar get below 7. Are you sure you can?". Pretty sure.

"You're having dessert?" Yes indeed I am.

"Are you allowed to drink?" Because I have diabetes or because I'm driving? Yes to the drinking with diabetes. No to the drinking and driving.

"So if your sugar goes too low, what happens?" Call 911. And there is a glucagon needle in my purse if you're feeling keen. "Don't we just give you juice?" Only if I'm conscious. Otherwise I would choke. "Ok, so, if your sugar goes below 7, we give you the needle?". Nope, if my sugar drops so low that I am no longer conscious - then give me the needle. If it just drops a bit and I'm still conscious, juice is fine. But only if I'm below 4, not 7. I'll tell you if I need juice.

"Your pump controls things though right?" No, it doesn't. I just tell it what to do and it does it. It doesn't make any decisions on its own. (Insert loud beeping noises from pump as it proudly announced that I was down to 20 units of insulin).

"How long have you been on the pump?" Three and a half years. "Is that when your diabetes got really bad?". No, the pump is simply another way to take insulin. It works better for me than needles but lots of people prefer the needles. It has nothing to do with how 'bad' my diabetes is (or isn't).

I love that people feel comfortable enough to ask me questions.

It does make me realize how little people know and understand about diabetes though.

And then I start thinking that, if people know so little about diabetes, which is not that uncommon, how little we must know and understand about things that are less common. And how frustrating it must be for people affected by those things who put up with questions and judgement every day.

1 comment:

  1. Fried snake?! Um... yeah, I'm glad I don't have to hear about that wild weird imaginary eating adventure.

    You have a good point though about now understanding even less common things.