Guest Blog: Springing Into Action.
I'm in vacation prep mode BIG TIME (prep = mega spazzing), so I'm grateful that Tony Rose has offered to guest post here today. Tony blogs over at Blogging Diabetes and has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1998. He's been pumping for the last 3 years and is a diabetes advocate. You can find Tony actively participating in the diabetes online community on Twitter (and you can also find me there, too).
He's got some insights on handling diabetes as the weather starts to warm, so take it away, Tony!
As we come up on the nicer weather, many different activities start happening. People are getting out more, there’s yard work to do, traveling, vacationing and just more all-around outdoor activities. With these activities come some important considerations in order to effectively manage diabetes and stay safe.
With more exercise and activity from outdoor tasks and enjoyment, comes a new level of difficulty with controlling blood sugar levels. The first nice day of Spring had me outdoors doing some yard work that had a dramatic impact on my blood sugar. I didn’t need nearly as much of a basal dose and found myself eating just to keep my sugar up. The temporary basal rate on my insulin pump comes in very handy for yard work and that round of golf (walking). Also, it might be a good time to look at and test your basal rate’s effectiveness. This can be dome by testing your sugar, fasting for 4 hours and then retesting to see if your blood sugar level goes up. Consult your doctor to fine-tune that basal.
I have had diabetes for over 10 years and travel frequently. Over this time, I have never had a problem going through airport security with diabetes supplies, like syringes, pump supplies, insulin vials, and so on. Never have I carried a letter from my doctor saying that I am a diabetic and require medical supplies. Sadly, I think the security people are accustomed to seeing the supplies and don’t question it. For more detailed information check out the American Diabetes Association’s web site. A very important consideration that is important to make is taking extra supplies with you. When I travel, I typically take 1.5 times the supplies I would typically need at home. You never know when a flight may be canceled or you could be stranded on a deserted island. I found myself in a situation early on with the pump where one infusion set had lost its stickiness and I was down to my last one. Having no supplies left is not a good feeling and can be avoided by a little proper planning.
To this day, I have never needed a Glucagon injection because my sugar was so low I couldn’t eat/drink to bring it up. What I found is that they expire after a year or two. I know it’s not rocket science to figure that one out, but it’s kind of like, out of sight out of mind. Since I have never used it, I don’t tend to think about it that often. As the fire department recommends in regards to smoke alarm batteries, I would say to check your Glucagon expiration date every year at a minimum to ensure it’s ready if you need it.
I am a big fan of reading when I can and try to do a little every night in bed. As the nice weather arrives, more people may be lounging outside, at the pool or at the beach. One of my favorite things to do while vacationing is to read by the water. I just finished an exercise where I solicited feedback from either people with diabetes or have a family member with diabetes on what they think is the best book related to diabetes. Here are a few that you may want to pick up for when you have some down time.
1. Pumping Insulin by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts
2. The Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution by Richard Surwit
3. Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes by Richard Jackson and Amy Tenderich
4. Sweet Invisible Body by Lisa Roney
5. Cheating Destiny: Living with Diabetes by James Hirsch
Thank you for this guest post opportunity and keep up the great work on SUM!
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Editor's note: Thanks for guest blogging, Tony!