In Part 1, I discussed some steps to take before you even arrive at your new location. Once you arrive and the search for docs and the like are underway, it is critical to really get your bearings.
(Embracing the adventure is a key step in making a smooth transition to a new home.)
Getting Accustomed to New Surroundings
One of the things that concerned me the most was not knowing where anything was, the hours certain stores were open, and what items I could find and where. And I am not referring to who makes the best sushi, where to find that perfect rocky road sundae, or which bike shop has the best service, inventory and brands. (Although to be honest, those three items were very much near the tippy top of my priority list.)
I was chiefly concerned with finding places to grab fast-acting carbs, if needed. I remember walking out of the office on my first break on my first day, searching to find the closest convenience store. I literally spent the first days going out and walking around to establish what was where. This way, if I really needed something, I would know where it was and how to retrieve it.
I watched out the window on the subway noting the times the stores closed at each stop - and which side of the train they were located on. Also filing the visible street vendors, what they served and if they were a cash-only establishment. Although I never needed to jump off the train and grab something, I knew, if I needed to, I would be ready.
Having all of this information made me feel more comfortable and more in control. This not only added to my sense of safety as a person with diabetes, but starting to make the new place feel more like home. "I'm a local," I would laugh to myself.
Getting from Place to Place
One of the most difficult things about being in a new city is, truthfully, not only not knowing where anything physically is, but, as a byproduct, not knowing how long it takes to get anywhere. Oh sure you can use online maps and they will give very good estimates whether you are traveling by foot, bike, car or mass transit. But is that how long it will really take?
Until you are completely accustomed to the ebb and flow of traffic, the roads, the local pro teams, etc., you can BET it will take longer to get from point A to point B.
This is also especially true when it comes to exploring new riding trails and running routes. Until you can ride or run the trails with your eyes closed by memory alone, stops may be have to be made to check maps and the pace will be slower due to navigational requirements.
These variables made me always over prepare for rides and outdoor training activities. I calculated my temp basal with my Omnipod insulin pump, as well as my carbohydrate and hydration requirements, and multiplied by 1.5. Although I never really needed to reach deep into the "reserves," it was great to have the confidence to push just a little farther and worry less about "getting lost" knowing I had planned for that possibility in my schedule.
Embrace the Adventure
Moving is not easy. At all. Especially when you have diabetes.
For all of its good points and all the great reasons that you have been uprooted, boxed your stuff up and left all that you have known behind, it is still very stressful, scary and exhausting.
At first, things might indeed be more difficult than "home.” It takes quite a bit of time - possibly six to 12 months or longer - to really get into the groove.
As previously mentioned, where to find the best Thai delivery, the fitness facility you like and the most effective bicycle wrench comes with exploration. As does knowing which bus to take at what time and realizing when to turn right with the locals while the "tourists" all head to the left.
During my life with type 1 diabetes, most of the more difficult times I've had with blood glucose control were when I was transitioning into a new environment. Bottom line - it's tough.
Focus on the key element, if not THE key ingredient, in making a successful move, whether cross country or just across town, which is keeping a positive and an adventurous attitude. Note little victories, such as not getting lost walking back from the grocery store. Play a game with yourself, like coloring in sections of neighborhoods you have ventured through or highlighting the streets you have explored on a paper map hanging on your bedroom wall.
Make it fun. Embrace the unknown. Be intoxicated by the adventure of it all. It will make the weight of the experience feel significantly lighter and, more than likely, allow diabetes management in the new surroundings to fall into place that much easier.
Changes in your regular routine can make managing diabetes difficult. With insulin pumps, you don’t have to stick to regimented schedules. Click here to learn more about the Omnipod insulin pump and order a free Demo.