I love to travel. I hate to travel.
Does that sound like an oxymoron? Absolutely, and yet, if you’re a parent or a diabetic or just someone who gets overwhelmed by stepping out of a familiar routine, you can appreciate both ends of this spectrum. Traveling is one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. It is something I’ve tried to introduce to my children. Mainly because I want them to see how big and wonderful the world is and to appreciate its grandeur, but also how to live a life that’s fluid and can adapt based on the situation. With that in mind I have to be willing to do the same, which requires me to break from my daily diabetes management routine of when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, when to exercise, when to bolus, etc. For Christmas, we dispensed with gifts and decided to devote Santa’s bounty to a trip to Universal Studios Florida. Soaking up the sunshine and riding rollercoasters? Let’s go!
We left on December 27, driving 12 hours through holiday traffic down Interstate 95 to Orlando. The next day, we arose early and checked into Islands of Adventure, ready to embark on an all-day extravaganza of fun.
But herein lied the rub.
As much as I loved travel and looked forward to the day, I also was skittish. We would be eating when we could, we would be walking all day (burning more glucose), we would be limited by food choices. Needless to say, I created a diabetes management game-plan to combat fatigue and hypoglycemia. I would keep snacks on me throughout the day, I would carry a drink with more sugar (like Coke) in case my glucose level plummeted, I would make sure to check my glucose levels more often. I also took the time to talk to my two daughters about the day and how to help me in the event something strange happened, such as a sudden high or low. They had been forced to endure this lecture many times before, but I didn’t want them to take it for granted because of the new environment.
Prepared, we spent the next two days touring Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. While we were there, we had to deal with long lines on our feet, moving from ride to ride, and eating when we could fit it in. We had a blast! My girls were great, and I took a cautious approach to keeping the blood sugar stabilized, sometimes turning off my PDM to keep the levels higher to compensate for long hours between snacks. And it worked! No major sugar issues with highs or lows, plenty of energy to handle a busy and active day. I was able to take away the fears and focus that energy in a positive manner.
After two days in the parks, we made the long drive back to Charlotte on December 30, happily exhausted. I was tired too, but the fears I had had been abated, and my love for travel with my two beautiful daughters had shone through.