When you read about travelling and diabetes, you are told about the practicalities:
Pack twice as many diabetes supplies as you think you’ll need.
Carry a letter from your healthcare professional explaining you have diabetes to give to security personnel.
Don’t forget hypo food.
All of this is great advice and definitely things to consider when packing and planning a trip.
The theory of travelling and diabetes is different for every person and every trip. And every trip I learn something new – and not everything I learn is about diabetes!
Hotel cocktail hours are a great way to wind down from a busy day at a conference, read and respond to work emails and write a blog post of the day’s activities. Hotel cocktails are the work of the devil and their contents cannot be measured ensuring effed up BGLs for the remainder of the evening.
Don’t ever assume that people will know what an insulin pump is. We went through seven security checkpoints (Melbourne, Dubai (x2), Vienna, London (x2), and Amsterdam) and at all bar one I set off alarms and was given a pat down. Each time I asked the security attendant if they had seen an insulin pump before and apart from in Melbourne, the answer was no. (For the record, it was Amsterdam airport that didn’t cause any problems. Perhaps not surprisingly….?)
Don’t try to explain an insulin pump to said security guards who have never before seen such a device. Case in point:
Me: I am wearing a medical device here. It is shaped like a box. I can show it to you.
Security attendant (SA): Yes please.
Me: Here it is. It’s an insulin pump.
SA: Is it a pace-maker?
Me: No. An insulin pump. For diabetes.
SA: Oh – a pace maker. For your heart?
Me: No. It gives me insulin…medicine. For diabetes. Diabetes?
SA: Ah – you have a heart problem.
Me: …..Um. Okay. Yes. Yes.
SA: Thank you. All good. You can go.
The Natural Confectionary Company jelly snakes taste different in London to in Australia. No idea why; they just do.
Jet lag is cruel, evil and soul destroying. I say that as I write this not knowing what day it is; what country I am in, or how to spell my name.
Riding a bike around Amsterdam will cause hypos. Most people who have half a brain and have lived with diabetes for 16 years would know this and therefore make appropriate considerations to the quantity of insulin they give themselves. I am not one of those people.
Walking around cities will cause hypos. See above.
Eating Sacher torte for breakfast may not be nutritionally ideal, but it’s fun and delicious and a lovely way to start the day. And if you have it with whipped cream, you’re getting a serve of dairy. #PracticallyHealthFood #OkayThatWasALie
Being prepared for any contingency is a really good and smart and important idea. But it is a bloody pain to have to carry a whole suitcase (of carry-on luggage) with all the spares only to bring most of them home.
It’s possible that while I will tell everyone that seeing Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’, going to the Rijksmuseum, visiting The Anne Frank House and going to see ‘L’elisir D’amore’ at the Vienna Opera House were all amazing and incredibly culturally enriching, the thing that got me most excited was going on the Harry Potter Tour at Warner Bros. Studio and riding a broomstick.
Travelling is fun; attending conferences about diabetes is eye opening; visiting new places is a privilege; catching up with DOC friends in real life is magical. But. Missing our little girl hurts like nothing else, and being greeted by said little girl late at night as the cab pulled up in front of our house is the sweetest thing ever. Coming home? Nothing ever beats that. Not even riding a broomstick.
Community Service Announcement for those in Australia affected by daylight saving which kicked in yesterday making it even harder for me to have any clue what freaking day it is.
You are welcome!