Tag Archives: travel

Wordless Wednesday: New Orleans

This is a diabetes blog… but it’s also a personal blog.

I spent time with friends last weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. Yes, my friends were living with diabetes, or they were important people in the lives of those living with diabetes. It was not a conference. This was all personal. And wonderful.

But I did take some photos! Here are a dozen ways I saw New Orleans last weekend.











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Checking In.

Hi… how are you? I’m doing well now, thanks.

When I started this blog over four years ago, one of my goals was to keep sort of a history of my life with diabetes. So every now and then, I sit down and chronicle what’s been going on in my world. Partly for me (it’s my blog, after all); and partly for any family (and you’re family) that may come by, now or later, to find out what was really on my mind back in the spring of 2016. So here’s the latest:

You probably know I’ve been traveling a lot. Las Vegas in March, Northern Virginia a couple of weeks ago, California a few days after that. On the way home from Las Vegas, I had a cough, but I attributed it to the dry climate, and thought I would be better once I got home. Then, on my flight home, I wound up next to someone with a mask on (or off and on) through the flight, who was coughing a lot. A couple of days later, I was real people sick, which turned out to be bronchitis, which I never had before. It was treated, but apparently not enough, because a couple of weeks after that, I came down with something else I never had before: pneumonia. Long story short, a couple of weeks of antibiotics, and I’m back to my old self. Thank goodness, ’cause I felt pretty awful there for a few days. Pneumonia takes no prisoners.

Traditionally, my blood sugar runs high when I travel. Chalk it up to a mixture of food I don’t always eat (and thus have trouble bolusing for), and the fact that I’d rather be high than dangerously low when I’m in a hotel room by myself.

But lately, travel has been no trouble at all. Except for one weird breakfast occurrence in Los Angeles where, after breakfast, I found myself low, then ate the carbs I intentionally ignored over breakfast, then suspended my pump, then ate candy, then ate Skittles (thanks Karen). That kind of low doesn’t happen very often. It must have been the animated conversation.

At home, it’s been a revolving door of sorts. It seems like just when I get home, The Great Spousal Unit is headed somewhere herself. So there has been a fair amount of time at home alone for both of us, though we did travel together for the Friends for Life Falls Church event (and I’m super grateful she decided to come with me/let me drag her down there).

Here in Maryland, it’s finally spring. The azaleas are blooming, I have to mow the grass once a week, and plans are being made for throwing mulch down in multiple beds around the yard. I also put up a new window box for Maureen. She was ecstatic.
WindowBox
I got the vegetable garden started over the weekend (which is a week or two late for me– blame travel and the weather), so in a couple of months at most I should be feasting on home grown lettuce just about every night. I can’t wait.

The BGs at home have been playing nice too, mostly. I just have the feeling that my basal rates are really good right now. My dietary bolus needs have changed a bit over time… does that happen to you too? I don’t even touch half a bagel anymore, let alone a full one. Requires gobs of insulin to bring me back down into range, no matter how much I pre-bolus. Seriously, I’m finding that a donut requires less insulin than a bagel these days. Potatoes don’t seem to require much for me now. Bread, on the other hand, is a nuisance. Pepperidge Farm makes a low carb bread that I found a couple of weeks back though, and it actually tastes like bread and requires far less insulin to cover, so when I’m eating a sandwich or toast, it’s at least a decent option.

Other than that, I must admit to going primarily low carb in the last five or six months. Not crazy low carb, but… you know how People With Diabetes say that over the years, orange juice starts to taste like medicine instead of juice? Well, for me, mindless carbs are starting to look like poison to me. I still eat a little of the poison here and there, but I’m also okay with a salad for dinner and something like quinoa rather than rice. My BGs and my weight have responded positively.

Okay, so that’s a lot of my life right now. How’s it going with you? I’d really like to know. Let’s talk!
 

Be safe, take advantage of the opportunity.

Since this blog is about diabetes, naturally, part of it is going to be about my diabetes. Today, it’s about my diabetes and the challenges of travel. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about diabetes and travel on Twitter recently, and a little on Facebook too. Sorry about that. This is what’s happening in my life right now.

First, what this post isn’t: IT IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. Please check with your physician, endocrinologist, or diabetes educator before traveling, and certainly before making any changes in your diabetes routine.

Now, what this post is: It’s a few things I’ve learned over the years. Not exactly what to do for specific circumstances, but rather some things to keep in mind as you travel from place to place. Feel free to add to the list by leaving a comment below. More information is always better than less.

1. Check with your physician, endocrinologist, diabetes educator, or all three before you travel. A no brainer, right? See “What this post isn’t” above. This is especially true if you haven’t traveled for a while. Your medical team may be able to give you expert advice that would take you hours to gather via blogs and other social media. And they can give you a copy of your prescriptions, which is a must to have wherever you are.

2. Changing time zones? Determine a “best practice” scenario for updating pump settings, basal amounts, and dietary needs. I don’t have great advice here, and it’s not backed up by science. Do research (along with your medical team) to find out how to best handle time zone changes, including the possibility of making no time zone changes at all, either with devices or routines (a lot of athletes do this). Again, it’s not backed by science, but what I do is change the time on my pump to match where I’m going when I’m about halfway through my trip. A six hour flight across the country? I change the time to match where I’m going at around the three hour mark. I can’t tell you why this works for me, but it does. Find out what works for you (read #1 above again), and if you can, make it routine.

3. Check your BGs early and often. Travel usually involves a lot of walking, even if you’re just making your way through the airport. Also, a change in time zones, eating out for every meal, and other influences (drinking, anyone?) can make for weird and wonky blood sugar numbers. I have learned, the hard way sometimes, that testing more than I do at home is not only common, it’s necessary when I’m on the road.

4. Never, ever, go to bed with a low or even semi-low blood glucose reading. I don’t care if you’re traveling with your spouse. I don’t care if you’re traveling with someone else. I don’t care if you’re staying at a friend’s house. We can’t always avoid hypoglycemia. But if we’re sure that we’re in a good range when we go to bed, even if the number on the meter is a little high, we’ll be much less likely to encounter a middle-of-the-night low, a disruption to our time away, and a disruption to the time spent with the person we’re with. Again, this is something I’ve learned the hard way. Don’t make my mistakes.

To provide additional peace of mind, consider adding a continuous glucose monitor to help you manage your BGs on the road. Or, if you’re using a CGM now, consider taking it to the next level and employing Nightscout or Dexcom Share technology.

These four things to remember go in addition to the things we already know: Pack enough supplies and medications, wear medical alert information (it may save your life as it has saved mine), and (in the USA) know your rights as a traveler.

As we all know, diabetes is not simple, and it’s not easy. That doesn’t change just because you’re away from home for a few days. In fact, it complicates things. But that is no reason to avoid travel. For me, I think the emphasis needs to be on staying safe and being as ready as possible for anything that might be outside the norm.

Doing so allows me to take advantage of every opportunity possible when I travel. I love to travel. I don’t want to miss out on anything. Managing diabetes on the road can be very different from how I manage things when I’m at home. Remembering these four simple things helps to provide peace of mind for myself, to those I’m traveling with, and those who are waiting for me at home.

Have any outside-the-box traveling and diabetes tips? Feel free to leave yours in a comment below.

Photo Monday.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
This is a (nearly) completely diabetes-free post featuring some photos from my recent business trip to London and my two and a half day stay in Brussels. I’m posting these for myself as much as anything, but I hope you enjoy at least some of them too.

Quickly, the diabetes part: Being in big cities often means a LOT of walking. A lot of walking is still exercise, and I was caught off guard by a couple of lows during the trip. By the way, you should see Sarah’s super blog post at Coffee and Insulin on traveling or living abroad. Otherwise, this was a great experience for me, especially in Brussels where I didn’t speak the language but still managed to keep from getting lost or going hungry.

Here they are… first, the London photos, then the ones from Brussels.

Thanks for looking in. Have a great week!
 
 
London

A panoramic view of Paddington station.  I did not see any bears.

A panoramic view of Paddington station. I did not see any bears.

The Liverpool Street station.  This is Sunday morning, about the slowest time all week.  My hotel was very near here.

The Liverpool Street station. This is Sunday morning, about the slowest time all week. My hotel was very near here.

I actually ate Pheasant Curry... Seems pretentious, but it was also delicious.

I actually ate Pheasant Curry… Seems pretentious, but it was also delicious.

The Hippodrome Casino.  I may have gone inside.  I may have had scotch, neat.

The Hippodrome Casino. I may have gone inside. I may have had scotch, neat.

Picadilly Circus, about 11:00 p.m.

Picadilly Circus, about 11:00 p.m.

I stayed in a nice hotel.  this was one of many paintings on the walls there, and it always caught my eye whenever I walked past.

I stayed in a nice hotel. this was one of many paintings on the walls there, and it always caught my eye whenever I walked past.

St. Paul's cathedral.

St. Paul’s cathedral.

Covent Garden.

Covent Garden.

I thought if they tried to give a place in the USA that name, there would be protests night and day and half of the rednecks in the south would have Dirty Dicks t-shirts.

I thought if they tried to give a place in the USA that name, there would be protests night and day and half of the rednecks in the south would have Dirty Dicks t-shirts.

On the same note, I thought the shape of this building was a little phallic.  Beautiful, but phallic.  Anybody want the office on the top floor?

On the same note, I thought the shape of this building was a little phallic. Beautiful, but phallic. Anybody want the office on the top floor?


 
 
Brussels

Looking down the Rue de la Regence, toward the Palais de Justice.

Looking down the Rue de la Regence, toward the Palais de Justice.

The Belgium parlaiment building.  That's the Belgian flag on the left, and the European Union flag on the right.

The Belgium parlaiment building. That’s the Belgian flag on the left, and the European Union flag on the right.

The Parc de Bruxelles.

The Parc de Bruxelles.

There are city bike stands all over the city.  When I saw this view, I just wanted to get on a bike and ride it all over.

There are city bike stands all over the city. When I saw this view, I just wanted to get on a bike and ride it all over.

Shoppers at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

Shoppers at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

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Grand Place.  This area is extremely touristy.  But the archetecture is astounding.

Grand Place. This area is extremely touristy. But the archetecture is astounding.

The world famous Mannekin Pis.  Meh.

The world famous Mannekin Pis. Meh.

Looking up through Mont des Arts toward the Palace Royale.

Looking up through Mont des Arts toward the Place Royale.

Looking in the opposite direction, from the palace side.

Looking in the opposite direction, from the palace side.

Place Royale

Place Royale

The fellow working on my delicious dinner one night.  Even the Thai take-out food is awesome here.

The fellow working on my delicious dinner one night. Even the Thai take-out food is awesome here.

From my taxi to the train station, my one and only view of the EU general assembly building.

From my taxi to the train station, my one and only view of the EU general assembly building.


 
 
 

Christmas in NYC.

In my continued effort to feel happier and more holiday-like this December, I went with a friend on the bus to New York last Friday. Overall, my diabetes played nice this day.

If you live in my part of the world, you have countless tour bus companies at your disposal who will ferry you back and forth to NYC for the day. In fact, there are two that leave less than five minutes from my house. We take off early in the morning, hit the Big Apple around 10:00, and do and see everything we can until we leave around 6:30 in the evening.

Here are a few photos from that trip. For those of you who haven’t made it to New York before, I’ll try to describe each one. If you live in New York, I know… this is all the touristy stuff. But it’s fun to do during the holiday season. However, I’ll be happy to take your recommendation for a good restaurant in Manhattan next time I visit:)

Here we go:

Ground floor at Macy's Herald Square.  This floor had been done up in red for the holidays for a number of years.  Now it's decked out in white.

Ground floor at Macy’s Herald Square. This floor had been done up in red for the holidays for a number of years. Now it’s decked out in white. Note the figurines in the glass ball hanging from the ceiling. These are all over the ground floor.

Ice skating in Bryant Park.  That's the New York Public Library in the background.  Surrounding all this are scores of gift kiosks and places to grab a quick bite to eat.  No wonder it's such a gathering place.

Ice skating in Bryant Park. That’s the New York Public Library in the background. Surrounding all this are scores of gift kiosks and places to grab a quick bite to eat. No wonder it’s such a gathering place.

The Christmas tree in Bryant Park.

The Christmas tree in Bryant Park.

The Christmas tree at the front of the New York Public Library.  The NYPL is a good place to go any time of year.  In addition to their amazing collection, it's one of the few free places in the city that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The Christmas tree at the front of the New York Public Library. The NYPL is a good place to go any time of year. In addition to their amazing collection, it’s one of the few free places in the city that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

One of the famous lion statues in front of the library, dressed in a wreath.

One of the famous lion statues in front of the library, dressed in a wreath.

The outside of Saks Fifth Avenue.  In the background (look for the yellow & white flag) you can just make out the front of St. Patrick's cathedral, which is in the middle of extensive renovations.

The outside of Saks Fifth Avenue. In the background (look for the yellow & white flag) you can just make out the front of St. Patrick’s cathedral, which is in the middle of extensive renovations.

More ice skaters!  Oh, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

More ice skaters! Oh, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

I've walked past Radio City Music Hall countless times, but I've never been inside.

I’ve walked past Radio City Music Hall countless times, but I’ve never been inside.

Looking down toward Times Square from 49th Street.  If you look up, you can see the crystal ball that will drop on New Year's (where it now says 2014).

Looking down toward Times Square from 49th Street. If you look up, you can see the crystal ball that will drop on New Year’s (where it now says 2014).

This trip did make me feel a little better, for a little while anyway. I hope these photos do the same for you.

Enjoy the weekend!
 
 
 

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