Have Diabetes, Will Travel: A Summer in Review

5,249 miles

34 days

18 states

1 oil change

16 site changes

4 Dexcom changes

2 vials of insulin

2 Dexcom Receivers

When Henry was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was afraid to put him in the carseat and drive to the grocery store. What if he was unconscious from a low blood sugar, but I thought he was just asleep?  What if he needed rescue carbs and I couldn’t get them quickly enough?  How was I supposed to drive and watch for symptoms in the rear view mirror? In hindsight, those fears seem silly, but those fears are valid concerns. Slowly, we got back on the road and increased our travels.

Our families live over 850 miles away, so the first winter vacation after diagnosis, we faced the acid test of really traveling with diabetes. We learned a 10% increase in basal would not even touch a high blood sugar caused by sitting in the car for hours on end. We watched the effects of fast food on the Dexcom receiver, as it read HIGH for many hours while we threw insulin at a stubborn blood glucose of 400. We’ve created innovative rest stops, and the less said about this, the better. 

Traveling with children is never easy, and traveling with a child who has diabetes is even not easier. To begin with, there’s the sheer mountainous amount of additional luggage that holds supplies and back up diabetes supplies. You have to calculate for site changes or multiple daily injections (MDI’s) and plan for back-ups if those fail. Insulin should be kept cool, plan for meals on the road (not fast food), and then there’s the absurdly high blood sugars caused by sitting in the car for long periods of time.

Henry can’t do three things because he was diagnosed with diabetes: serve in the military, become a commercial pilot, or a commercial truck driver. I’m OK with this list, but he can do everything else. He can do everything else; it just requires extra planning. Taking grand, long summer vacations is a rehearsal for the other challenges he’ll face while living with diabetes.

We crank his basal up 60% and hit the road, because the effort and payoff is pretty sweet.

meeting Mickey and Minnie at Friends for Life 2015

meeting Mickey and Minnie at Friends for Life 2015

time on the family farm

time on the family farm in the southeast

walking in the Atlantic in Maine

walking in the Atlantic at Maine

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