I have just returned from an overnight business trip to Seattle. My friends and I drove and were in the car for about 3 1/2 hours from door to door. We got hungry and stopped for lunch about half way through the trip. It was a typical, small roadside diner near the exit off of the interstate with a gas station and an ice machine and nothing much more. When traveling to Seattle, there are long streches of no civilization, so if you're hungry, you kind of have to settle for what you come across since it may be quite a while until the next opportunity presents itself. And that's how we found ourselves in Mrs. Beasleys on Thursday afternoon.
Once inside we scanned the menu and began ordering. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was deep fried. Normally I don't eat deep fried things much, but what could I do? Order and manage it, or just not eat. Frankly, I really didn't think about it much because I was with great friends, having an adventure and I was hungry. I ordered the chicken strips which of course, came with wonderful, crispy fries. And I ate them. I figured out the carbs and bumped up the bolus to cover the inevitable hit the fat would have on my bloodsugar down the road. We ate, we laughed alot and we got back in the car.
Once we got to Seattle we walked around and checked out the cool retail in Belltown. And I got caught up in the fun and forgot to test. One hour, two hours passed after arrival and I just forgot to think about my bloodsugar. I was a bit thirsty but it didn't occur to me that I was high. I drank a big glass of water at the hotel and then finally, checked my bloodsugar. 348. Oh yeah. I had fries for lunch.
We were supposed to go out to dinner as a group but I decided to stay in to deal with the bloodsugar and my aching shoulder. I've learned over the years of traveling with my diabetes, that pace is key. It's not that I CAN'T go out, it's just that I need to pace myself where I can. Restaurant food, different exercise patterns, sitting for hours, walking for hours, lifting bags all manifest in more volatile bloodsugars that require a little more attention than usual. And it's easy to get distracted or swept away by the fun of being with people I enjoy in a place full of stimulation and inspiration. It's easy to forget that I'm not like them. It's easy for me to say it'll be OK.
And in the big picture, it always is. But a 348 bloodsugar takes a while to come down reasonably. Especially when I still have to eat something before the night is out. Because if I don't eat, I can be up in the night with a low bloodsugar, which isn't fun in the first place and much less fun still, in a foreign hotel room. And on the other hand, if I don't get it down below 200, I'm risking being up in the night with a high bloodsugar, trying to take just enough insulin to get it down but not too much to send me into rebound. All of this on a business trip is less than fun and often the case for me.
So I have tried over the years, to minimize the impact of all the challenges that travel presents to my diabetes control. I've figured out the perfect travel pack which means I worry less about forgeting something in the flurry of packing. I've gotten bolder about opting out of the morning to midnight stuff, if it doesn't compromise the business aspect of the trip. And finally, I've learned to cut myself some slack, because regardless of how much I try to plan for all the possibilities, there is always something that happens which isn't exactly what you planned. Like being swept up in the moment of french fries with friends.