Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Having a Holiday
Me and Gareth are off on holiday on Saturday!!! Two weeks all inclusive in Turkey.....I cannot wait (the picture above is of the Blue Lagoon Beach at Olu Deniz which is just down the road from where we are staying). It was only booked on Sunday which hasn't given me very long to get everything sorted, especially with working all week too. When I say "everything" I mean all the diabetes paraphenalia that has to accompany us on our holiday.
It's not just a matter of chucking a few bikini's and a pair of flip flops in a suitcase for those of us with diabetes.....take the usual kit (consisting of insulin pens (both types), needles, glucotabs, hypogel, glucagon, blood testing meter, lancets, testing strips, cholesterol tablets) and then double it and add the rest of the concoction of tablets I'm on for various things and you've got yourself almost an entire chemist's worth of medication!!! A quick trip to the doctor's to get my repeat prescription sorted and now we can no longer move for medication in our flat!! :o)
I would usually be super organised and plan well in advance and have all my spare medication sorted in plenty of time but there was no time for that this time around!!!
You should always take two sets of medication just in case one gets lost or damaged in any way. One set will be in my hand luggage and the other set in Gareth's hand luggage. Insulin should always be carried in your hand luggage as it could freeze if it is in the hold of the plane.
Then there's making sure there are no problems when getting all of your stuff through security without the Spanish Inquisition. This requires a letter from your GP stating that you are a type 1 diabetic and that you have to carry insulin and needles. I have been really lucky as I think I have only been asked to show this letter once or maybe twice when travelling abroad. Most of the time I tell them at check-in that I am carrying insulin and needles and that I've got a letter if they need to see it and they never bother looking at it. I did once have to hand over all of my insulin and needles to the head cabin crew on a flight to Majorca which I didn't mind as I made sure I spoke to them first and knew who they were and exactly where they were going to store my supplies during the flight. I have never ever had any questions asked at the x-ray machines. As I'm sure you all know, you now have to put all the stuff into clear plastic bags (like freezer bags) so the insulin pens are clear to see and I still haven't ever had anyone ask any questions about what they are or why I've got them.
The weather in Turkey is currently fantastic and the temperatures are in the low 30's (my Mom came back from Turkey on Monday and had had temperatures of up to 48 degrees!!!!!!!) so I will have to think about the fact that insulin can be absored quicker in high temperatures. This will mean testing blood sugars more often to make sure levels are not too low.....but then again, if they are a bit on the low side it's a good excuse for another ice cream by the pool :o)
It is obviously really important to get adequate travel health insurance and diabetes is considered a pre-existing medical condition which must be declared to the insurer before you go on holiday. Many insurance companies don't charge extra for insuring people with diabetes, if they have no complications. Some insurance companies will not replace lost, stolen or damaged insulin or other supplies so it is worth checking with your insurance company as to exactly what you are covered for.
I'll need to make sure we have plenty of food and snacks such as cereal bars with us for the journey (not just because Gareth has a huge appetite....ha ha) in case of any delays and also as there is no in-flight meal and we are flying at 10 to 6 so it will be time for my dinner.
Insulin has to be stored correctly and kept cool as extreme temperatures can reduce it's potency. Polystyrene containers, vacuum flasks, face cloths in a sandwich container, are all useful for storing insulin when on holiday or alternatively special travel-carry systems are available to buy. If a fridge is available in the room it should be used or hotels may be willing to store insulin if asked.
Another thing to consider is that when you are walking around the pool and on the beach is making sure that your feet are protected and if at all possible I would always try not to go barefoot. This is important as if you cut or injure your feet the wound may take a long time to heal which increases the chances of getting an infection. Obviously getting sunburnt is not good for anyone but I need to be extra careful with the skin on my legs as I have Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD) (I have done a previous post on this), particularly on my left shin. I will need to make sure I keep this covered up as much as I can and use plenty of sunscreen on it. When on holiday in Egypt a couple of years ago I managed to get the patch on my left shin quite burnt and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight and didn't heal for months and months so I want to avoid that happening again at all costs.
So as you can see, aside from the usual dilemas of whether you have packed too many clothes and which factor suncream you should buy, there are plenty of extras to think about for diabetics going on their hols. All in all, it's been a bit of a hectic week getting everything sorted but I'm certainly not complaining when I'm soon going to be spending two whole weeks lounging around on a sunbed......
On another positive note, I have seen my dietician today who says she is now happy to tell the pump nurse that I am ready to get started with my pump as I am competent enough at carb counting. I really wasn't expecting to hear this yet as I thought I'd have to see the dietician a few more times to prove that I have got my head around it all so it was a brilliant surprise to hear her say that today. I already had an appointment with the pump nurse for tomorrow anyway so I'm going to tell her what the dietician said today and hopefully this time tomorrow I will have a good idea of exactly how long it will be before I get "connected" to my new toy.....just got to think of a name for her now!!!! Ha ha ha!! :o)
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