It’s been a wonderful week. I had the privilege of traveling to the Hawaiian island of Oahu for this past week and loved every minute of it. Living in Washington, everyone talks about going to Hawaii like people in my home state of Ohio talk about going to Florida: everyone’s been there. “This is your first time going to Hawaii?” people would say to me. I wanted to reply, “How many times do you guys go? Is this like a trip to the tanning booth for you people?!” Cheap tickets out of Portland combined with my sister’s Fall Break made for excellent timing for the Patton sisters to hit up Oahu.
During an earlier visit with my sister in a mostly dissimilar location, I noted that all of the walking and sight-seeing of my vacation seemed to cause pretty stable blood glucose levels, despite increased carb intake. Compared to that trip, our Hawaiian vacation included slightly less predictable amounts of physical activity and slightly higher levels of carb intake (they like their rice in Hawaii!). It probably goes without saying, but my BG was noticeably more stable when we were on the move–walking through the museum at Pearl Harbor, hiking up the crater at Diamond Head State Park, or swimming in the bluest water I have ever seen with my own two eyes. During those days, I would eat and eat and eat, maybe take a unit of Humalog here or there, and still wind up just above or just below 100. (In fact, after one especially crazy day of haphazard eating and running to catch buses, I earned my first post on onehundredbg.com. It was a happy moment, indeed!)
The personal frustration came in its own doses, however, with the sitting. And the trekking. And the traveling, in general.
My dad, who has led his fair share of risk-management trainings in his day, would always say that vacations can be some of the most stressful times of your life. Why? Because of all the decisions that you have to make. Every day, everything is up for grabs. Even if you have things planned out, the unpredictable circumstances of a vacation always find their way into your “plans” and you find yourself re-planning. Such was the case with our trip to Oahu. There was no such thing as a “typical day” for my sister and me and I struggled to keep track of food–carbs and otherwise–and insulin timing. My doctor still describes me as “insulin sensitive,” so I usually respond pretty quickly to the Humalog I inject, and that got me in trouble a few times this trip. So did the hurry-up-and-wait-ing that often comes with vacation.
For example: I would eat a reasonably healthy breakfast (fresh papaya, fresh juice, handful of SunChips, possibly some string cheese), run to catch a bus, then sit still for up to 45 minutes while we traveled over to Waikiki from Kailua. I almost always give my insulin after I eat due to issues with digestion, so I would sometimes wait until we were on the bus to do my injection. Before we got off the bus, I would be high as a kite, but after 20 minutes of walking around the touristy town, I’d plummet down low. The same thing happened when I took insulin for the breakfast I ate the morning that we decided to walk straight uphill for 30 minutes in search of a cool look-out point in our neighborhood; I ate a carb-heavy breakfast, took less-than-usual Humalog, and had to stop after 15 minutes of walking to eat half of the low supplies I brought with me for the whole hike.
Still working all this out. Definitely looking forward to our next Sports and Diabetes Group Northwest workshop, which is titled, “Food, Glorious Food.”
This is just the diabetes view of my trip, of course. There are plenty of other stories involving luaus and leis and lingering heat rashes that have nothing to do with diabetes. And with that perfect 100 BG stuck right in the middle, it was a trip I’ll always remember.