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Road Trip with Diabetes

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  3/26/2013 3:00 PM

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Today we welcome back our favorite sky-diver with diabetes, Michael Craig, who’s here to share some exciting news – he’s moving across the country for an exciting new job with the JDRF! Of course, new jobs are stressful and moving is a hassle for anyone. But there’s even more to think about and plan for if you live with type 1 diabetes. Hear how Michael is managing it all and join us in congratulating him on such an exciting time in his life!

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my car, headed East on I-80 towards Detroit, Michigan. My fiancé, two dogs and more duffle bags than I bothered to count are snuggly packed into my car; it’s her turn to drive, so I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the situation at hand. For many twenty-somethings, road-trips for days in the car, moving across the country and/or getting a fresh start in a new city are rights of passage or just plain fun. However, for someone living with T1D, a major geographical change and a 3-day road trip can pose a more interesting challenge.

Moving across the country requires planning and preparation. The first challenge to face was rebuilding my support network in a new city. First, I reached out to my current diabetic specialist in California for a recommendation of a new specialist in southeast Michigan who is familiar with insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology. After acquiring a few names I reached out and set an appointment. After meeting with my new doctor, I’ll ask for a recommendation on a general practitioner, who is also familiar with T1D. Transitioning to a new specialist as seamlessly as possible will be important in helping me adapt to the upcoming changes in my daily routine and schedule. I was lucky to have built a positive and successful relationship with my specialist in California, and would like to achieve the same level of communication with a new team as soon as possible.

The idea of Huck Finn heading off into the sunset with nothing but a knapsack is great, but for me – I have a little extra ‘baggage.’ Making sure I have enough pump, CGM and test supplies is first on the list. In order to make sure I don’t end up stranded without supplies upon my arrival, I updated mySupplyConection to ensure my orders are sent to my new address. Finally, my medical-ID bracelet has an online emergency profile that will need to be updated once I get settled in Michigan with new addresses and physician information.

Now it all comes down to the drive. Making sure my test kit and supplies are easy-access is a high priority. I love McDonald’s cheeseburgers just as much as the next guy, but I made sure to pack healthy snacks that will help maintain steady blood sugars, especially in the face of the added stress and lack of exercise that comes with the 36-hour stretch from Los Angeles to Detroit. Low blood sugars behind the wheel are a big no-no, but especially when you’re headed through the Rockies in the middle of the night. 

We’ve made sure to stop at grocery stores, opposed to gas stations, for snacks along the way like hummus, apples and carrots in an attempt to eat foods that will keep my glucose levels stable and predictable. Being able to view the trends in my blood sugar, via my CGM, has been invaluable when trying to plan pit-stops and decide when to switch drivers. Making decisions based on predictive technology has made the trip much easier. So, as long as the playlists and black coffee don’t run dry, we should be just fine.

Three days from now I’ll start my new job at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). On top of the jitters that come with starting any new adventure, I am considering all the ways my T1D will affect my new daily routines. Coming from a job that was physically demanding, I will have to fit regular exercise into my daily routine, and watch my diet more closely. A new work environment comes with new start and end times, changing lunch breaks and accessibility to food/drinks. In the first few days at work, I’ll have to assess whether or not it’s easy to grab a quick snack in the break-room, or if I’ll have to bring my own. However, I am exited to be working in an environment filled with people familiar with diabetes and the nuances that come along with it. All the stress and excitement aside, I run into the same conclusion again and again: My diabetes is a challenge, but never a burden if I plan properly and use the tools and resources available.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. 
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms. 

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. 
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately. 

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment. 
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.

Comments

Ana-Bella F Dos Santos

Posted on Thu Mar 28 22:11:02 GMT 2013

How is bathing, showering, and swimming handled when you have an insulin pump? I'm assuming it has to be kept dry? How do you do that?
Thank you for the info.

Naomi

Posted on Thu Mar 28 23:20:28 GMT 2013

Hi Ana-Bella, these are great questions! Medtronic insulin pumps are rated water resistant, but not waterproof, so while typically they’re fine in the case of an accidental splash or dunk, we don’t recommend submerging them in water. You can learn more about what to do in these situations by reading our 4 FAQs About Water Activities blog here: http://www.loop-blog.com/blog/4-FAQs-About-Water-Activities. Let me know if you have any more questions.

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