Driving with Diabetes

Driving with diabetes causes the need to keep things in check.

Driving with DiabetesBy Rachel Baumgartel

We had planned on enjoying ourselves in the mountains over the Thanksgiving holiday by working and playing hard. Working hard would mean being very active – downhill skiing for Greg and snowshoeing for me – without thinking about our day jobs whatsoever. Playing hard would mean delicious dinner meals without too much thought of carbohydrates, other than for Greg’s insulin bolus dosages.

In the end, we ended up forgoing the skiing and snowshoeing, but we went ahead with the huge dinners. Luckily, we still strolled around the town enough to minimize the impact of those carbohydrate-filled meals. And we managed to relax at least a smidgen.

Little did we know, but our adventure would begin the moment we left for home after three days in a slowly developing winter wonderland. Weather reports warned of increasing treacherous conditions along the path that would take us back to our house, but we went ahead with our plans to return home.

We made it about halfway before we needed to stop for lunch. We chose a restaurant only one step up from fast food, knowing full well that it could be a bad choice when it came to fat and carbohydrates. Then again, we figured we’d be home within two hours, too.

Soon after our meal stop, we stopped. For two and a half hours, we waited outside the eastbound Johnson Tunnel. One car filled with silly teenagers threw snowballs at slowly passing cars while a middle-aged man started conversations with other drivers across or behind him.

In our own car, we were experiencing unpleasant side effects of our carbohydrate-rich lunches. I had an insatiable urge to urinate while Greg was extremely thirsty. I checked my blood sugar, which indicated the high end of normal. Our moods matched what symptoms are expected of people experiencing high blood sugar levels. We snapped at each other about one thing or another.

Finally, Greg asked me to prick his finger for testing, as he was trying to maneuver the car as much as the traffic jam would allow.

At that moment, I thought, this will make for a great anecdote for our lives together with diabetes. Here I am, helping him check his blood sugar in the middle of chaos. We waited for the results together and his levels were higher than he’d like, even for a road trip. (He prefers to keep levels slightly higher than normal in fear of a hypoglycemic event while driving.)

With diabetes, we’re always checking. Not long after my help with the meter, we found ourselves on the other side of the tunnel towards home. We stopped again, where my blood sugar levels were normal and Greg’s were still abnormal.

We may not have been able to completely relax and do everything we expected on our special trip to the mountains, but the trip home renewed our bond as a couple where both individuals struggle daily with diabetes.

Read more of Rachel's columns.

dLife's Daily Living columnists are not medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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