In the Keys with the D

Last week I went to Key West, and after much consideration, I decided to go ahead and take my diabetes along for the trip.

My other, more preferred travel partner.

We hear it — and we say it — all the time: you can’t take a vacation from diabetes. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a perfectly acceptable travel partner when it feels like it.

My two friends, husband and I started out the right way: by driving to our destination. It always makes things easier when you’re packing 2 bottles of insulin, six spare infusion sets, an extra box of test strips, a dozen alcohol swabs, 8 juice boxes and a few spare syringes. Oh, and enough feminine hygiene products to successfully stop the Gulf oil spill. (You can never be too prepared, right?) It’s a 10-hour trip from the Northernmost tip of Florida down to the Southernmost, but it’s worth it for the sense of control alone. The view from the Overseas Highway isn’t bad, either.

Looking back on the whole voyage, I’m a little amazed at how un-diabetes-eventful the whole thing was. The only time I really got nervous was right before we jumped into the sea at Sand Key for a snorkeling trip. Even though I’d just inhaled a small cup of disgustingly sweet ice cream, my blood sugar was 66 when we embarked on the snorkeling boat. While I nursed a Coke and watched the snorkel instructor demonstrate the international rescue signs for “Holy shit, I’m 70 miles from land and my blood sugar is low, please come out here with a life preserver and a sandwich,” I was starting to wonder if I should get into the water at all. But by the time we’d reached our destination, I was hovering in the low 100s, so I disconnected my pump, jumped in, and watched parrot fish and and snapper nibble at the coral reef. When I boarded the boat and checked my blood sugar an hour later, I was at a happy 109. Perfect.

Pre-snorkeling, with shamelessly easy pump access.

I think part of the reason I had such an uneventful experience is the “Who cares?” mood that seems to permeate Key West. I mean, I was riding a bike and swimming multiple times each day, I drank shameful amounts of beer and other alcoholic beverages, and I ate like every meal was my last. But as far as I can tell, I never went over the low 200s or under 50 the entire time we were there. That’s magic.

So sure, you can’t ever take a vacation from diabetes – especially Type 1. But maybe, if you give it enough sunshine and fancy fish dinners and buy it a new pair of flip-flops, you can bribe it into cooperating once in a while.

10 comments on “In the Keys with the D

  1. Karen says:

    I think water cures the D. I spent most of the past weekend on a boat in a lake or river, and my BGs were amazing…as long as I wasn’t on land.

  2. My endo has told me that he wishes every patient of his would go on a holiday like what you did (and I did the same thing in the Keys back in March – drove down from Orlando tho’). Psst, did you stay in Marathon?

    I think because we are ((R E L A X E D)) and not ((S T R E S S E D)) that our D sort of takes a break as well – at making us work so hard at maintaining ourselves.

    I can’t wait for my next holiday near the end of summer – a month of sailing in Lake Ontario – the fact that I have a fear of water – heeling over – makes me forget about having diabetes at times – ’cause I just want to live the adventure of living in a 12′ wide x 30′ length space – it’s actually a slice of heaven – and something we do every year (will I be back on my pump by then – that is the question – hmmm ).

    ~~~~ \\^^// ~~~~

    • Jacquie says:

      We stayed on Key West, but stopped on Marathon and on Islamorada for Lychee fruit and to take pictures and stuff. Each one is beautiful.

      Have fun on your trip!

  3. Your post cracked me right up. I agree, I wish more people and families with diabetic children would take vacations.

    Fun post, thank you!

  4. Lindsey O. says:

    Awesome blog post!
    Seriously, can all diabetics just go on a permanent vacation?? 🙂

  5. Layne says:

    Don’t you just love it when the D plays along and acts right, especially on those ever-important vacays? So glad you had a good trip! Looks like a blast! Hope you drink a margarita for me! 😉

  6. Jen says:

    sunshine, fancy fish dinners, new flip flops…sounds like a good combo and a great step toward a cure. I love it!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Olivejooice says:

    Do you think I can bribe my diabetes with new running shoes??!!

    I’m glad you had a good vacation!!

  8. Nice! Sounds like a really awesome trip!

  9. Rachel says:

    I went to Maui last year and despite consuming what seemed like every carb in sight, my sugars were amazingly stable. Maybe it’s because of stress? Or maybe it is just magic.

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