I'm back! I enjoyed eight days in Dominican paradise, but it was finally time to return back to Canada. The week away was full of high blood sugars and diet pepsi (boo-hoo) but, I managed to enjoy my vacation despite having to bring Mr. Diabetes along with me for ride and trust me, diabetes is quiet the interesting travel companion.
Unfortunately, I don't have an exciting story about crossing the borders with my insulin pump. The pump isn't as mysterious as it once was and security guards and custom officers know what is in my pocket and why my backpack is overpacked with supplies. I got through both the Toronto and Dominican airport without any issues what-so-ever! In fact I didn't even end up mentioning my insulin pump in the Dominican and they didn't even check.
The first few days of my vacation my blood sugars ran super high, in the twenty range (360ish) and it was driving me crazy. I was constantly bolusing taking the maximum bolus possible, which was 14 units for me. I felt like I was just pumping insulin and getting no results. I even thought something was up with my pump until finally one morning I woke up within a normal range, and from there one it started to come down (still on the high side most of the time, but understandable.) The issue wasn't so much the lack of knowledge about unknown carbs from the food, but more so the drinks.
I was sad to find out that they carried Pepsi products, being a hardcore diet Coke fan - or to Dominican's Coke Light. The fountain pops were all Pepsi products and I began drinking 7up instead of diet Pepsi which ended up sending my blood sugars sky rocketing out of control. Then, I started enjoying the lemonade in the morning for breakfast, which also sky rocketed my blood sugars and to conclude the sky rocketing, I was drinking strawberry daiquiris throughout the day at the swim up bar.
I knew going into the trip that high blood sugars were going to become normal blood sugars, and it was something that I had to accept as much as I tried to bolus as much as I could as well as check my blood sugar. It was difficult, but made easier with a pump, as much as I considered going on syringes for my trip (since wearing a pump with a bikini is, well, interesting) I ultimately was happy that I had my insulin pump, so that I could go trigger happy when I was indulging which was 99% of the time.
Over the time there, no one asked me about my site except for two ladies that were local to the Dominican. The first lady was the masseuse, as soon as I said I had diabetes, she insisted I needed a massage, which Vince and I already planned to do. What a nice way to relax by the way, a massage by the ocean!
The second lady asked me in the pool. Vince had gotten out, and just as I went to follow him, she asked me if I spoke English. Her english was decent, as she began to ask me what my site was. She said she thought it was to make me really skinny (clearly, it's not working then...haha!) but once I told her it was for diabetes, she got even more confused. She was un sure what diabetes was. When I began to practice my Spanish by saying, "Soy Diabetico" she still didn't know, then I started to describe it and she shouted, "SUGA" then all of a sudden she recognized the word, but wanted me to teach her how I say it in Canada - 'dia-bee-tees' she then told me that her grandmother has 'SUGA' and she said she doesn't think any children have 'SUGA' in Dominican. After quickly googling now that I am back, I see that diabetes is more common in Dominican than she may have realized, in fact according to the Universidad of Santo Domingo, diabetes is the third cause of death besides heart attack and traffic accidents in the Dominican.
It was interesting to teach her about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and after I showed her my pump once I was out of the water and she was very interested, pushing on my site asking if it hurts. She smiled as she said, "you can eat whatever you want right..." and I nodded and was happy that she understood my little mini lesson. Maybe she will take that information and meet a type 1 somewhere out there! You never know what impact you make or what lessons you teach!