Today’s guest post is by my friend, Leanna Zimmerman. While I’m off hiking the sand dunes in Northwest Indiana with April this weekend, I thought it would be fitting to have Leanna share her recent experience of camping with diabetes. Thanks again, Leanna!
First let me start by saying thank you to Mike for asking me to do this post. I haven’t done a lot of blogging yet but I enjoy writing. Also I don’t consider myself a great writer but I do love to connect with people. All my online D friends mean more to me then I can put in words! This post is covering my camping trip that I took this past weekend with my family. While it is mostly about diabetes related stuff to let you know how my D management went, I will be talking about non-diabetes things about our trip as well to make it a more complete cover of the weekend.
I went camping from Friday the 28th to Sunday the 30th on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in VA. We frequently take weekend trips there as we only live about 3 hours away. If you have never been to this park, I highly recommend that you go. The scenery is beyond amazing and it is overall a lovely place.
We left home early Friday afternoon and on our way to the park it started to rain. We knew there was a chance of rain over there that day but we were hoping that it would stop at a “chance”. Nope! By the time we got to the campground in was raining moderately hard and felt very cold. We were at the camp store for a little and got checked into our campsite and by that time it was just sprinkling lightly. We started to set up our tents etc. and the rain was completely letting up by then. All set up and ready for dinner a bg test showed 187. I was OK with that. Chicken salad sandwiches (very yummy when my mom makes it) and cookies were dinner. I had brought a prefilled reservoir along since I was going to need it that day so since I was all out and needed my dinner bolus I loaded it in my pump. Reaching to disconnect my old one, I felt that my site (newly put in before hitting the road) was coming loose. The conversation that followed was funny. Me: “Oh shoot my site is coming out!” Jeanie (my sister): “Do you have another one?!” Me “Hmmm who do you think I am? I always have way too many extras packed if I’m away!” So yeah I’m not really sure why she would ask that but I think she just said it without thinking. After checking my site out a little I saw only some of the sticky had come loose and the cannula was fine so I decided to give it a chance before pulling it. I added tape and called it safe. Determined not to start the trip off high, I estimated my carbs plenty high. Bedtime came and bg was 80. Had a protein granola bar (15 carbs, 5 fiber & 10 protein) and went to sleep. Fell asleep nice and cozy in my sleeping bag with warding off the cold around me. During the night I woke up to the sound of rain. Yes we were sleeping in tents and no we didn’t get wet! Yay for good tents!
The morning dawned with what looked to be much more promising weather. As the day progressed we saw we were going to have a beautiful sunny day to go for a hike etc. Even though it was beautiful for the rest of the trip, it was REALLY cold at night and mornings and got nice during the day. Saturday morning proved to be the most annoying diabetes part of the trip. First thing looked great. Fasting bg was 107. YAY for me! I corrected without over correcting and my site must be working. Breakfast that was less then healthy followed and we decided to eat lunch on time so we could head out for a hike. I tested before lunch and got a 432. Wowser. I don’t know when I’ve been that high last. I decided to do another one to be sure and got a 403. Okay so that’s better but still way to high. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. I considered that maybe the whole sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag without too much padding had messed up my site or maybe the morning food choices combined with a lack of time between meals together made that I was plain old high and my site was fine. My site still felt and looked fine so I decided to correct, keep carbs in moderation for lunch and since we were going hiking I thought maybe it wouldn’t hurt to start out a little high. If I kept sticking high with exercise I was going to pull it and start over.
We had decided on a hike that took you by several waterfalls and was moderately hard. It was a loop that totaled 4 miles. I had a backpack stocked with glucose tabs, a protein bar, a less healthy granola bar, a juice box and my glucagon shot. I also had my all-important bottle of water and a G2 Gatorade, which for the whole bottle had 12 carbs. I decided to somewhat trust how I felt as far as going low since I knew I had a ways to come down and since I was that high I knew I’d feel it since I was coming from being that high. The first part of the hike was mostly going slightly downhill so it wasn’t as hard. Between an hour and an hour and a half I started to feel a little low. Stopped to test while my sister Sara was taking pics of the scenery and I got a 72. I popped 1 glucose tab, ate a protein granola bar (same as mentioned above), and drank part of my Gatorade. The hike was climbing up nicely by that time so I knew I better watch it. Hiking uphill with a bg of 72 only means one thing for me. It’s going to come down down down! I kept on drinking my Gatorade and paying close attention to how I felt. Awhile later with not too much hike left I felt low. This time a 62 smiled up at me. I ate my less healthy granola bar (17 carbs) and popped 1 more glucose tab. I hate over correcting and we were almost done with exercise for the day so I didn’t want to make it spike before going to sit at the campsite.
On a non-D note, we were excited that we got to see some bears! Yup in was along the trail on a hike but we thought it was pretty cool! Don’t get me wrong, if I had been alone I would hardly have thought it was funny but being with 4 other people, it was kinda coolJ. My mom was the one to see them and excitedly alerted the rest of us which also resulted in alerting them to the fact that they wanted to clear out! When we first saw them they were in a tree at what my dad said was about 100 yards away from us. They were way up in the tree but since the tree was downhill from us they were about on our level. It was a mom and a cub or possibly 2. We think the first cub coming down the tree and taking off was what my mom first heard then we watched as another baby rushed down the tree and ran off. The mother then came down the tree some slower kind of watching us before following her baby(s) farther into the woods.
A 4 mile hike done and we were back in the car! Bg was 112 so that was a win for me! Bolused for a Fiber One brownie, because hey! Not even a great blood sugar can keep me from having a snack after a hike when my family is eating. But I did eat more then I corrected for cause I figured I might still be dropping. What do you know! I was right when an hour and a half later I was 73. Dinner and Smores around the campfire and my bedtime bg was 186. Not bad! Morning bg kind of annoyed me at being a 170. Breakfast, which again, was not healthy foods, and packing up followed that. At noon, after being all packed and before heading home we went to do one hike that was shorter than the day before. My bg was 230 and the active insulin was exactly what I needed to bring me down WITHOUT exercise so I figured I’d come down pretty much. The hike was only a total of 1 mile but the way up was a steady climb. About 40 mins after the 230 test when we were at the top I tested at 126. Be assured it did not take us 40 mins to go a half mile! We might be out of shape but not that bad! We didn’t get started right after my first test was done. At the 126 I still had like 1.6 units active so I ate about 30 carbs. About an hour and a half later while on our way home when we stopped for lunch I was 155. After getting home I was 213 and then bedtime at home was 293. I thought maybe it was the traveling and snacking but the next morning they were still being stubborn. Halfway through its third and final day, the taped site got ripped out because after I spiked high at lunch I decided something was wrong with it. Don’t think it was the site after all as they have been going up at down the whole week and I think I’m fighting something. Today, (Thursday) is looking better so hopefully it’s all good now.
To sum it all up, camping can go pretty smoothly with D. If your camping and hiking, take plenty of food AND plenty of insulin. Let’s be honest. When camping junk food is part of the deal! Smores? Totally a must for camping! But then as I proved, junk food is not gonna keep you high when you hit the trails. When I got that 403 I got really close to letting it get me down. I hadn’t been that high for quite a while and was bummed. I just told myself I had to let it go because it wasn’t my fault. I still had the rest of the trip to have good control so I was gonna focus on what was ahead not what was behind. Yes, camping with diabetes is more stressful then it is without but our whole lives are more stressful then those without diabetes. So to anyone who hasn’t gone camping with D, go for it! Load on plenty of insulin and let yourself be as normal as possible! Hey you might even see a bear or two J. To close I’m going to say what I always say. You can do anything EVEN IF YOU HAVE DIABETES! Being scared of doing things that might make managing it a little tricky is just letting D win.
Wow sorry that got so long! Hope I didn’t bore you all too bad! Also want to mention that the pictures featured on this post were taken by my sis Sara.
Thanks for reading all my ramblings and hope you guys have a GREAT weekend!
Love and hugs to all, Leanna