Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Managing 6 days of orienteering with Type 1 Diabetes

As we packed for Scotland, I triple checked my new laminated diabetes check list to make sure we had everything, adding a few extras in for good measure! When we travel abroad I usually allow 1 set and 1 reservoir for each day we are away. Even though we usually change them every 3 days, situations do occur when an unexpected set change is needed - ripped out set, failed set, tubing damage, cooked insulin - all of which were likely as we orienteered our way through the week.
Day 1 presented a big challenge - pouring rain. Aleksi wears a tummietote belt from tallygear. In its three pockets go the pump, his phone and a fruit bar/snack. The heavy rain made the possibility of pump and phone blow up quite possible so these were wrapped in plastic bags before putting in the belt. They stayed remarkably dry and functioning happily. He was a bit high before starting 14.1 so I corrected the full amount. He had a great run and came in second and yes due to the full correction was only 3.1 at the finish. Lesson learnt!
Day 2 was the complete opposite, hot and humid. His blood sugars were also the complete opposite. 3.1 just before starting so juice box and fruit snack were dispensed. As he left to run he was still only 4.9 so another fruit snack as he entered the start. Another good run into 3rd place. He checked himself when he got back as I was still wandering in the woods - 4.2 so he bought himself a large chocolate shortbread but only bolused for 15 carbs.
Day 3 was another warm day  - another low as we got to the event - some slightly over enthusiastic breakfast bolusing I think - so a banana and a nice 5.7 at the start. A fruit snack as he left to run saw a 4.8 when he got back. This time he bought himself a large sausage, bacon and egg sandwich  - as he said he deserved and needed it! A creditable 7th place finish today.
Day 4 was wet again so out came the plastic bags to do their job again. 6.1 at the start so off he went. Not a good run today missing one of the last controls. I came back to the car to find a very dejected young man and even his usual sausage, bacon and egg sandwich couldn't cheer him up. Despite bolusing he ended up at 17.2 not long after - how can you bolus for emotions?- no books or apps on that one yet
Day 5 saw an 9.3 at the start so I did a correction but only half the recommended amount - we the had a 2.4km walk just to the start so I gave him a fruit snack as he left. Another good run coming in 5th with a blood sugar of 8.4 - probably didn't need the fruit snack, but hey this is Diabetes we are talking about here and as we all know the goal posts keep moving!!
Day 6 ,  the final day, was warm and windy and a later start, juggling food and a later breakfast gave us 11.4 and an hour later 14.1 - a correction needed but again not the full amount. He came in 6th with a blood sugar of 7.0. He was very disappointed as a fourth place finish would have seen him finish 3rd overall. As it was he finished an extremely creditable 5th in the M10B class overall.
The promise of his 'usual' perked him up briefly but as we stood in the long queue a little voice said        'Mummy I feel low.....' Not good, I rushed as best I could to the car, fortunately parked close by and grabbed the meter - 2.1 and only 2 glucose tabs in the bag. I shouted at my dear husband about 100yds away, ignoring all those around - ' I need sugar now!'  Juice rapidly dispensed to my little man still standing in line for his sausage, bacon and egg sandwich!  Half and hour later he was 12 and  by the time we got home 19.4 - a classic rebound!
One slightly out of focus sausage, bacon and egg sandwich - so good he took a photo of it!!
So some great days of diabetes management, some days that left me scratching my head and swagging carbs on foods I had no idea about and some days leaving me exasperated at how bloody hard this disease can be on everyone. No extra supplies were needed but you never know.............
Scotland was great and we are already planning our next trip for the Scottish  6 days in 2015!
A close encounter with a Harris Hawk named Hamish on the way home.