hello, diabetic burners and friends of diabetic burners and wanna-be burners and theoretical friends of theoretical diabetic burners!
So, here's some input from a Type 1 diabetic who returned a week ago from her first, magnificent burn (that would be me).
1. Cooling your insulin: Keep it refrigerated or, for a more primitive camping experience, try one of these excellent insulin cooling cases from a company called Frio: http://www.readycareco.com/splashpage_frio.htm
. All you have to do is soak the case before you leave the default world. The gels will swell and then give off a cooling effect as they dry, which takes weeks or months. It's not as cool as refrigeration, but it's just fine for keeping the insulin from baking. The only thing you need to do is to keep the case exposed to as much air as possible, given that evaporation promotes the gel's cooling effect.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You can't metabolize food well without hydration, as I've found out when ill with gastro-intestinal illnesses in the past. Same goes for dehydration: assume your body isn't using fuel as well as when you're hydrated.
3. Test your blood sugar frequently. Your activity level is likely to differ dramatically from the default world, but whether you run higher or lower than what you're used to is entirely based on your individualized activity levels. I did a lot of walking, and I danced, and I biked, but it still wasn't up to the level of exercise I get in the default world ( I exercise a lot), so my blood sugars went high in the morning (morning spikes being typical of aberrant activity levels/slowed metabolism, my nurse practitioner told me when I got back).
I made a Type 1 diabetic friend at Poly Paradise who stayed on the safe side by keeping his blood sugar around the 200 range. I'm strictly controlled, with an A1C of 6.0 or 5.9, so that's unacceptable to me. Therefore, I tested very frequently.
4. Foot care: Bring white vinegar and lotion, and don't go barefoot. Don't wear sandals, either. I know, I know, it's irresistible, but that dust will turn your feet into dry, cracked and potentially bleeding messes. Wear shoes and socks. At or before the first signs of drying feet, bathe your feet in vinegar. That will change the alkalinity that's drying them out. Then, liberally apply lotion, and put on socks and shoes.
5. Eating: If you like to control your diabetes by eating low-carb, as I do, be prepared to bring pretty much all the food you'll be needing. At least at the camp where I stayed my first year (Poly Paradise: wonderful camp!), the low-carb selections were spotty at best, and often the only breakfast to be had was industrial size boxes of pancake mix and syrup. I wound up cooking my own meals quite a lot... which is actually one of the reasons that my dear guardian angel ToMmy and I are thinking of starting a theme camp around low-carb eating, plus other diabetic-friendly offerings, such as 1) exercise (wouldn't it be fun to have go-go dancing cages? just a pet idea!) 2) foot baths (wouldn't it be nice to gift people with vinegar foot baths and lotion application? I know I would have loved that my first year!) 3) low-carb meals for camp members and 4) gifting of low-carb snacks (a few fresh strawberries drizzled with heavy cream, anybody? Oh, helLO!
6. If any of that appeals to you, fellow diabetics or low-carb peeps, let's network! I'm overwhelmed by the idea of starting a theme camp, but I'm up for at least beginning to talk about it.... Its name would be Sugar Bitch, we're thinking, given how I tend to be a bit of a proselytizer about these issues... at least, I think that's the kindest word I can use to describe my proclivities...
7. If you want any more input from a fellow diabetic, please do drop me a note. Happy 2014 Burn, diabetics and diabetic lovers!