Thank you for all the fantastic tips on traveling with diabetes (in last week's Holiday Sweepstakes)! This is one topic where we could all dig in, and offer some nitty gritty on how we handle air travel, schlepping all our D-gear, adjusting for time zone changes, long car trips and much more. And let me tell you, picking winners this week was more difficult than ever — with all the valuable detailed information everyone provided.
What everyone seemed to agree on where some basics, which may sound trite, but are things you should never ignore when traveling with diabetes: always be prepared, meaning plenty of backups of all your supplies; always pack your own snacks; always wear medical alert jewelry or have med ID on your person; and be sure to have a standing order at a large chain pharmacy, so you can call in for emergency supplies. There was some disagreement on whether or not it's wise to disconnect your pump when going through airport security. If you do disconnect, make sure it's just momentary.
Anyhoo, a judge's job is a tough one, but to honor the top contributors, our panel finally settled on the following 10 WEEK 4 WINNERS:
• Cara, who always carries a doctor's note, is mindful of different eating schedules in other people's homes, and always wears medical alert jewelry: "I am single and travel alone a majority of the time. You never know when something might happen that you would need that jewelry to speak for you."
• Debi Martin, a previous winner who once again offers some wonderful level-headed wisdom. One example: for supplies, they use a tri-fold cosmetics bag from Target which has an entirely transparent plastic interior.
Debi has won our weekly book of coupons for 12 free cartons of Blue Bunny low-carb ice cream. Retail value circa $70.
• David, who offers a VERY detailed list of how to prepare for air travel. He thought of some things that never occurred to us, like watching out that your supply bag doesn't get crushed in the overhead bins, etc.
You win this week's copy of "50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes" by Sheri Colberg-Ochs and Steven Edelman, MD, retail value $15.95.
Beth wins a "luscious + diabetic friendly" pack from VerÄ“ Goods: including the 5 dark bars in various flavors, PLUS one box each of walnut clusters and chocolate walnut brownies, total retail value $50.00
• Tmana, who likewise provides a wealth of practical tidbits. She recommends a Scott eVest jacket, which contains "a number of pockets and conduits for holding your identification and personal electronic devices."
She wins a deluxe diabetic carry case from StickMeDesigns, retail value ca. $40.00
• Sara, who who confirms that the "don't ask, don't tell" method is preferable with airport security, and who reminds us that packing your own food is hugely preferable to getting tempted by all the overpriced goodies in airport shops.
Sara wins this week's HealthSimple Starter Kit, a full set of logs, stickers, labels and all you need for comprehensive carb counting and logging, retail value $64 per kit.
• Kassie, who gives us some hints on dealing with a TSA agent who's having a bad day—just in case (talk about being prepared for the worst!)
Kassie wins this week's ExtendBar snacks "Holiday Survival Kit" including a sampling of all the company's products, retail value circa $33.
• Windy, who reminds us to stay hydrated, and take other steps to avoid getting sick.
She wins this week's "diabetic-friendly" gift pack, including 5 bars of dark chocolate in a variety of flavors (pure dark, mint, vanilla bean, spicy, and citrus), retail value $30.
• Lee Ann Thill, who reminds us that travel inevitably messes with our BG control regime. "You don't want to go to extremes - being either obsessive and self-flagellating, or negligent, as if youre also on vacation from diabetes. Finding a balance is really important."
Pamper yourself, Lee Ann, with your new "Essential Bedtime Foot Treatment Kit" from Gilden Tree Creams, retail value $24.99
• Badshoe (aka Bennet), who's big on access to pharmacies, and packing doubles: "Think like Santa, make a list and check it twice (and pack twice)."
He wins a WellCharms cell phone sticker with free 18 months' worth of their Platinum WELLness Service. Total retail value $96.00
**WINNERS: Please email a valid postal mailing address (snail mail) and telephone number to me here in order for your prizes to be shipped out to you. All of you will also be entered into our GRAND PRIZE drawing coming up in the next two weeks!
And now on to THE FINAL QUESTION in this year's Holiday Sweepstakes competition: How does one deal with the stress of the holidays? Coincidentally, a reader named David H. wrote to me on this topic last week:
" I know this is supposed to be a time of family and friends, but what do others do, to 'stop and smell the roses?'. I was involved in an automobile accident a few weeks ago, and it never occurred to me that the stress and the adrenalin rush would alter my BG numbers. My wife suggested that I stop and check. I did and found they were way off the chart for my daily average. I immediately did things to correct them. When I checked with my endo a few weeks later, he said that keeping stress down is very important."
Right you are, David. So...
Is the overdose on holiday goodies, planned "merrymaking" events, and family visits getting to you at all? Tell us how you keep your BGs on track by posting your tips and hints below. Good luck!