Greetings from Las Vegas
Nine months after returning from my last epic journey I am finally ready to start the next adventure, though the character of my travel "adventures" have begun to change in ways I never expected. Aging has a way of determining unanticipated aspects of our lives. Being at home has always presented more complicated demands on my time than wandering around exotic foreign venues, but that is only the obvious realization as age related demands begin to dictate ever more of my daily activities. Sure, there are more bottles of prescription drugs to juggle throughout the day and brief bouts of "listless lethargy" begin to merge into lengthy waves of indecision... at least in my case. Life on the road offers endless opportunities to "do nothing" without the need to feel guilty for being "lazy!"
After pretty much ignoring my Type II diabetes for the past fifty years, several doctors finally convinced me to get serious about controlling the high blood sugar levels and I welcomed a referral to an excellent endocrinologist, Dr. Brian Berelowitz. After assessing my past efforts to control the diabetes with glipizide, diet and exercise alone, he ordered a blood test to measure the A1C indicator. With the 11 percent reading in hand, he cautiously informed me of his prescription: insulin shots for me... for the rest of my life!
Fortunately, the technology has advanced dramatically recently so the process is no more onerous than popping a pill once a day... though a totally painless daily injection is involved. The skinny 4mm long needle is so small and well designed it really is painless... most of the time... maybe every tenth time I'll feel a truly slight prick sensation, but even that is hardly noticeable. The Tresiba formulation provides a 42 hour active life for each 12 unit shot, so timing is not critical.
I thank my lucky stars I didn't need the insulin as recently as twenty years ago when the needles were bigger... also, that I don't have the more demanding Type I diabetes which require multiple blood tests and injections every day! The automatic pen injectors look like a fat marker pen and mine holds a 50 injection reservoir, three milliliters. While unused pens must be refrigerated, once used for the first time they are good at room temperature for much more than the time for 50 daily injections.
Travel is another matter as unused pens must be kept refrigerator cool and I spent hours researching ways to keep several pens cold on a many month long trip. My first experiment involved a small USB powered refrigerator, but that bulky 2.5X2.5X7 inch box proved unwieldy and too heavy. Than I found an excellent website devoted to traveling with diabetes, 70-130.com and there learned about the Frio cooling pouches. Soak the inner pouch in water for 5-15 minutes and keep insulin pens adequately cool for almost two full days even during uncomfortably warm tropical days. The clever system takes advantage of a reversible endothermic chemical reaction with crystals that become gel and then crystals again as they dry out! As the process involves evaporation, travelers are cautioned to bury the activated pouches under clothing in their pack for insulation. It sounds simple enough and initial tests at home confirm inside the activated pouches do stay cool for much more than a day! Ingenious! As everything is ready for departure, the next postcard should come from Bangkok, Thailand, an excellent transportation hub.
That's it for this brief
preview of the 2017
expedition departing 13
April... around the world
for the fifth time!
Fred L Bellomy