Type 1 Diabetes & The Wild

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mrseth

Rank III

Contributor III

511
Loveland, Colorado, USA
First Name
Seth
Last Name
Schueller
Member #

2197

So having Type 1 DM and being away from civilization ISNT as scary as you'd think! Here is my list of prep items and common signs I watch for with my body while in the wilderness to keep myself safe(ish) when an ambulance cannot reach my location.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nor a nurse. While I do work in the medical field, it is outside my scope of practice to recommend medical treatment or diagnose your medical issues. Please seek medical attention or call 911 if you experience diabetic complications such as hypo or hyperglycemia. This is simply my experience with 15 years of Diabetes combined with my passion for adventure and the outdoors- this is how I make it work.

Diabetic Supplies

1. Short Acting Insulin & Back Up Pen (or spare pump supplies and insulin. Bring syringes just in case, you can time small injections from your fill bottle if your pump breaks)
2. Long Acting Insulin & Back Up Pen
3. Needle Pen Tips
4. Glucometer with extra lancer, lancets, strips, and battery.
5. Back up glucometer that uses same equipment
6. Glucagon Emergency Kit

Food (aside from your standard packed food for meals)
1. Granola bars- good source of medium acting carbs, avg 17-20gm (when my sugar reaches 65-70 mg/dl)
2. Gatorade- full sugar, good source of fast acting carbs, avg 25gm (when my sugar reaches 55-65 mg/dl, used in combination with granola bar if still exerting myself)
3. Mountain Dew Classic- hail mary, great source of fast acting carbs, avg 75gm <---- last resort before glucagon, has saved me on a few occasions (when my sugar reaches 35+mg/dl)

My EWS (early warning signs)
1. Tingling nose/lips (blood sugar averages 60-70 mg/dl for the past 4 years when this occurs)
2. Sweatyness with light hangover feeling combined with heart palpitations and mixed, non-sustaining PVCs (blood sugar averages 40-50mg/dl for the past 10 years when this occurs)
3. Cold, clammy, loss of speech, drunk feeling, head starts to twitch side to side, hands start not functioning properly, massive adrenaline spike (blood sugar critical low, 20mg/dl(ish) past few times it has happened)

Wilderness Strategy
1. Retain the 3 standard "mealtime" glucose checks.
2. Add glucose checks whenever you go to bed.
3. Consume 15-20 grams of carbs per hour of light/moderate physical exertion. 20-30 grams of carbs per hour of heavy exertion. Limit exertion to 2 hours on, 30 minutes off to check and correct blood sugars.
4. PAY ATTENTION to what your body is telling you.
5. Take your long acting insulin in the AM, if you drop low, you'll be awake and can correct.
6. Bolus your fast acting insulin AFTER meals.

The key to making this work is to BE PREPARED. Think 3 steps ahead.

Don't let the disease control you, control it and keep exploring.


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Trail_pilot

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Enthusiast II

693
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James
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Girard
My dad's diabetic and my sister and I have always had to kind of keep an eye on him. We have gotten to know the signs where one of us would have to hand him a granola bar or force feed him candy. He doesn't take great care of himself but he's on a pump now so that helps.
 
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Slimpartywagon

US Northwest Regional Member Rep, Oregon
Member

Influencer I

2,395
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

My dad's diabetic and my sister and I have always had to kind of keep an eye on him. We have gotten to know the signs where one of us would have to hand him a granola bar or force feed him candy. He doesn't take great care of himself but he's on a pump now so that helps.
My dad is Type 2 Diabetic. He doesn’t take care of himself either. He eats out a lot, and all the cooks know him very well, so they do what they can to make his meals a little better for him. Unfortunately he doesn’t like leaving his house very much anymore other than to head out to the two local dives at supper time, so getting him up to the mountains is hard to say the least. I guess I’m just rambling on because I miss our father sons adventures. my dad wasn’t the best dad growing up, but he wasn’t the worst either. We never saw eye to eye (still don’t most of the time) but one thing he loves is hunting, and adventuring through Oregon’s Out Back. I learned so much from him about camping, trail etiquette, leave no trace, and tread lightly; way before they were even a thing.
 

Trail_pilot

Rank III

Enthusiast II

693
First Name
James
Last Name
Girard
My dad is Type 2 Diabetic. He doesn’t take care of himself either. He eats out a lot, and all the cooks know him very well, so they do what they can to make his meals a little better for him. Unfortunately he doesn’t like leaving his house very much anymore other than to head out to the two local dives at supper time, so getting him up to the mountains is hard to say the least. I guess I’m just rambling on because I miss our father sons adventures. my dad wasn’t the best dad growing up, but he wasn’t the worst either. We never saw eye to eye (still don’t most of the time) but one thing he loves is hunting, and adventuring through Oregon’s Out Back. I learned so much from him about camping, trail etiquette, leave no trace, and tread lightly; way before they were even a thing.
Exact same story with my dad. I basically grew up in a hunt camp and learned most of what I know about the outdoors from him. I realized as I got older that he did the best he could with the very little we had. Basically giving me the life skills I have now like fixing Broken vehicles and camping, etc.
 

mrseth

Rank III

Contributor III

511
Loveland, Colorado, USA
First Name
Seth
Last Name
Schueller
Member #

2197

@James_Girard and @Slimpartywagon I am sorry to hear this guys... To be completely honest, some days it is extremely difficult getting out of bed in the morning, and strict dieting makes eating just not fun sometimes. Growing up with Type 1, my dad kicked my butt and didn't let me sit around. We camped while hunting and with the Scouts back in the day- I'd be worried or not want to go, but he would take me out of the house and get me into the wild. We figured out how to make it work together.

I wish the best of health to you and your family in dealing with their Diabetes- you may be their only hope.
 

old_man

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Loveland, Colorado
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Tom
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Houston
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I am insulin dependent. I have to plan my meals at home, so hearing people grench about preplanning for a trip, makes me laugh. It is harder on a trip because your blood sugar is not solely controlled by the amount and type of food you eat. Stress, sleep changes, and varying energy expenditure due to work or cold all radically can effect how much insulin is needed. Most people don't realize that you are supposed to take insulin before you eat, not after. So you always have to think/plan ahead. For me, a single candy bar that I do not compensate for can mean problems. It is a juggling act, trying to foresee how much you are going to eat, how much insulin, and how much food.
 
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Gpschef

Rank 0

Contributor I

It’s not hard to live, camp and explore with type 1 diabetes! I have had it for 42 years! Still have my eyesight, both legs and all my toes! I am not on a pump! Tried one when they first came out but being a chef the heat from the broiler and hot pans meant melted tubing and not getting the insulin! So I keep giving shots and testing my blood sugars 4-6 times a day!
 

diabetiktaco

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2,335
New Jersey
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4723

It’s not hard to live, camp and explore with type 1 diabetes! I have had it for 42 years! Still have my eyesight, both legs and all my toes! I am not on a pump! Tried one when they first came out but being a chef the heat from the broiler and hot pans meant melted tubing and not getting the insulin! So I keep giving shots and testing my blood sugars 4-6 times a day!
I agree. It's not hard at all. No different than daily life. Bring extra insulin and extra candy / sugar. I've got all low carb food packed on board. I even have mountain house scrambled eggs which is super low carb. I do get nervous when out of range for cell signal, because who knows. But overall I don't find it to be much of an issue.