When we last travelled to South East Asia (around 1 year BD) I didn’t feel ill once during the five weeks. It meant by the second day of that trip I was happily eating street food without a care in the world. This time round though, it was a very different story and with diabetes thrown into the mix it meant that on Day 6, we even had to change our travel plans.
A few days into our trip, we had planned a boat trip to Ha Long Bay for three days (two nights). I was really looking forward to it, but at the start of the second day I felt really ill. I just about managed to grab some food at breakfast before breaking in to cold sweats and feeling like I was about to pass out. Some typical signs of a traveller’s bug, and a blood sugar and ketone check confirmed my worst suspicions: sky-high and medium ketones.
At that point, I realised I was on a boat, in the middle of a bay, in a country not very renowned for its extensive emergency care system… It made me feel quite uncomfortable, if not a little insecure. At one point a rescue out at sea even passed through my thoughts: an extreme no one would enjoy. We had quite a few discussions about the situation, and in the end, we decided to cut the Ha Long Bay trip short. It meant we missed quite a few of the excursions (a beach BBQ and kayaking, and a cave trip), but with so far still little experience of being ill at home, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to gain control and flush the ketones out of my system without some serious trouble while in a strange environment. In the end, I did manage to get back to reasonable shape after about 24 hours (Thank you, DAFNE-course!), although a little exhausted and weak. In hindsight, I would probably have managed to stick with our original plan, but I’m glad we decided on taking the safest option.
During the rest of the trip, I had a few other days where I didn’t feel 100%. Pounding headaches and extreme thirst were the typical signs of being at the higher end of the teens: often leaving me with “the chicken or the egg” conundrum of “do I feel ill because I’m high or am I high because I’m getting ill?” Luckily most of the time it was the result of some unintended carb consumption or miscalculation (as I mentioned in “See no carbs, hear no carbs, taste no carbs”), although the aftermath was generally unpleasant, I’m glad I managed to keep these situations from impacting our trip.
More travel-related stories to come! So until soon,
The … Diabetic