The Adventurous Diabetic: Traveller’s bug

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.

Some nasty travel bugs (Bacteria by kaibara87 via Flickr)

Some nasty travel bugs ;) (Bacteria by kaibara87 via Flickr)

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


Filed under Health, Travel

2 responses to “The Adventurous Diabetic: Traveller’s bug

  1. Glad all ended well, but must have been quite frightening with both potential language issues and only developing infrastructure.
    Looking forward to the next exciting instalment – “What Katy did next” type stuff!! :-))

  2. Thanks Jeff! I was glad I wasn’t by myself, and I should probably have said that between my partner and the captain & crew, all were very concerned and wanting to help, making it a little easier.

    I’m not sure I’m liking this “Katy” comparison though ;-)

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