Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Camping with the OmniPod

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor a member of any medical profession. This post references what works/worked for me and may not work for you. Please consult your physician before attempting any changes to your routine. Thank you. Now please stay tuned...

What comes to mind when you think of camping? Tents or cabins? Really roughing it (e.g. hunt/fish for your own food) or semi-(e.g. bring food, but find a way to cook it)? Or...

How am I gonna survive this with my diabetes?!? (Cue Mission Impossible theme music.)

We all know that no matter the circumstances, we need our supplies. In this case, my OmniPod PDM, extra pods, bottles of blood strips, bottles of Novolog and Lantus, syringes, and granola bars. I also carry a box of Ziploc sandwich bags (the double closure kind) for waterproofing purposes.

We (my sons, brother in-law, and his son) journeyed to Lake Blue Ridge in Morganton, Georgia for a 3 day camping trip. Complete with a large tent, coolers of food, and fishing poles, we ventured in to the woods. As a PWD and a person who has had survival training, I was ready. The weather was perfect: daytime highs in the upper 80's with lows in the high 50s's/low 60's. Fabulous!

So, how did me, my diabetes, and OmniPod do? Well, my BGs never went above 120. We fished, hiked, and played around. I went low once, but handled it with a granola bar. And the OmniPod? It worked like a champ.

As a person who has troubles keeping infusion sites stuck to my skin, I use Mastisol to keep my pods secured. Here is a post camp photo of my pod:

(the black is leftover Mastisol with dirt, ewww...)

Mastisol has been a life saver. Since my workouts tend to be for hours, I sweat a lot, so the poxy works very well. Mastisol comes off with Detachol or finger nail polish remover (without Acetone). After applying the Mastisol, I let it sit for a minute before placing the pod. I then secure the adhesive tape and I'm good to go. Pod changes generally last ten minutes or less.

Okay, back to the camping part. We all had a wondeful time and I look forward to doing it again soon.

Here is a list of camping and diabetic hints that work for me, pending the situation:

1. Keep your insulin out of the sun and preferably in a cooler, but not directly in contact with ice. Sudden temp changes to insulin cause problems, e.g. extreme hot to extreme cold. So, buffer/protect your insulin from these conditions. Survival tip with keeping insulin cool in the wild: Dig a hole, in the ground, about 4-6 inches deep and place your insulin container in it. Cover it with leaves or sticks. Mark the spot with a standing stick and brightly colored handkefchief or rag. The ground will keep your insulin cool.

2. Food: Natural granola bars, nuts, and trail mix are the ultimate "survival" foods. They tend not to spoil too much with temp changes and provide carbs, fats, and proteins that the body needs for fuel. We had coolers of food to cook, so none of us really suffered. (Did I mention a small bonfire, hotdogs, and smores?) :D

3. Water: Bottles of water are fine, but cumbersome and wasteful. Many camp sites have potable water spickets. The key is to stay hydrated, no matter the temperature. (Please boil your water, if you feel there is a problem.)

4. Expect the unexpected: Always prepare for the worst (carry several backups) and hope for the best. A good attitude and laughter go a long way.

5. Enjoy and have fun.

(after being in the woods for 3 days, ewww...) :D


CALpumper said...

Ewww. Man I miss that ewww. Ahhh, nature.

Love your tips. They are Perfect. What I always did. I need to get back out there....

Great post. Thank you for sharing!

cherise said...

Lol. I do not miss camping hahha
gross'! Love the tips and pic's

The Mindful Diabetic said...

Sounds like you had a blast! I haven't been camping since before I got on the pump. I think I might have to go in September when all of our friends meet up near Highlands, NC!

Ckoei said...

I know nothing of Omnipod zoology; is it capable of outliving an aquatic encounter?(If you tip into the lake after catching something big?)

And what marker did you use for the hole with the watermelon?(I hope it was a high stick&flag for the insulin and a low one for the melon - to indicate where to dig when hyper or hypo!)

Mark said...

Yes, the pod can survive a wet fall, although I suggest letting go the pole as said fish drags you hither. :)

A high stick of course! Especially a flag made of insulin labels. Oh the fun we have...

Tim said...

My wife and I went camping a little while ago and diabetes wasn't the slightest problem.

Mainly because we camped for a night and then checked into a nearest nice hotel for the rest of the stay. Yah boo to camping in Scotland!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Sounds like one great trip! Glad that you weren't dealt any diabetes curve balls - and a maximum BG of 120 mg/dl?! Standing ovation man! WELL done!

Bernard said...

So what type of granola bars do you use?

We tend to stick with state parks, I've yet to hike off into the woods. Though it does sound like a lot of fun. At the end of the month we're off to Calvin Coolidge state park in Vermont, one of our favorites.

Mark said...


I tend to use two types of granola bars: Nature Valley and South Beach. Nature Valley is great during the hot Georgia summers.

I also carry around gel packs (Hammer Gel) for emergencies.