By Sara-Maria Sanvicens (Broekhoff)
Type 1 and I had been successfully driving for 10 years blissfully uninformed and over confident, (as my first restricted license examiner told me), oblivious to the potential danger that may have been. It wasn’t until I attended the DAFNE (Dose adjustment for normal eating) course that I heard of this 5 to drive rule.
I am happy to say that I am unable to tell a scary story of blackouts and crashes, but I have had a few hair-raising experiences of lows whilst driving.
Luckily I can feel myself dropping and due to growing up in the wop wops I learnt to analyse where I am going how long I will be away from a dairy and do one of those “how am I feeling” type 1 ‘body scans’ before venturing away from home, with my snacks packed.
In saying that, having been in Auckland for some time now with sweet treats available to me on every corner I have become complacent with my snack pack. My busy lifestyle has also meant that I’m not stopping for a minute to check I’ve got everything I need to test or just give a moments mindfulness to how I’m feeling.
In amongst this (after not having exercised for years) I started going to the gym. After a workout I could go low quite quickly, hypo symptoms mixed in with my unfit sweaty shaky body – well I couldn’t quite accurately judge my levels in the early gym days. Running late for work one morning after a workout, I jumped in the shower, into my car and got stuck in traffic on the harbour bridge, all of a sudden realising I was feeling low with nowhere to go, no juice and no lollies. All I could do was focus all my waning concentration and energy on driving in a straight line and not into the car in front which was not my idea of fun. it shook me into being more diligent in keeping lollies in my car and testing after exercise.
Growing up being told you have to test before meals, after meals, before exercise, after exercise, before bed – and now you’re being told test before you drive, I know it sucks!! When you’re jumping in your car you’re on your way somewhere; to the movies, to see a friend, to work, to the gym. I get that every time you have to stop to test before doing something that should be as normal as brushing your teeth, it’s another reminder of this stupid impediment on your freedom (diabetes). But you know what, if you were to crash and insurance won’t pay out or worse, someone gets hurt or dies (I’m speaking to myself now) you’d wish to go back in time and take that minute to test. In fact I’m going to take a minute now to read the official guidelines and remind myself of what an A+ star diabetes student would do (It’s impossible to be perfect all the time but let’s all try and be as good as we can for the safety of our lives and our fellow road users)
Many of you will remember Sara-Maria from DYA events when she worked as the DYA Co-ordinator.