Taking a Vacation From Diabetes

Many people who live with diabetes struggle with the effort it takes to keep up with all of the related tasks. They get frustrated with the “forever-present” nature of diabetes care and often settle into a type of self-care that is “just enough to get by.” This goes on until about two weeks before their next doctor visit, at which point they become far more serious about following their meal plan and checking and recording their blood glucose levels.


While doing this gives the doctor some information to work with and may help the person with diabetes avoid feeling too guilty, it continues to support a mistaken concept. That concept is that the visits you make and the records you keep are for your doctor, not for you.

This method might work well if diabetes were an acute problem, like a sore throat or a pain that just won’t go away. However, the fact is that diabetes is a chronic issue. Diabetes is there every day, all day, and it isn’t going away any time soon. This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing—it’s just a reality.

There are two parts of this idea that I’d like to look at. Part one is the psychic weight that having a chronic health condition places on you, and part two is dealing with diabetes as a chronic issue rather than an acute problem.

That you live with diabetes means that you are asked to eat better, exercise more, check your blood glucose levels, and be more aware of your weight, feet, eyes, mood, and sexuality. I have come to believe that these obligations create an additional psychic weight for anyone who has this diagnosis. This weight alone places a sense of self-responsibility on your shoulders that is greater than that of most of us who share this earth with you. It is, therefore, no surprise that you might feel a need for some time off from this daily chore.

So…why not take it? Not every day, of course, but once in a while when you need it. Find a confidant, someone who understands diabetes and can discuss what tasks you might want a break from. Then, plan your break—get assistance from your closest allies who might agree to check your blood glucose and administer your diabetes drugs or injections for you for a day. Ideally, these would be people who can even make decisions about drug or insulin doses if a change is needed. Let other people who might be affected by your day off know what you’re doing, and plan it for a day when you feel you can be off your game a bit. If you are able to, set the day up to be one of complete relaxation, a break from other stresses in addition to diabetes.

Please don’t read this as permission to ignore your diabetes. Rather, it is permission to take a brief, sensible break from the psychic weight you carry. You still own it, but by planning a short break you will be acting responsible, not reckless. Taking an occasional minivacation that is refreshing to you may be just what you need to keep up with your diabetes self-care in the long run.

Next week, I’ll address part two of this topic—dealing with diabetes as a chronic issue.

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  • Dennis Rowe

    This so called day-off from the riggers of controling your diabetes is a JOKE!!!! What a day-off to me means, no pump, no shots, no pills, no dieting, no exercising and no meters what so ever. What you are proposing is creating more of a burdon on you loved ones. They do need it. What you don’t seem to realize, most diabetics do not want to burdon other people as well. A day off from work does not mean to have your family or friends do it, so what you propose is not a day off, may be a day of non-responsiblity for your care or something like that. But not a day-off from diabetes.
    Dennis Rowe

  • Coco

    I agree with Dennis. It is not possible to “take a break” from diabetes any more than it is possible to take a break from breathing. What you propose would take so much time to coordinate. There is no relaxation in teaching others how to test your BS, administer an injection (no air bubbles! 90 degree angle! not in the muscle!), give you a bolus on your pump, count carbs, etc. After all is said and done it is just easier (and safer) to do it yourself. Even if you did ask someone to do these things you are still physically required to be there, take the fingerstick and receive the shot. There is also the risk of trusting that someone understands your insulin to carb ratio and your correction ratio. How do you think this person would feel if they caused you to go low because they gave you too big of a bolus? You would have to check on all of their work to ensure your safety. Where is the vacation in all of that? A diabetics phyical well being is 100% their responsibility.

  • SOS

    It seems we’re all in agreement. This is not a vacation that you’re proposing. A vacation would be to get up after taking our 24 hour dose of Lantus the night before. Then after figuring out what we WANTED for breakfast, taking a small dose of insulin (generally an underestimate), and then eating. We would continue in the same manner at lunch and dinner, never worrying about a low blood sugar. Then at bedtime, we’d make whatever adjustment was necessary with our fast-acting insulin and take our daily Lantus. The next day we’d go back to being more diligent with testing pre and post prandial. Involving someone else is NO vacation. Have you ever had someone else give you an injection? The anticipation of them administering it is so stressful, and it makes it hurt more. Thanks for trying, though,

  • LantusFiend

    I asked my mother to take care of my diabetes for a day and she agreed. Tested my blood sugar, picked my food, injected me, the whole works. My blood sugar was so out of whack I felt terrible.
    At the end of the day she said I needed to get a different insulin regimen, this one doesn’t work!