“Never let your disability or injury hinder your experiences!”
A quick update: I broke both my tibia and fibula in the middle of May which lead to surgery with some plates and spoons, I mean screws! At the time of this current experience, I am about 7+ weeks out of surgery and beginning to use only 1 crutch- YAY!
Ok cool, let’s go camping now!!
Camping with Type 1 Diabetes can already be enough of a struggle and involve a fair amount of prior planning. So why not add the extra anxiety load of not being able to walk. How did I accomplish such feat?
My partner, Morgan, and I chose a campground we looked up online- Birchgrove Campground in the Chequamegon- Nicolet National Forest. BEAUTIFUL! Knowing that I would have to sit in the car with my leg un-elevated and not have the comfort of knowing my seating position, I chose to spend the majority of the day resting and icing and stretching- preparing my body physically for what was to come.
We also chose to camp at a designated campground rather than dispersed camping for the main reason of I am not yet able to pop a squat! So we opted for a place with the sole accommodation of vault toilets!
After Morgan (finally) came home from work, we packed the car and hit the road.
Things we packed to care for my leg:
> 4 pillows to elevate my leg
> Cooler full of ice and bags to hold the ice and wrap around my foot
> Crazy creek camp chair (to comfortably sit with a backrest while awkwardly elevating my legs to the eXtreme)
> Crutches, duh, with my crutch pouch (in this pouch I always carry my PDM and dexcom receiver as well as a gu or transcend gel pack for any hypos when I am not in crutch worthy distance to a medical bag)
> blankets –> I hurt my left foot and my sleeping bag zips on my right side, so the bag is not a great option to hold the volume of my boot and 3-4 pillows! so I loaded up on blankets to keep me cozy 🙂
HEAT, SUNLIGHT, AND BUGS:
During the hot hours of the day, water is key! To help absorb this water, potassium is a great nutrient to include in your summer food choices. My favorite sources of potassium are bananas and avocados- up north it is much easier to find bananas so I end up eating 3-4 per day. Especially while on crutches, my body is weaker and more susceptible to changes in behavior. The heat, therefore, really affects me and my ability to function. I get more easily dehydrated and over-exhausted. (At one point this summer I did pass out for a hot brief moment after a bad sunburn and dehydration- all is well and good and dandy now though!)
Because we were in the Nat forest- water access is zip-zero. So we filled our collective 4 nalgenes and 6L dromedary prior to leaving the house.
Summer also brings about it’s community of bug friends- ticks and flys and mosquitos- a glorious trio. Bug spray seems to be a must, a go-to. However, keep in mind that it is more difficult for me to shower off the ick and stench of bug spray when I get home. Thus I prepared for this by bringing long pants that covered my ankles that are breathable and not too warm. Of course, I ended up just wearing my shorts, but I wrapped myself in my tapestry while sitting to keep the bugs out.
I also wore a Columbia PFG sunshirt. THIS IS MY FAVORITE PIECE OF OUTDOOR GEAR EVER!!! It is so cool and light weight. It is collared to protect my neck from bugs and sunlight. And the long sleeves allow me to never worry about wearing sunscreen or bug spray ever!
However, when the bugs got super bad at night, I did end up wearing an SPF style buff around my neck to keep even more bugs out.
These small things made my experience the most enjoyable thing ever and I am so thankful I chose my gear wisely before hitting up the dirt roads!
As far as medical supplies go- I only brought my day case of medical supplies as it was only a 1 night trip – but I did bring 3 extra omnipods rather than 2.
In my tent, I put 2 juice boxes and a gel in the side pocket, along with my PDM and dexcom receiver (which I charged fully prior to leaving home).
This trip was super great and exactly what I wanted, but I am super grateful to have a partner who is willing to set up tent, pack and unpack the car of gear, and help me move about the campsite. I really could not have had such a flawless experience if it weren’t for his support and assistance.
It can be super hard for me to reach out for help and make myself feel like I am defeated. but ultimately, by reaching out, I am able to experience such amazing things and build stronger relationships with myself and my relationships.
Tell me how you prepare for your camping experiences in the comments below!! Who is your biggest support??