Made in the Shade

By: Scott M. King

It’s a busy time of year. School is out, camp has begun and vacations are being planned or taken.

As I write this, I’m winding down from moving out of both an office and an apartment. We’re also getting my son, Spencer, ready to go to France as part of his school’s student exchange program; preparing to attend the American Diabetes Association conference; and gearing up for summer camp for both Spencer and his sister, Miranda.

With all the moving, I’ve certainly been getting my exercise. As part of our efforts to consolidate the magazine operation in our Fairfax office—25 minutes north of San Francisco—the San Francisco office of Diabetes Health closed at the end of May, so I had to move more than 10 years of accumulated papers, books and furniture out of that building. There were a lot of memories, because that’s where the magazine started—as a transcript of our radio program called "Diabetes on the Dial." I remembered sitting at the desk in the front window of that office as I interviewed experts in the diabetes field. People who couldn’t tune in to the program wanted copies of what was said, so we transcribed the interviews and called the mimeographed sheet "Diabetes Interview." That was 1991.

It’s come a long way since those early days: from a mimeographed sheet to a tabloid to the magazine you are holding in your hands.

My mother was in the hospital while the office move was going on, and I took time to visit her often. She has type 2 diabetes, and her experiences in the hospital reinforced my belief that we all need to know how to take care of our diabetes. If we can’t advocate for ourselves, we need to have someone knowledgeable to advocate for us when we are in a hospital or, as she is now, in a nursing home on a transitional basis.

The apartment move was for my mother, who wanted to "direct traffic" as her old apartment was being packed up and things moved into her new place. Unfortunately, her hospital stay prevented her from being able to do that, so we just had to do the best we could. I’m sure we’ll be back in her new place, putting her belongings where she wants them as soon as she is able to move in.

Summer may be one of the best times and one of the worst times to control diabetes. It’s one of the best times because the weather is great. You can get outside and plant a garden, participate in team sports, ride your bike, roller blade, swim or whatever you like to do. Even taking a walk is more pleasant in the summer than in the winter. Not only is the weather better, but it’s interesting to watch the plants grow and the landscape change as you stroll around your neighborhood.

Also, the foods are at their freshest, especially if you have a garden. We have a garden at our house and are already eating some of the foods we grow there. Summer is also the time for grilling outdoors, which cuts down on a lot of fat.

But summer is also a time of changing schedules as kids participate in summer sports and camps. As children, they get a lot of different kinds of exercise, which can affect their diabetes control. As parents, we’re busy taking them back and forth and participating in some events with them, which affects our diabetes control.

Vacations can be fun, but they can also make it difficult to maintain control when they involve different activity levels and new foods and maybe even fast travel to another time zone. If you’re flying, travel rules have changed, so you need to be aware of your airline’s policies. Call the airline and make sure you have the necessary paperwork so that you and your diabetes supplies can get through security with a minimum of effort.

I recommend that you walk a lot, stay cool, take it easy and drink plenty of water.



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