By | 6 July, 2009


Edinburgh is currently suffering from a heat wave. No, really. Honestly it’s true. Sometimes in Scotland the cloud, rain, drizzle and sleet briefly clear to allow through a little bit of sun and occasionally the temperature gets into double figures.

While I’m enjoying the smell of molten tarmac that wafts through my office windows, and at home the gentle scent of burning chicken as my neighbours all rush out to use their badly neglected and rusty barbecue sets, I’m having slight problems with my diabetes.

Generally with a higher body temperature you will, of course, absorb insulin more quickly and so I tend to have a slightly higher frequency of hypos during the summer months. It’s pretty easy to deal with – I just shove in a bit less humalog and everyone’s happy.

It does, however, remind me of the time I went to the sauna. Now, I’m not talking about a seedy “sauna” where people go for “massages”, I’m talking about a very fancy spa and health club in Edinburgh. A few years ago, as a special treat for us, my wife organised a spa afternoon the day before we got married – a chance for the two of us to get away from the relatives for a few hours and chill out before the big day ahead. Absolutely heavenly!

As I went into the spa complex, with its dry and wet saunas, heated seats and outdoor swimming pools (one’s outside on the roof and you can look into people’s offices in the building next door while you paddle about – what fun!) I noticed a small sign warning those with medical problems – such as diabetes – that the spa wasn’t suitable for them. “Danger”, it said in big, red letters.

“What rubbish”, I thought to myself as we relaxed and put another ladle of cold water onto the hot stove. Like every good diabetic, I’d stuck a few tubes of Glucostop gel into my swimming short pockets. Each tube supplies 40g of fast acting glucose and is usually enough to raise you up from the lowest hypo.

However an hour and three Glucostops later my BG was rapidly dropping and I was enjoying the severe hypo symptoms we all know and love. I quickly made my escape, got changed and when Katie met me afterwards in the café I was eating the sugar cubes on the table with the avidity of a horse who’s not afraid of dentists.

But, as always, I recovered quickly and we whisked ourselves off to our wedding rehearsal and we lived to tell the tale. However, since then I’ve always regarded saunas with a massive degree of suspicion mixed with a healthy dollop of sheer terror. So that’s sauna-friendly Finland off my holiday list, but with Scotland so glorious at the minute, who cares?

8 thoughts on “Heat

  1. Mark

    Hey Tim! Good to see you and Alison had a wonderful time. As you know, I live in Atlanta, Georgia, where the temps during the summer months can average in the 90s. Managing the ‘ol d-life can be a bit tricky… 🙂

  2. Tim

    @Mark What fun! At least Edinburgh only ever has two days a year where the temperature gets into double-digits!

  3. CALpumper

    Only 2 days a year? Wow.
    All last week it rained here. It sucked.
    Now it is sunny but not quite warm yet.
    When the temp rises, I drop. Thought I was the only one.
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not. I don’t do well in the heat.

    Glad you are seeing some sun tho!

  4. Heather

    Hi Tim, I’m in Scotland too – we have just had our 3 days of hot weather for the summer and are currently enduring thunderstorms and heavy rain.

  5. Tim

    @CALpumper When the sun comes out it takes the Scots a week to turn white – we’re usually a sort of blueish colour.

  6. Tim

    @Heather I wrote the article at the end of last week, when it was still nice; how ironic now I look out of the window…

  7. Alison

    I will vouch for the fact that it was indeed sunny in Scotland last week. I’d dutifully packed jumpers, coats and umbrellas for the traditional Scottish summer so imagine my surprise when I had to cut the insulin doses and root out the shorts!

  8. CALpumper

    Oh my goodness. I’m not as white but where I live the sun is hardly seen so we blind the southerners with our whiteness. Glad you are out of the blue range!

    And Alison, Hooray for shorts! Oh wait, is it now raining and cold again?


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