Driving with diabetes

By | 11 February, 2011
What a proper Mini should look like

What a proper Mini should look like

Long time readers of your soaraway Shoot Up might recall that I started driving lessons in 2009. They might also have noted that announcements of me passing my test were conspicuous by their absence. No, I didn’t fail; I merely took a year long break from lessons for various reasons that are too tedious to go into here.

Yes, yes, I know that still not driving at the age of 33 makes me a social pariah, a tragic loser in life. I recall that someone mildly noteworthy once said that anyone who still uses a bus after the age of 30 is a failure. They might be right but, hey, I can live with some elements of failure in my life. I can take it. Anyway, the LRT 44 is a great service into the centre of the city which I can get from right outside our house! So there, mildly noteworthy person!

Anyway, I’ve just had my second two hour lesson in a fancy new Mini (yes, I know the new Minis are made by BMW, aren’t proper Minis and aren’t as wonderful as the original cars. But I don’t care, it’s a nice car to drive and I like it. If you disagree, take it to the Top Gear forums).

I’m finding driving itself quite fun – I can now reverse around a corner with some degree of confidence – despite the dark nights and pissing rain that I’ve been forced to learn in so far. My new instructor is far more competent than my last one and, hopefully, I might get the practical test passed within a few months (I passed the theory test last year (with only one question wrong!)). Anyway, fingers crossed.

Diabetes-wise, it’s all going reasonably well too. We’ve all heard stories of diabetics having hypos at the wheel and killing themselves or other people. Utilising a degree of understatement, this is Not a Good Thing. I’ve therefore been careful to manage my levels before going out on a lesson.

It is, however, moderately complicated. I’ve been having two hours lessons in the evening, which is when I usually go a little low. I’ve therefore considered putting on a bit of a temporary basal on the pump to keep my levels from drifting down too low. Ah, but then learning to drive can be stressful, which tends to raise my levels. So maybe I need to, actually, put in more insulin? It’s all quite interesting.

It turns out that I don’t really get that stressed and a minor temporary basal works a treat for me. I’ve been checking my BG before and half way through a lesson to see what’s going on and this is helping me spot patterns. I am quite nervous though of being in charge of one tonne of rapidly moving metal while under the influence of diabetes, so it’s something I plan to keep a close eye on in the future.

So the streets of Edinburgh are safe from my diabetes. Whether they are safe from my driving is, however, another question.

7 thoughts on “Driving with diabetes

  1. Stephen

    I only passed my test at the age of 27 so you’re not alone in starting late! I must say though I’ve never been quite as concerned about my BGs though as you appear (which is probably very bad of me!)

    I’ve only gone low once in the car, and I knew it so followed the rules (pull over, get in passenger side, eat, eat, eat) and ut was all OK. The only concession to diabetes I make is not to get in the car if I even suspect I’m low. Better 30 minutes late than dead 🙂

  2. Tim Post author

    I suspect I’ll get more blasé about my BG the more lessons I have. 😉

  3. Donald Thomson

    Passed my test aged 17 – just 2 months after diagnosis – and have now been driving cars and riding motorbikes for 25 years. Going low on the bike is more scary than the car as the sense of balance is pretty critical to staying vertical. I never get in the car without my glucose tablets. I don’t go so far as always testing before I drive, but if I think there’s a question mark hanging over my BG I do the blood test. The insides of my bike gloves must have little red splodges all over them!

    Good luck with the lessons. Edinburgh is a hell of a place to drive. I passed in Cambridge which was bloody awful. Kamikaze cyclists everywhere 🙂

  4. Jay

    >I am quite nervous though of being in charge of one tonne of
    >rapidly moving metal while under the influence of diabetes,

    Only one tonne? Oh that’s right…. you’re not in the US.

    [not to foster stereotypes of the US… for my US-based vehicles, I own a small truck, a car, an airplane, a bicycle, and a kayak, all of which average about 1650 lbs.]

  5. Hairy Gnome

    You couldn’t drive an American car anyway @Tim, like myself, your licence will be limited to vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross weight! Hee, hee, hee! 😀

  6. katherine cromwell

    I think these tbr are great use them as much as you can!! You can even program them for 1 hour or12 hours etc which is an utter God send at times. Once hypo u you can reduce . I normally go for an extra 20% for (womens problems!!!) However with hubbie in hosp an extra 20% seems to cover stress unless on going then up it 10% at a time. So much easier than waiting 24hrs for Lantus to kick in.

    Honestly People get yourselves a pump it is so much easier!

    sorry driving ! check before HA Ha HA as if ! just make sure that when you feel any indication you check. Double vision is not a pleasant experience even as a passenger!


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