Health, mobility and The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

This year the Indy 500 will celebrate its 100th running on Memorial Day weekend. It’s a big deal and the city is in full swing getting ready for this milestone. My father and mother-in-law are coming out to visit us, see the parade and watch the race. This will be their first time going to the 500 and I am excited to experience it with them.

Right now I am doing a lot of planning to make sure my dad has a great experience. You see my dad has a chronic disease – Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) – and there is a little more planning going into our Memorial Day weekend than just purchasing the tickets and showing up.

For those of you who are not familiar with the disease, T1D is a condition when your pancreas produces little to no insulin. What this means is that my dad needs to manage his blood sugar level artificially with the help of a pump that provides a continuous stream of insulin into his body.

My dad has lived with T1D for most of his life and he now experiences many of the longer-term complications of the disease including heart and cardiovascular issues, nerve, foot and eye damage. All of this impacts his mobility overall and it is factoring into our planning for our Memorial Day weekend together.

In previous posts – Mobility and Multigenerational Travel and Matters of Heath and Staying Healthy – I have written about some of the questions to consider when preparing for a multigenerational vacation. A lot of these questions we are working through right now.

One of the first decisions that we needed to make was how my dad will travel to Indianapolis. After careful thought, he decided to drive from Colorado to Indiana instead of flying in an airplane. Although this will be a longer and perhaps a more difficult journey, he has chosen this option because he can carry his oxygen tanks and other supplies with him.

My dad’s decision to drive to Indianapolis was influenced by an experience he had last year when he visited us. Last year he decided to travel light and he flew to Indianapolis. Prior to his departure he ordered medical supplies to be delivered to the hotel. Unfortunately, what he (and we) experienced was a comedy of errors with potentially serious health consequences. To start things off we arrived at the hotel and found that the oxygen had not been delivered. When the oxygen was finally delivered it was incomplete – there were not enough bottles of oxygen and the company provided the wrong tubing for his machine. Eventually we got it all sorted out but it took time and patience.

This time around, my dad is choosing to drive because it will give him peace of mind and a sense of security knowing he has what he needs with him. We can immediately experience our time together without having to take any extra steps to make sure his supplies are where they need to be.

Stay tuned for more posts as we get ready and go to The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Dorothy Hoffman is the creator of the travel blog, Squirts and Seniors. She is a Gen X-er who writes about traveling at home and abroad with her young son and aging parents.

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