Q: I haven't traveled in a long time, but I'm planning on attending my great-niece's wedding in December. I don't get the opportunity to see her often, as they live on the other side of the country.
Given that I have diabetes, I'm worried about my blood sugar during the flight. I've heard that travel has changed a lot and airlines have stripped away every possible expense.
Not having anything to eat could send me into hypoglycemic shock. I want to make sure that my health won't get in the way of the family celebration.
What can I do about food during a long flight?
A: Check your airline's policies beforehand.
Generally speaking, short domestic flights are unlikely to offer food. Some airlines offer a snack, but this depends on your carrier.
Longer flights are more likely to offer food, but different airline policies vary significantly. Don't assume that food will be offered without checking.
If there is a complimentary meal, provide your dietary restriction information with the airline. They often have diabetic options for passengers.
If you haven't already booked your flight, a little research can help you figure out which airline to fly.
Be wary of basic economy flights. Their prices are appealing, but you may end up paying more than the original price for add-ons, such as luggage and food.
Even if your flight doesn't offer any complimentary food, you will likely have an opportunity to purchase some at the airport or on board.
Remember that you can bring food through security — but not liquids! Many people assume that you aren't allowed, but a little planning will allow you to fly without worry.
With a restricted diet, it may make more sense to bring some emergency provisions. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Q: For the last two years, my daughter was on the transplant list for a new liver. She's now had her operation, and everything seems to be going well.
Ever since, she's been evangelizing the benefits of donating blood. Listening to her, I've come to understand how important it is, but I don't know if I can help out myself.
Am I too old to donate blood?
A: You're never too old to donate blood.
Since 1978, the American Association of Blood Banks has accepted blood donations from people over 65 years old. Due to the high demand for blood, the organization is happy to have an expanded pool of volunteers. There's no upper age limit.
That said, you can be too thin to donate.
Many blood banks set their weight limit at 110 pounds, but some organizations have a higher limit. This is to prevent fainting and associated injuries.
However, some states have further restrictions. For older volunteers, some states or organizations scrutinize more thoroughly and decide eligibility on an individual basis.
Before donating, find out whether you have any health conditions that would render you ineligible. Common disqualifiers include dementia, recent cancer, heart disease, HIV, heart rhythm disorders (like atrial fibrillation), and viral hepatitis. Some medications, such as anticoagulants, will also rule you out.
Even if you are found ineligible, there are other ways for you to help. Instead of donating your blood, you can give money or your time to a local organization. Every bit helps! — Doug
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.