Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Traveling with Diabetes
It's no secret that diabetics require a little extra luggage when traveling, mostly in the form of extra supplies. The ultimate worst-case scenario is bringing just enough supplies but an emergency happens that requires an extra site change or more insulin than originally packed.
I remember the first trip I had with Arnold. Hubby (then boyfriend) and I were headed up to his parents' house for the weekend. I brought an extra reservoir and insertion set, just in case my amateur pumping self managed to screw up a site change (very VERY likely). We sat down to dinner and I discretely tried to bolus for dinner. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! "Delivery Failed!" What?! No way! Try again. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! "Delivery Failed, Moron!" How rude! Try again. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! "Delivery Failed! Do I need to spell it out for you, Blondie?!" Frustrated that my pump was malfunctioning and being hair color prejudice, I excused myself and completely changed my site. Upon inspection, I had a bent canula that I blamed as the culprit. I sat back down at the table. "Everything OK?" someone asked. "Yeah, pump messing up on me." From then on, I've always taken the necessary amount of supplies times double.
Then, there's taking diabetes to the air. Don't get me wrong, I love to fly. I hate airports. The instant stress that comes from checking in and being herded like cattle through the security line with the fear of being branded with a hot iron if you get out of line without taking your shoes and belt off. (Holy digression, Batman!) I've only been stopped once in the security line because my pump was bulging an outline from my pocket and the security guard was like "What's that, ma'am?". Luckily, it was an early morning flight and there weren't many people there, so the stress factor was low. Once I'm past the line and gather my things, I'm fine. I find my gate, then find the closest bathroom and snack bar or meal spot, then stop to check my BG. I'm a carry-on only gal, so I always have my diabetes and pump supplies with me. But I also bring syringes for going high and extra snacks for going low. Then, I chill and relax before my flight, checking my BG every 1-2 hours for the stress factor.
But traveling with diabetes starts way before the trip. Like today, I called in my insulin prescription even though I have at least a reservoir and half left. I also check my number of strip vials because I typically go through one vial every 4 days. And I'm starting to travel with sugar tablets for lows on the go, even though they're not my low treat of choice. And when we go on long road trips, I turn my basal down to 75%. Nothing is scarier than going low and being 20 miles from an exit.
So, with all the extra supplies, strips, syringes, and snacks, Arnold gets his own travel bag. I keep Arnold's bag either connected to or within the cooler holding my vials of insulin. I usually do 5 checks every hour or so on my luggage making sure that I have everything I need. It's usually on my 20th check that I feel confident that I didn't forget anything.
I really should make a checklist for supplies depending upon days of travel, but instead I spend half of our travel time worrying I didn't bring enough D-supplies. Oh yeah, and batteries! I always forget batteries since I change those the least. Battery change for my brain, please, kthxbai.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.