Sunday, July 4, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Well make it Planes and Autos - NO TRAINS yet)

First thing is first....HAPPY 4th OF JULY Everyone!!!

(and Happy Anniversary Mom and Carl)... on with the post...

So, I have noticed a trend with my last couple of posts...TRAVEL. Yep they were both AIRPLANE HORROR STORIES and yes The Maher Clan survived with all 4 members alive and well with senses of humor intact...and with their desire for adventure strong.

It has been almost 4 years since Joe was diagnosed with type 1. In that time period we have flown several times and a couple of times I have flown solo with Bridget and Joe. We have also enjoyed several road trips in the New England area. I feel I have had some "interesting" experiences and am now a veteran packer and "diabetes preparer". The thing is, ANYTHING can happen while on the road or in flight and it is important to be prepared. Type 1 can be quite UNFORGIVING at times.

So here is a list of what I pack and reasons why:


1) TWO vials of INSULIN - why 2 you ask? Well, what if you lose one? I thought of this as I became a member of the MILE HIGH CLUB. We were flying across country with one vial of insulin (STUPID, yes) and I was changing Joe's pump site while in flight. What if we hit turbulence and the vial fell off my lap and was lost under the plethora of feet, baggage, personal belongings etc. on the airplane floor. That made me SUPER ALWAYS 2 vials.

2) TWO TIMES the BLOOD SUGAR TEST STRIPS that you would normally use in the time you are going to be away - You could end up with a bad test strip batch and with this much extra you should be fine. Secondly, on vacation you are eating different foods and doing different activities than normal...which requires MORE BLOOD SUGAR TESTING.

3) FOR PUMPERS - twice the amount of SETS AND CARTRIDGES - Especially the sets. When we vacation, there is frequently swimming involved and WATER + LIFE SAVING DEVICES THAT DEPEND ON ADHESIVE = DO NOT MIX. So be prepared....extra sets for sure, then this is a NON-ISSUE.

4) EXTRA IV 3000 (AGAIN, for pumpers) - This thin transparent dressing is a "lifesaver" for "site-saving" while swimming. I didn't have enough when we visited Disney World in the Spring and briefly thought of holding Joe back from swimming to his heart's content...then reminded myself that "D" won't get in the way of Joe being a "kid" - so I ended up changing out his site an extra time or so.

5) Blood Ketone Monitor with test strips AND Urine Ketone dip sticks... double preparation is never know when an unwanted "Vomit Bug" (and yes, I acknowledge that there IS NOT a WANTED "VOMIT BUG") may visit or when site failures may be aplenty.

6) Obviously, pack double the sugar and extra snacks for travel. A different schedule and foods will affect different people in different ways.

7) AN EXTRA BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITOR - OK this one is SERIOUS and the following is a TRUE story. It happened to us 2 summers ago while on a road trip:

We were spending the night in New Hampshire in the middle of B.F.E. (might as well have been). Dave goes to check Joe at midnight. The glucometer does not register a number. We try a different strip - NADA. The glucometer was registering the code number and saying apply blood, but then after the blood was applied, NOTHING would happen - NO countdown and NO number. We then tried a different test strip vial - it won't calibrate. We then change the Joe - still NO NUMBER. The glucometer is BROKEN... AND IT IS MIDNIGHT AND WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF B.F.E. .... SHIT. So, we then get out the yellow pages and start calling the 3 pharmacies listed - none are open until 8am the next morning. We did find a hospital that was like a 2 hour drive away (4 hours round trip), but by the time that whole scenario played out we might as well just stay put and buy the glucometer when the local pharmacy opened. So, after phone calls dialed, no where to go in the wee hours of the morning, and after much is how we handled this LESS THAN OPTIMAL SITUATION - I checked Joe for ketones at 1a.m. He had NO Ketones. So, since I didn't know if he was high, low, or whatever...I decided to give him 2 glucose tablets to "boost" him in case if he was low. Around 4 a.m. we checked Joe to make sure he was still breathing...then thank goodness he woke up ALIVE at 6 a.m.-ish.

That was one of the scariest nights of my life to date. I had NO idea what his number was. I only knew he had no ketones. So, I figured the safest thing to do was to give him a little sugar in case if he was low and HOPE for the best. So people ALWAYS TWO BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITORs...ALWAYS.

*Other points to NOTE
Remember to pack extra batteries for the glucometer and the pump (for pumpers).

With the glucometer calibration fluid, slowly, and I mean S-L-O-W-L-Y people, twist off the lid after flying - I have had that red crap spray all over me when opening the lid too quickly after the depressurizing from a flight.

PUMP SETTINGS - figure out what works for you or your little one...once you have traveled a few times you will start to notice a blood sugar pattern on "travel days". Joe usually runs HIGH on travel days due to inactivity of his crazy, normally over-active self. So, I usually crank Joe's basal up by 50% or so on flight days (or on a "drive day")...and I also give an extra 10-20% Insulin with each bolus to keep his numbers somewhat in range. Each person is different, but this seems to be what works for us.



Jen said...

Thanks Reyna!! We will be traveling in a couple of weeks and this WILL be my diabetes checklist!!

Joanne said...

Love the tips, but I'll one up ya... I always pack 3x the necessary supplies. But I'm a little anal that way.

Sarah said...

Sometimes it's a blessing to have my husband have diabetes, the rare cases where wild things have happen (such as an exploding bottle of insulin) we had an instant back up with DH's insulin pen...similar story with the glucometer...but now we've learned to always pack more than you'd ever think you'll need, because life is life and that's how it goes for us!
I am glad all of your trip ended up okay, all together, survival with I am sure a few unique stories to get you through.
Thanks for keeping us in the know as you're so busy with the move and trips.

Tracy1918 said...

Great post! What a good checklist for all of us! Thank you!

We haven't braved a big trip since Matthew's diagnosis, but I did notice on our recent weekend trip that he went HIGH after the drive. I will remember your tip.

Ummm....and all the others!!! You have such an interesting life! : )

Heidi / Jack's Pack said...

Great tips!!! Just in time for our first vacation with D! :)

Meri said...

Now I know where to find my checklist for the next trip! :) Flying blind in the middle of BFE would have knocked the wind out of me! Great advice!