Category Archives: travel with diabetes

Its too early for “The Lecture” Mom

I got up at an ungodly hour to take my son to the airport. He was heading off to spend part of his Easter holidays with his dad, brother and friends.  As we drove to the airport I began….

Trip down memory lane…Easter many years ago

“Don’t forget to text me with your readings.  If you are on quad or running around all day, use the “active” basal not the travel basal.  You need less insulin not more.”

“Mom, we haven’t even got to the airport yet! Its too early for “the lecture”….  Don’t forget to text me.  Call me once a day with your readings.  Don’t forget to test. Make sure that you bolus.  Do a site change.”

I looked at him and laughed.  It is never too early to remind him but he seemed to have the rules down pat and I told him so.  I then suggested that since he obviously remembered what I was going to say, it would be really nice if he actually did everything that I asked.

He told me that he always remembers. I just shook my head and continued to drive.

As we sat in the lounge before his plane boarded I gave him a gentle reminder…I wouldn’t want him to think that I forgot the full “lecture”. I also reminded him to enjoy himself…now that is one thing that needed no reminding!

Enjoying the outdoors…with diabetes!

Getting ready for a day on the snow…

Sled is on the trailer–check
Helmets are in the truck–check
Gloves are packed–check
Warm hats for under the helmets–check
Long underwear–check
Woolie socks–check
Good boots–check
Sunglasses–check

Now for the pockets…
Lip balm–check
Cash just in case–check
Keys–check
Cell phone–check
Turned off the data so you don’t kill the battery searching for Internet–check
Glucose tablets–check
Syringe in case the pump dies–check
Glucagon–check
Meter–check
Lancet–check
Hand cleaner–check

I was so busy filling my pockets with things that I did forget a scarf for my neck. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold so my coat and three shirts kept me warm.

And so we headed out for a day on the snow…with diabetes coming along for the ride of course!

Diabetes Goes Camping

For the Labour Day long weekend, we decided to pack up the new travel trailer and try our hand at camping.  Larry has sold the cabin and decided to see if he liked camping. This was our first trip out so I knew that there would be glitches.  Getting used to dry camping, making sure we had enough dishes, and remembering everyone’s toothbrushes were just a few of the challenges we faced. 

We knew that Diabetes would be coming along so my son packed a number of supplies that he knew that he could keep in the trailer.  He also packed the supplies that he would need for the two nights we would be gone.

We had insulin, test strips, two infusion sites, batteries, meters, glucose tablets, and more.  We were pretty well set.

In keeping with the summer, Diabetes made its presence known quickly.  Our first evening was quiet.  We drove forever to find a spot and then fought the mosquitoes for the right to stay there.  We eventually won and settle in to enjoy our first night in our “home away from home”. 

After a movie and a game of cards, we hit the hay.  Two hours later I awoke to my son getting up.  This was not good.  He had changed his site before bed and my gut said it was bad already.  He tested.  He was high.  He swore that the site was working. I didn’t think so and gave him a correction via syringe.  He went back to bed only to get up again. He was still high but coming down slightly because of the injection.  I made him change the site. 

We now were down to one infusion set.  Why didn’t I pack four?? One a day might not be enough.  Why didn’t I think of this? I had spare insulin and tape to hold a site in place but that only worked with a good site.

Because he was still high, I had him correct again. I then became paranoid.  Yes he would be insulin resistant because he was high but what if I over corrected? What if I killed him in an effort to save him? Did I get too aggressive? I went to bed with fears running rampant through my mind…remember that I am the worrier! 

Two hours later I got up again and checked on him. He was not on death’s door.  He had not gone low. He had not even come into range yet but he was headed there. The site was working.  Back to sleep I went for an hour or so.

The next day was filled with exploring and enjoying company.  We had a family barbecue and the evening ended with full bellies and another movie.  I held my breath as I waited for what Diabetes would bring this night. Would he be high again? 

No, he was a little low.  I fed him glucose tablets but we did not have a straw.  He had requested that if I treated a low with tablets that I at least make him drink water afterwards to get rid of the taste in his teeth and braces.  We have called this his “glucose hangover” and much like a regular hangover, he is not fussy about the experience.  Unfortunately with no straw, I could not get him to drink without waking him.  Sleep won over and I apologized in the morning.

All in all we were relatively well prepared for our first camping experience.  The boys seemed to have fun.  We have a new list of things to add to the trailer and will work on the pack up and returning home routine.  I am hoping however, that Diabetes learns to be a bit more behaved on outings if it must continue to come along.

Diabetes Crashes our Vacation

3.2 (57)..what in the world is that?? Holy cow, its a low!! And of course it happened at 2:30am but it was a low.  I don’t think I have seen one of those since back in June.  My son has either been in range or running on high, high and higher for the bulk of the summer. This was especially the case on our recent trip into the Eastern United States.

A couple of weeks ago, we picked my son up from his father’s house and headed off on a road trip.  We stopped in New Brunswick long enough to drop off our dogs with my aunt before making our way to the border.  We here headed to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. 

Our first day of travel went alright.  There were a few highs and I joked about the last time we had made this trip.  My son had been in double digits the entire time we were south of the border. I swore that the second we crossed back into Canada he instantly dropped back down into range. I was hoping that this trip would be much better and so far so good!

I should not have jinxed myself.  Day two saw his readings begin to creep up.  We added a travel basal and continued to hope for the best.  Driving and highs are not a good combination.  Driving, highs and freeways are an even worse combination.  My son was not happy knowing that he was high and neither was I.  We both wanted to enjoy the scenery, not stress over diabetes.

By the third day, Diabetes had created a complete trainwreck for us to deal with.  We had put in a new belly site and then, my son being a teen, had also enjoyed a monster sized breakfast with a triple digit carb load.  We headed down the highway and I was nervous as to how well we had counted the carbs and whether his system would handle all of the food he had ingested. It didn’t take long to find out how badly things could turn.

“Mom, I’m high.”
You mean that you are high?
“No, I mean I am HI.  No reading. Just HI”
Crap! You have lots of water?
“Yes”
You have a new site and new insulin?
“Yes”
Maybe the site is bad. 

As we are driving down the freeway to our New Jersey destination, I had my son pass me insulin, alcohol and a syringe. I was going to deal with this disaster head on.  We continued down the interstate and I calculate the correction dose for my son. I don’t want to rely on a site that seems to be toast so it was time to stab him and pray he would start to come down.

He then prepared a new site for himself and added a new resevoir of insulin.  We continue driving and I hoped that ketones would not develop.  Having to use the washroom while speeding down an interstate is bad enough but to have to vomit as well in sweltering heat would be the worst. Thankfully multiple injections, water, and a new site seem to do the trick.  After a number of hours and another injection–just in case, his readings finally came down into the low double digits (200s).  We could almost live with that.

We began to more aggressively bolus his meals in hopes of beating Diabetes at its own game.  If I thought a meal should be 50g of carbohydrates, we bolused 75.  It seemed to work…until the next site failure but that was a little further into the trip.

But I found my bracelet

My day began at 6am. Our flight was at 9 and I knew how much time I needed to get organized. At 7:30 we were waiting for our cab…who took its dear sweet time.  By 8:30 we were standing in a line to check luggage that headed out the airport door. Would we make it on time? Yep,we had time to spare.  The flight was cancelled! We spent the next three hours finding a new flight to get out that day and trying to get our money back for the cancelled flights. 

After a morning in the airport, we finally made it to our security call.  We had our boarding passes and IDs in hand and headed to the dreaded security check.  They sent Larry off to the regular room and my son and I headed off to a small room on the side. I wondered if we were being singled out for a reason.  The dreaded little room was just another part of the regular security check. 

I put our bags on the x-ray belt and told the security guy that my son’s diabetes supplies were in the bag. We had syringes and other supplies, did he need it opened? He said that that was fine.  He turned to my son and asked him if he had any metal objects on him. I said his pump clip.  He then yelled out to the guy on the other side “Hey! He has an insulin pump on his belt.”  I was really impressed at how knowledgeable they seemed to be about pumps and the supplies we needed to carry.

My son went through with little difficulty.  Shock of all shocks, I went through with no problem.  I always have jewelry that sets things off. This time was a breeze! I was shocked and said so.  The lady said she was waiting for things to go off too but I was good to go!

As we left the screening area, we looked for Larry.  I mentioned to my son how shocked I was that we cleared security with such ease.  He said, “yeah.  I thought my chains would set it off too but then I remembered that I took them off and left them on my dresser.”

HOLD IT! Stop right there. Try not to blow a gasket…”You left ALL of your chains on your dresser? You are wearing NO necklaces? As in you are NOT wearing your new Medic Alert necklace?”  Breathe, breathe, breathe.

“Um, no. I thought it was causing a rash on my chest so I took it off.”

Again, working to breathe, “You thought it was causing a rash.  You knew that we were travelling a long distance.  You knew that you would be away for over two weeks, AND you left your Medic Alert jewelry behind?  It is not causing a rash.”

“Well, I did find my old bracelet. The other day.”

“And you left that behind as well?”

“Um, yeah.”

Thankfully for my son, we found Larry at that point and listened to his tale of going through security.  Of all of us, I would have thought he would have had the least problems but he was beginning to think he would be down to his underwear before he got through.

I continued to glare at my son.  I could not really punish him because there was nothing to “take away”.  All I could do was work to breathe and tell him that NEVER, EVER, NEVER was he to EVER take off a Medic Alert item again!!!

He won’t listen. It will happen again. He said he should get a tattoo. It would be easier.  He is a lot too young right now but its looking like the only viable option…one day. Or he could grow up! Oh my!

Thankfully the day did get better as we are now at the Friends for Life Canada conference and I have already had a chance to hug and chat with so many wonderful friends.

Sorry Diabetes, there is no room for your suitcase

So we are getting ready to go away for a few days. No not to a warm place but to “enjoy” the snow.  Sounds like a bit of a misnomer to me but to the guys in my life its a little piece of heaven! I will admit that I enjoy the peace and the beauty of the white landscape.

To get ready to go involves the usual–pack clothes, pack extra clothes for when the first set is wet, pack the dogs, their food and leashes (they love to run away when they go away), pack up the homework, and pack up the equipment for the snow.  Then there is the packing for those of us who are experiencing aging–pack the medication, the moisturizers, and other preventative devices.
Since we are taking diabetes with us, it refuses to stay home alone for some reason, we have a few more items that need to be packed.  There will be extra test strips, the ketone meter, a few spare sets, extra insulin, spare cartridges, spare meter, glucagon, glucose tablets and some juice. Yes, people normally have juice in their fridge but when I am stumbling around in someone else’s house at 3am, I like to have a quick source.  I know, my friend Jen recently reminded me that we should have tablets for  lows, but being the horrible parent that I am, I haven’t had a chance to stock up the supplies.  Yes, we have probably been low on tablets for at least two weeks and I have been to the pharmacy but I forget.  There are tubes that are still full for travel and puberty has made low treatments few and far between so it wasn’t a real emergency.  On the upside, Jammers were recently on sale so I can grab a box to take with us.
I love going away. I love taking a break from the house, the office and the work that piles up on a daily basis.  I love the fresh air and the change of scenery.  I will enjoy spending time with my guys.  I hate taking Diabetes with us. It is annoying and requires a suitcase of itself. I really wish it would learn to stay home by itself…or better yet take its own permanent vacation out of our house!

Diabetes, You cannot go on vacation with us again!

I have been thinking about it and have decided that on my next long weekend trip diabetes will not be allowed to come with us.  My son will of course be there, but I think we should make diabetes stay at home.  It was very annoying this weekend and a proper punishment would only be right. We have been putting up with its inconvenience for ten years now and it should know better than to have pulled the stunts that it did this past weekend. I would not put up with such pesky behavoir from anyone else so why do we have to put up with it just because its “diabetes”?

We had a five day long weekend and took full advantage. I packed up my car with kids, dogs, suitcases, boxes, and (this time) all of the required diabetes supplies.  We had insulin, cartridges, strips, sites and more.  There would not be a problem this time around. After nine hours of driving, diabetes was behaving quite well.  My son’s readings were in pretty good range and we were all happy. 

By the time we arrived at our destination and unpacked I was pretty wiped out.  My kids did their thing–unwinding, playing games, and Mom did her thing…going to bed! Of course after a few hours I was up and testing.  I was not sure when the last test was done but I believe that you can never accumulate enough data so another test was done.  As I was lancing and waiting for the “beep”, I heard another “beep” coming from his pump.  What the heck? We do not have any alerts set for 2am.  That is unless you count the one that says he has NO insulin left in his pump.  Why me? Why at 2am? I flashed back to Christmas but this time I knew that there were cartridges and insulin in his bag.  Grumbling and cursing diabetes, I filled the cartridge and stumbled back to bed.

It did not come as any surprise when my son announced the next morning that he was high.  I am sure that there were air issues and delivery issues before I put in the new insulin cartridge.  We also rarely bring a scale on our vacations so carb counting was a hit and miss (more often miss) situation. Thankfully he came down and we enjoyed a busy day of shopping and preparing to head to the great outdoors for a few days.

Of course my children’s idea of enjoying nature includes watching it from the inside of a cabin or fifth wheel while playing a video game but they are a product of their times.  In all fairness, they had also brought in water, lugged in firewood and prepared an outdoor campfire.  We enjoyed some roasted weiners and hotdog buns for our first feast of the summer season.

A little bit of fresh air, the chirping of birds and our first night’s sleep went well.  Even diabetes decided to behave.  Readings stayed around 6 (108) all evening and I was happy.

The next day was much more active and much poorer carb counting.  An outdoormen’s breakfast of breads, eggs, bacon and leftover weiners was a much appreciated feast!  After breakfast it was time to haul on the rubber boots, grab the fishing rod and head off on a quad ride to the lake. It was time to see if the fish could ignore the lure of the rods.  Sadly the ideal fishing spot was not to be found so they settled for a morning of cruising around on quad and exploring the area instead.

A day of outdoor activity resulted in a day of grazing and readings all over the spectrum.  Lots of fresh air and some night time cold medicine meant that my son was down for the count ten seconds after he put in the movie that he planned to watch.  When questioned the next morning his response was “What did you expect? I was high and had had two pills!”  Thankfully we all knew that he was not discussing any illegal drug use at the time.

All of the fresh air got to me too and I was tucked in with everyone else by 10pm. After a few hours, I got up and tested my son. The reading was beautiful.  The pump was again beeping but there was a lot of insulin left.  No worries! I tested a few more times during the night and decided that I needed to remove some of the alarms. They were getting on my nerves and my child was sleeping through them all!

After hearing a few alarms over the early morning birds, and irritated that it kept interupting my peaceful morning coffee, I decided to see what could be so important.  It seems that we had gone through all of the insulin again! I had to fill and load another cartridge. Wow! Who knew he would go through so much so quickly these days.
We finally packed up ourselves up and headed back to civilization.  As I wandered through the house figuring what needed to be packed and what could stay for our return, I noticed test strips in my room, test strips in my son’s room, and a dead infusion set sitting near but not in the garbage can.  Oy! Diabetes cannot be invisible. It leaves a trail of used supplies everywhere it goes.

Since it cannot behave I truly believe that it should not be allowed to go anywhere with us again.  It should have learned to be on its best behavoir by now!

If only it was that easy….