Taking Diabetes on Holiday

I’m currently packing for a much needed holiday. And as I’m putting things into my suitcase, deliberating, taking things out and adding them in again, I’m reminiscent of how much my attitude towards diabetes has changed since the last time I travelled.

Two years ago I would have just packed the bare necessities and prayed that I wouldn’t end up like one of the survivors on Lost. Enough supplies to get me through the two weeks and nothing more. I probably would have left the lancets, ketone strips and spare meters at home. I wouldn’t have taken kindly to those ‘friendly’ reminders from Mum and Dad. I would have scorned at the suggestion of finding some kind of travel accessory to carry my diabetes stuff (and today I’m honestly considering it). And I almost certainly would have chucked a tantrum at my Dad announcing to the world that I was carrying diabetes supplies at the airport (then again, I think today I still would).

I don’t know what’s come over me. Maybe I read too many dBlog Week posts about people hoarding their diabetes supplies. Maybe I’m remembering Alice running out of insulin and passing away in Under the Dome. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m becoming more mature and beginning to take my diabetes more seriously.

I’m only travelling within Australia, so I don’t need to go too crazy because access to supplies is basically identical to here at home. But if I were going overseas or on a longer trip, I would definitely need to consider packing more or what the accessibility is like in another country. I will stress that this is a rough guide to domestic travel within Australia, based on my diabetes, and is in no way medical advice.

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First up, the obvious. Blood Glucose Meter, Lancing devices that I don’t change often enough and Test Strips. I need only hit the history button on my Blood Glucose Meter to tell me that I tested 128 times in the last 2 weeks. I’ve packed 6 boxes of 100 test strips (which I’ve squeezed into 3 boxes), which is roughly triple the amount that I need. Also in my pack but not pictured: a box of ketone test strips and spare meter batteries!

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Another obvious, Needles and Insulin. I will pack the Insulin in the boxes they came in, with the pharmacy sticker that has my name and details, just to be safe. My Lantus (long acting insulin) pens last me ages, so one box should be more than enough. And one box of Novorapid (short acting insulin) cartridges should also be more than enough, even after factoring in all those goodies I don’t intend on eating…But I’ll probably pack a second box just for some extra security. My insulin will last me the length of my trip out of the fridge. If I were planning a trip longer than 30 days, I would need to consider purchasing an additional supply over there.

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My medic alert bracelet that identifies me as an Insulin Dependent Type 1 Diabetic. The bracelet that I always conveniently ‘forget’ to wear. I’ve also got my Medic Alert Wallet Card. And, my National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Card, just in case I need to purchase any extra diabetes supplies on my travels.

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Marshmallows! Definitely my favourite new hypo treatment – soft and easy to eat, rapid acting, no jelly bits sticking to my teeth and no horrible dry sugar aftertaste on my tongue – yum!

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And a letter from my endocrinologist, confirming that I am a diabetic carrying supplies and not a drug dealer. I’ve never been asked to present it when going through airport security, but its better to be safe than sorry. I’ve also got a spare prescription for insulin, just in case something does go wrong and I need it on my travels. I usually carry these documents in a clear zip lock case so that they don’t get crumpled, wet or dirty amongst my other clutter.

Who the hell is this crazy person I’m writing about? Anyway, serious work done and now to start packing all the fun stuff!

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