Taking a Plunge

The shimmering blue water slowly began to emerge as I made my way up the highway, perfectly contrasted and coordinated at the same time with the bright blue sky above.

I manoeuvred into the right turn lane and made my way into the carpark, which was almost deserted on a Thursday afternoon. I grabbed my blue and white AMSL drawstring bag containing a towel, bottle of sunscreen, a dry shirt and glucose tabs.

My insulin pump was clipped to the inside of the pocket in my swim shorts, still running as per normal. My blood sugar was 9.3 before I left home. With 2 units of insulin left to act from lunch and some protein in play, I felt fairly confident to let it ride.

My comfy brown thongs with blue and red striped cotton straps came off as I buried my feet in the soft, white sand. I made my way closer to the shore line and perched my bag in the sand, setting up ship.

I disconnected my pump from the infusion site on my stomach and wrapped it up in the beach towel in my bag, not overly worried about insulin spoiling on that breezy thirty degree day. I slapped a load of sunscreen over my pale skin, recalling sore throbbing red marks of sunburn that were a painful reminder of previous non-compliant days in the sun.

The gentle wind whipped through my hair and burst onto my face. I could feel the refreshingly cold water hit my toes as I began to wade my way into the water. The salty sea spray hit my face as the waves crashed over the water and the bottom half of my body became submerged underneath it.

With the top half of my body feeling the cold of the sea spray, I took a plunge beneath the water.

As the waves pushed their way over me, crashed and then receded, with the sun shining brightly over the clear blue sky, I wasn’t thinking about diabetes. I wasn’t thinking about work. I wasn’t thinking about life.

I was drifting there, savouring the moment.

It felt good.

Review: Myabetic ‘Banting’ Diabetes Wallet

I’m feeling a bit unsure about the new Myabetic bag that I received for Christmas.

After years of having to decide what to bring with me every time I left the house and walking around with bulky pockets and slipping pants, travelling with a pencil case to house my diabetes gear was a huge relief.

Everything fits in there quite nicely. Meter, test strips, lancing device, spare lancets, spare batteries, insulin, spare needles, an infusion site, spare insulin cartridge, spare pump cap, spare battery cap and my Animas coin to open up my pump. Plus, it looks nice and roomy in there if I need to reach in and grab something.

I carried my pencil case with me everywhere. My only desire was to find something a bit more compact and impact resistant. Which brought me to Myabetic.

When I first opened the parcel containing my new ‘Banting’ Diabetes Wallet, named after the creator of insulin himself, my initial impression was that it looked a lot bigger in real life than it did on the website.

As I began trying to squeeze all of the gear from my pencil case into the little zips, pockets and compartments of the Myabetic, I immediately felt very restricted with what I could carry.

The large velcro envelope housed my meter and test strips. The loop adjacent to the meter pouch was intended for test strip tubes, however the wider oval shape of my Accu Chek guide test strips rendered it unusable. I did manage to squeeze my glucose tabs there, but not without a great deal of effort.

There were two loops equipped to carry insulin pens, and I opted to use the spare loop to carry my lancing device.

There was a removable waste pouch which cleverly housed used test strips and needles. I opted to use it to house my spare (unpackaged) pump site and infusion set. The final mesh pouch was just enough to fit spare needles, lancets and batteries.

I genuinely did like that compared to my pencil case, the Myabetic was a lot more compact and easier to carry around. Not to mention impact resistant. But unfortunately, it was also just a bit too flashy for my liking, even when I carried it with me to a wedding earlier this month. Perhaps in this regard it would be more suited to the girls.

Having to open all of the little zippers and compartments to get to my stuff also felt like a lot of effort when I already have a needy chronic condition to manage. I’m also carrying pump gear on me, so perhaps things would be simpler if I were just on Multiple Daily Injections.

I’ve no doubt that the Myabetic is a clever creation and has won itself legions of fans all over the world. For the time being, though, I think I’ll just keep mine in the spare drawer until a special occasion calls.

The Myabetic collection of diabetes bags can be found here. For those of you in Australia, they are also distributed through Rockadex and One and 2.

Travelling Prepared With Diabetes

With the Christmas and New Year break just around the corner (if you’re lucky enough not to be working), today I’m revisiting a post from Diabetes Blog Week on travelling with diabetes.

When I was first diagnosed, I had this attitude that diabetes wouldn’t weigh me down. Quite literally. I wanted to prove that diabetes hadn’t changed me. I wanted to prove that I didn’t need to carry a meter, insulin or jellybeans with me as a just-in-case. It felt weak. It felt like giving into my condition.

So if anyone knows a thing or two about how to travel un-prepared with diabetes, it’s me.

I once boarded a ferry to Rottnest Island, only to discover that I had bugger all insulin left in my pen cartridge. Instead of trying to find a Pharmacy, I decided to wing it and somehow lived to tell the tale.

I remember going hypo on a Friday morning at work, with nothing to eat other than an overripe banana. Yuck.

I discovered a failed infusion site while I was away from home painting a house one Saturday afternoon, and had to drive home in the pouring rain to change it.

When my insulin ran out halfway through a lunchtime dose, I winged it again, probably running high until hometime.

When I suspected spoiled insulin earlier this year, I had to call my Dad to run some up to me work.

And then something changed.

I began using an insulin pump, and I knew that I needed a better contingency plan now that I was relying on a machine to keep me alive.

When it comes to travelling prepared with diabetes, my biggest dilemma is deciding whether I actually need to carry those supplies with me, or whether I am simply preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

I like to travel prepared. But I also like to travel as lightly as possible. Us guys don’t exactly have the luxury of handbags…

I’ll often stand in front of my desk before heading out, debating over whether I need to bring this with me. I’ll tuck things in my pockets. Then I’ll take things out because I feel weighted down and over prepared.

I’ve tried the whole keeping supplies stashed in different places. You know, desk drawers, lockers, in the car, in my satchel. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. The only problem is you begin depleting those supplies. And you have to remember to keep topping them up. Not ideal, either.

I’ve recently invested in a small pencil case. I keep all the essentials in there. A blood glucose meter, lancing device, spare lancets, spare meter batteries, glucose tabs, an insulin pen and needles. Spare batteries, an infusion set, insulin cartridge and my Animas coin to deal with a potential pump failure.

Those are my essentials. Nothing more, nothing less. I grab that case every time I leave the house. There’s no more dillemas over what to bring, or what not to bring. It’s not big, bulky or akward to carry. It can even stay in the car if it’s going to annoy me while I’m out.

You learn from experience when it comes to travelling prepared with diabetes.

 

And you do get better at it over time.

P.S. Don’t forget that insulin can spoil in the heat if you’re planning on spending Christmas Day at the beach!