Putting New Technologies to the Test
Now where is the stress relief button on this thing?
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October 2008 —I have never been much of a traveler - maybe because as a child we rarely went anywhere that was more than one-day travel by car. Going anywhere with a diabetic child took a lot of planning and courage! First, there was the extra packing - needles, syringes, alcohol, testing supplies (much different back then) - and we couldn't forget the pan designated just for boiling needles and syringes. Finding food for a restricted diet and staying on a strict schedule was also a problem. I didn't blame my parents for staying home.
New technologies have lightened the load for people with diabetes who want to travel. Glucose meters and especially my pump have made my life a lot less complicated than "back then."
My oldest son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Jae, recently moved to San Francisco. Bob and I really wanted to visit them. While I still enjoy travel by car, driving from Indiana to California was not a possibility with our time schedule. This would be my first flight. I was anxious to see how much these new technologies would ease the burden of traveling with diabetes.
We were scheduled to leave on 9/11. I knew well the importance of that date. But I decided it would be especially safe to fly because of added security, just because it was 9/11. I wondered if airport security would question my insulin pump. No one seemed to even notice it. We breezed right through. While waiting to board I checked my blood sugar - 98 mg/dl. Everything was going well.
We flew from Indianapolis to Houston. When we booked the flight there was no mention of a hurricane. Now, Hurricane Ike was expected to hit Houston late Friday night/early Saturday morning. There was no sign of a storm as we flew over the Gulf. The sun was beautiful, shining on the water. We would be safe in San Francisco long before the storm was expected. As we neared Houston the pilot told us we would have to fly past the airport and return shortly. I knew we only had fifty minutes from our arrival in Houston until our flight to California. The pilot said it would only be a few minutes. Lunch would not be possible. I thought it would be a good test to check my basal rate.
We exited the plane forty-five minutes late. Bob and I had five minutes to find our departure gate. No one had told us the George Bush Airport was the size of a small town. There was no way we would make our flight.
The lady at the service desk was concerned. Houston was being evacuated, and the airport was closing. It seems everyone wanted to go to the San Francisco area. There were no seats on any flight, of any airline, available. We were willing to go to San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland – but so was everyone else. We were told we would be put on stand by, top priority.
The next flight was two hours away. We would have time for lunch. I checked my blood sugar again -166 mg/dl. I decided it might be stress and did a correction. After lunch we went to the next gate to make sure we were on the stand by list as promised.
Somehow, I had a seat. Bob was not on the list. I could make the flight but there was no way he would. I was not about to go alone. Back to the service desk.
Before going to the next gate I did another quick blood sugar test - 187 mg/dl. Definitely stress. The lady at the next gate told us we were on the stand by list this time. I was on the list for San Francisco. Bob was on the list for San Jose. I could feel my blood sugar climbing.
We went to every gate for every flight to San Francisco for the rest of the day. We were finally given seats on the very last flight out of Houston. I did another blood sugar test after arriving in San Francisco - 237 mg/dl. I decided I had earned the right to have a 237 mg/dl reading. The whole time in San Francisco I had only two blood sugar readings out of range, one high and one low. It's amazing what stress alone can do to blood sugar control!
I considered traveling with my pump a great success. I liked the ease of doing corrections. I didn't have to find a clean, inconspicuous place to do injections. I truly love my pump.
I only wish it had a button to relieve stress.
dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.
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