A crash course on taking diabetes on my honeymoon.
By Kerri Sparling
May 2008 — Well folks, I am officially a married columnist. My wedding day itself was beautiful, all of our friends and family members were there, and of course a few things went a bit wrong, but I was too dang excited to care. My diabetes, thankfully, behaved itself for the most part, leaving me to enjoy becoming a wife in peace.
The morning after our wedding, my husband and I found ourselves at the airport, suitcases at our sides and sparkly new rings on our fingers. We were euphoric from the day before, excited for our honeymoon, and exhausted from all the preparations.
Going on vacation requires planning and packing for everyone, but for a person with diabetes, there's a bit more in the carry-on than toiletries and a paperback. For our ten day vacation, I needed to back at least three weeks worth of diabetes supplies. My diabetes supply bag contained the following:
•Two bottles of Humalog insulin
•Six infusion sets
•Three reservoirs for the insulin pump
•I.V. prep wipes for site changes
•A bottle of Lantus (in case the pump fails)
•AAA batteries for the pump
•Several boxes of test strips
•A back-up glucose meter
•A bag of syringes
•A handful of lancets
•A travel sharps container
•Medical alert card
•Emergency contact numbers
•Letter from my endocrinologist stating that I have diabetes and use an insulin pump to manage my condition (this comes in handy when people at the airport ask me to check my pump in my suitcase)
It seems like an awful lot to pack for just over a week of travel, but this supply kit takes all kinds of variables into account, from a broken pump to a water-logged meter. I feel prepared for all kinds of hiccups with this bag by my side. Now airport security … that's a whole other matter.
I'm not very comfortable with flying (read: terrified), so going through airport security is usually a bit of a challenge. Something about taking off my shoes and having my body scanned unnerved me. It doesn't help that airport security is not very familiar with an insulin pump.
"Miss, you need to remove your cell phone."
"Excuse me, that mp3 player is not allowed through security."
"Remove that from your waist immediately, ma'am, or I will have to escort you to a search room."
And my personal favorite from the customs agent at the connecting flight in North Carolina: "Is that your garage door opener?"
"No, sir. This is not my garage door opener. This is an insulin pump. For diabetes."
"Dang. I was thinking to myself, ‘That girl loves her garage door opener! Bringin' it all the way to the airport.'"
(And this man works for the United States Customs office?)
Once we arrived at the resort, diabetes took a back seat to our honeymoon activities. We ate at fancy restaurants every night (after testing my blood sugar, bolusing accordingly, and keeping a tube of glucose gel in my purse), taking in the local flavors and enjoying a glass of champagne or two. We rode horses on the beach and took pictures in the garden. We even went to the gym a number of times, working out against a backdrop of palm trees.
What proved to be the trickiest activity was anything water-related. Since we were enjoying the tropical weather of Punta Cana, most of our days were spent either on the beach or at the pool. Blood sugars held steady and my meter remained shaded from the sun, but keeping my pump infusion sets from peeling away was a bit of a challenge. Usually, my sites stay stuck for at least three days. On vacation, I was lucky to have it hanging on by a thread on day two. It helped to apply some medical tape to the gauze of my infusion set, keeping it secured against my skin.
At the end of our vacation, we were relaxed, tanned, and newly-wedded. Diabetes didn't keep me from enjoying my first vacation with my husband. And now that the wedding stress is behind us, we can focus on our life together and what our future may hold.
Visit Kerri's website.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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