When it comes to traveling by airplane, I follow all of the rules (if you don’t turn off your cell phone when it’s time to take off, I’m the one shooting you panicked looks, which is how my face remains for the duration of the flight). Until we’re up in the air, I leave my Dexcom receiver fully shut down and when I was using the Ping meter, I kept the RF (radio frequency, aka the automagic shuttling of blood sugars from my meter to my pump) shut off.
imagine my delight when I finally figured out that pressing the button on the side of my Verio Sync twice in rapid succession would put my meter into airplane mode! (IMAGINE IT!!!)
(But did I test in my seat on the airplane? I’ll never tell. )
“My mom? She has brown hair and a red shirt,” said my daughter’s playgroup friend, climbing up the jungle gym.
“My mom is over there. She has a pump in her butt,” my daughter pointed towards me and waved, causing me to quickly answer the look of surprise on the other parents’ faces with a brief, panicked explanation of the insulin pump connected to the top of my left hip.
Before we settled on paper dolls for Diabetes Art Day, there was an unnatural exploration of cats and a finger painting app on the iPad (don’t read that sentence too fast or it will give you an unintended mental image). This is what happens when the snow keeps falling and it’s far too heavy and constant to shovel so you’re stuck at home, taking art direction from a three and a half year old:
“How about we put the pump on Siah?”
“Sure, like this?”
“Yeah, only the tubing is across her belly button and she’s going to get stuck to the doorknob for sure.” (Birdy doesn’t know much about diabetes, but she knows I end up tethered to things more often than I’d like.)
“Hey, is that Siah’s Dexcom? On her leg? Like you wear!”
“I don’t know what any of that is, Mawm.”
“That’s Siah. She’s wearing a blue circle pin for World Diabetes Day. And behind her is …”
“Nope. A calendar.”
“We need one with Loopy.”
“Okay. Here’s the Loopster with some glucose tabs. And glucose tab dust all over her fur.”
My presentation was anchored in the “Living Well With Diabetes” track, and I homed in on the tips, tricks, and hacks that people with diabetes are using to streamline a cumbersome disease. But the best part, for me, was getting the folks in attendance to share their tips, and to get discussions brewing between attendees. A lot of the discussion was built around integration of diabetes devices. “The technology we have available to us is amazing, but if we don’t wear it and use it, it’s useless. Doctors prescribe these tools for us, but as a community, we learn to truly integrate these things into our lives.”
We talked about the Dexcom-in-a-glass routine, and other patients mentioned putting loose change in the same glass to further amplify the rattle.
A few HCPs in the audience shared tips they picked up from their patients. “One of my patients had a tough time remembering to take her nighttime insulin dose, so I suggested that she tape the pen to her toothbrush. It’s something she uses every night before bed!”
A patient talked about the time she swapped her basal dose for her fast acting dose. “I spent that whole night eating. Never again!” To help remind her to note the difference between her two insulin pens, she wraps brightly colored duct tape around her fast-acting insulin, so she is forced to note the difference.
Whether we’re talking about how to best (read: most comfortably and practically) use diabetes devices or highlighting the need for peer-to-peer support, the discussions are important because diabetes does not exist in a vacuum. For me, I hit diabetes management stride when the tools – glucose meters, insulin pumps, CGMs, logbooks, medications – are in my control and fit into my actual life.
If there’s something you do to make diabetes easier and you’d like to share it, please do!
*Huge shout out to Rachel, the Qantas flight attendant who only ridiculed me a little for “losing” my phone (only to realize I tucked it into my book bag during a jet-laggy moment) and was the epitome of excellent care and service for for a nervous flyer like me (QF 94 on 11/30 from LAX – MEL, and again on QF 93 on 12/8 from MEL – LAX). Already writing to the Qantas management team to highlight her kindness, but writing it down here on the off-chance that someone who works for Qantas has diabetes.
I am not a doctor. I am not a certified diabetes educator. I have no medical degree. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice, and if you are taking it as medical advice, I suggest you contact your doctor immediately for issues other than diabetes.
This is my diabetes life - if you are interested in making changes to yours, you need to consult your doctor.
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