Always Travel With Your Insulin and Meter

Ginger Vieira Health Guide
  • Last February, my Endocrinologist asked me to be a volunteer counselor at a weekend retreat for teenagers with diabetes. For years, she’d tried to get me to attend as a camper and I’d refused, for many reasons, but mostly because the idea of having someone checking up on me every half hour was horrifying. Unlike many of the people I know who have diabetes, my parents allowed me to learn how to take care of it completely on my own right from the start. What I discovered during the weekend retreat was that most of these kids really needed someone checking up on them, telling them how much insulin to take and when to take it. The one thing, though, that scared me the most: They don’t carry their insulin and glucose meters with them at all times!
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    I could not believe this! I don’t have any children, but you might mistake my little black pouch containing my insulin, glucose tabs and glucose meter for my newborn child, because I never go anywhere without it. Seriously, I never go anywhere without it.

    I consider my insulin and glucose meter the only way to keep up with my insulin-producing friends. With it, I can do everything they can do. Without it, I’m a girl with a broken pancreas and it would show.

    It’s hard to admit, but diabetes holds us back, if we let it. Unlike my friends, I can’t just suddenly decide to play a game of basketball, because first, I need to make sure my blood sugar is high enough to survive the exercise. Unlike my friends, I can’t just chow down on candy and soda and popcorn, because first, I need to know just how many carbohydrates I’m about to consume, so I can take enough insulin to keep myself from winding up in the hospital with DKA later that day (look, we all need candy sometimes, right?) The best thing I can think of to be able to keep up with my insulin-producing friends is to keep my supplies with me at all times.

    There have been times I’ve considered leaving it at home, because I’m simply going to the grocery store or to a friend’s house to pick up the sweatshirt I’d left behind the other day, but there’s a voice in my head (perhaps it’s my Endocrinologist) telling me I’d better bring that darn black pouch with me because I might regret it. And as usual, while I’m at the grocery store, a friend calls and says I should come over for dinner or down to the waterfront for a swim. While I’m picking up that sweatshirt, my friend suggests I stay for a while to watch a movie or go downtown with her for a late lunch. Whatever it might be, at least I’m prepared.

    The only reason I’m not afraid of hypo or hyper-glycemia is because I know I’m prepared for it. I have juice boxes and glucose tabs stashed everywhere! As soon as I open my last bottle of insulin, I pick up more at the pharmacy. As a diabetic, I don’t think you can ever be too prepared.

Published On: January 08, 2007