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URL:   http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/jan-chait/get_packing_but_what_and_in_what/print/

Get Packing! But What? And IN What?

Jan Chait

February 20, 2007

Here I go, getting ready to take another trip, pondering what to
take—and what to take it in. (I asked my granddaughter if I could use her hot pink bag—it’s easy to find on the luggage carousel—and she asked me what she got in return. Telling her I was the one who bought it didn’t seem to cut it with her.)

Used to be I could take off for a weeklong trip with a toddler toting only a carry-on bag and an umbrella stroller. And the carry-on bag included enough diapers to last for two or three days, until I could get around to buying more.

Then I got diabetes and had to take “stuff” with me, beginning with throwing a bottle of pills into my purse and escalating to a meter, strips, insulin, syringes, and on into insulin pump supplies and such. Which called for a larger “purse” (actually a courier bag that was more of a medical supply cabinet and only incidentally contained “purse contents”).

After a flight that was supposed to last 1½ hours escalated into a full day of being stuck on runways, flying to airports that weren’t on the original schedule, running from one gate to another, and finally landing at my destination in full hypoglycemia, I decided to start carrying more than a snack with me and began packing full meals plus snacks.

Speaking of being stuck on the runway, I had to add a real (i.e., sugary) soda to my kit. That was after an incident when I had trouble getting my blood glucose up while parked on the runway and the flight attendant refused to bring me a soda “because we don’t have enough for everybody to have an extra one.” That was followed by telling her I needed it to raise my blood sugar and her informing me that I needed juice. No. I needed a soda. When I can’t get my blood glucose up, I need sugar and caffeine. Juice doesn’t have caffeine in it.

I may have been back to carrying a real purse, but I’d added a traveling medicine/supply cabinet/cafeteria.

Which necessitated checking my baggage and lengthening my time at the airport. I could no longer get off the plane and go directly to my final destination. Now I had to add a side trip to wait for my checked luggage. Sometimes it even arrived.

And because it sometimes doesn’t arrive when I do (and I had a particularly bad time with that last summer), I now need to shlep jammies, extra clothes, and emergency toiletries with me.

I don’t need a luggage cart; I need a mule. Actually, at this point, I have a courier bag and a tote bag on rollers. Plus my checked bag, of course. Which, by necessity, needs to hold all but emergency toiletries in addition to whatever clothing and shoes I can stand to do without until the airline gets my luggage to me.

Thanks to terrorists, I don’t need my fancy bags and cases to carry my diabetes paraphernalia with me, either: A plastic bag will do. I’m not sure if I can still carry a soda with me to treat obstinate lows, but I do know that I can overpay for a bottle of water once I get through security instead of bringing a bottle from home.

Actually, since you can’t even lock your luggage any more, in case security wants to search your bags, why am I even bothering to keep it around anyway? I may as well go back to my roots: West Virginia matched luggage (in other words, shopping bags). Maybe I’ll get a set of those on this trip. In fact, I know just the place: Bloomingdale’s. For a Small Brown Bag, a Medium Brown Bag, and a Large Brown Bag.

I wonder if they have a Clear Plastic Bag for my diabetes stuff.



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