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How Much of Too Much Isn’t Enough?

Jan Chait

February 1, 2012

I coulda sworn three extra infusion sets would be enough for a change and an emergency over a four-day trip. I was wrong. With my luck, even four additional sets probably wouldn’t have been enough. It’s a good thing that, for once, I threw a couple of insulin syringes in my pump supply kit or I really would have been SOL.

OK, Cali the granddaughter and I are back from our long weekend in the big city. We actually got back to the Indianapolis airport (which has been transformed into Super Bowl Marketing City) Monday night. I’m a day late on getting this week’s blog entry in because I was too lazy to write it last week, too busy to write it while I was gone, and just couldn’t stay awake yesterday.

Because we had an early flight on Friday, we left after Cali got out of school Thursday and spent the night at a Hilton brand hotel near the airport. I name the brand because of the good customer service we received: The room we were given did not have a roll-in shower. It was an accessible room, but the shower had a lip on it. As we were waiting for our cab Friday morning, I pointed out to the night auditor that I was unable to roll over the lip and the shower seat was too far away for me to transfer over to it.

When I finally dug down to an e-mail from the hotel manager after returning home (and sleeping), I found out that I had been given the wrong type of accessible room and, because of that, had not been charged for the room. Wow! Also, my experience was used to do some employee training.

It was interesting for me to find out that I had stayed in a “transfer” room. I need to find out more about that. I do know there was a huge living room-type room and a very large whirlpool tub in the bathroom.

But back to my emergency planning skills… As I said, I’d taken three infusion sets for my insulin pump, in addition to the one I was using at the time. I left Thursday with a fresh set in, I would be back Monday, and each set is to be used three days, so I had plenty extra. Right? HA!

For those of you who don’t know how it works, an insulin pump has a reservoir in it that holds insulin. From there, the insulin flows through plastic tubing and into a Teflon catheter that’s placed under the skin using an introducer needle (the needle is taken out and disposed of after the catheter is placed). The catheter says in because it’s attached to a plastic doohickey that sticks onto your skin.

Anyway, darned if I could make an infusion set stay on (and in) me. I don’t recall why the others didn’t stay put, but the last one was the toilet seat’s fault. It was one of those horseshoe-shaped seats that’s open in the front. Somehow, when I leaned forward from my scooter, grabbed the bar behind the toilet, twirled around and sat down, the tubing got wrapped around the seat. All efforts to disentangle it were hopeless and, with nothing to get the insulin from the pump into me, all I could do was turn off the pump and pack it away in my kit (actually, a plastic box of the size used to store index cards).

Luckily, as I said above, I had the foresight to throw in a couple of insulin syringes, so I could inject insulin. It was, however, a bit of a hassle to remember to do that: I’ve been pumping for…hmmmm…I think it was 13 years last December 1. So I’m not all that accustomed to injecting insulin.

Then, shortly after I had to put my pump away, my continuous glucose monitor sensor came off. I think I had another one with me, but couldn’t remember where I’d put it, so I put the monitor and transmitter away, too. Which meant I had to do fingersticks.

I felt nekkid without the gear on. And rather like a sieve with all of the injections and finger pokes.

Well, enough about that. How about we move along to airport security?

Holey Junior Birdman! What in the Sam Hill has happened since I last flew in August?!

Since I use a mobility scooter, I always get patted down, but I ain’t never been patted down like I was this trip! I dunno if those security wimmen were looking for explosive devices or trying to give somebody a thrill! They touched everything — meaning every part of my body — I sat on. Everything!

Be happy if you can walk through a scanner. Don’t let anything happen to you that could change that.

On the other hand, they do know about diabetes supplies. The x-ray dudes were confused about something in my supplies and charger paraphernalia bag and I thought it might be my insulin pump. “There’s an insulin pump in there. It’s turned off, but it beeps once in a while,” I told them and they basically said: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. No problems.” Turns out it was an unfinished bottle of lemonade I’d forgotten about.

Next trip: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, via the Panama Canal. Including extra time in Florida, the cruise, and a couple of days in Seattle, I’ll be gone nearly three weeks. I wonder how many infusion sets to take. A case? Or should I just have my supplier on speed dial?



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