It’s Vacation Time! Worry, Obsess, and Fret

Ever since my trip to New York City with my granddaughter in January, when I went through four infusion sets in three days, I’ve been concerned about how much “stuff” to take for a three-week trip that’s mostly out of the country.


I mention that it’s out of the country because I belong to a large enough diabetes-related mailing list that I can post a “help!” note and somebody is sure to live close enough to where I am in the States to help me out. It’s like when my friend Sara Smarty Pants landed in the hospital during a business trip to Chicago: It unexpectedly lengthened her stay, so she sent a post to the Insulin Pumpers list asking for some emergency supplies. Not a problem.

The other thing is that there is all kinds of stuff I have to carry onto the plane: insulin, infusion sets, meter, backup meter, test strips, insulin syringes, continuous glucose monitor (CGM), sensors for the CGM, a CPAP machine. Chargers for my scooter, my CGM, and — less critical but still desired — my iPod and cell phone. Stuff to raise my blood glucose in case I go low. Food because airlines don’t feed you. Jammies and an extra outfit and undies because I’ve gone one way and my luggage has gone another more than once — including one time when I went to Europe and my luggage went to Denver. Which reminds me: Throw in a toothbrush and toothpaste. And, oh yeah, my pills.

How much does it take before your carry-on becomes, of necessity, large enough that it needs to be checked?

On the plus side, medical supplies, equipment, etc., are in addition to the “one carry-on and one personal item” rule. (You can get all kinds of information about traveling with a medical condition or disability here.)

OK. I can put my purse stuff in my purse; put food, extra clothes, a toothbrush and –paste, and chargers for my iPod and phone in a tote bag; and put all of that medical stuff in a rollaboard. If I put my traveling bud’s purse and/or tote on my scooter handlebars, she can lug the rollaboard. (Or one in each hand if she takes HER rollaboard!)

But that begs the question: How much of what do I take? On my four-day excursion to NYC, I had a fresh infusion set in and took three more. That should have been enough to last for 12 days: They didn’t last four. Darned things kept coming out!

Do I take six weeks worth? Eight weeks? Should I ask for a prescription for some long-acting insulin so I won’t have to inject rapid-acting every two or three hours as I did on that last day of the NYC trip?

I believe that incident was merely a case of bad adhesive on a box of infusion sets. This time, I’ll be in the tropics. Will they sweat off?

Lots of questions. Oh, and by the way, don’t bother giving me any answers: If all went as planned, as you read this blog entry, I’m already in Florida to board a cruise ship that will go through the Panama Canal. With both my traveling bud and I having elderly parents, it’s always a crapshoot as to whether we get to go!

A cruise through the Panama Canal has been on our bucket lists for a long time. When I came across a good deal on a cruise ship we’ve both been on — and love — the answer as to whether we should go…well, hardly needed to be asked. Hell, yes, we were going! Even if it IS in the tropics and I hate heat.

Plans are to head to Florida a couple of days before the cruise begins. A mutual friend will join us for some “just us girls” time before we begin our 16-night cruise. (Which begs the question, if the Panama Canal is only 50 miles long, why does it take 16 nights to go through it? Yes, it’s a joke: We stop places before and after.) After the cruise, it’s off to Seattle for a couple of days before returning home.

By then, it should be about time to plan our next cruise. And worry all over again about how much of what to schlep onto the plane.

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  • jim snell


    To save on the number of Porter’s you will need looking for Dr. Livingston in AFrica, I find mailing – ups/fedex supplies to friends in a few extra places along the way saves a ton of inconvenience dealing with security et all and having refresh stockpiles along the way without having to pack it all from source.

    You might find out what freight you can ship – preload on boat for medical reasons to save on the security/day of travel hastle and inconvenience.

    The question you raise is not insignifigant even just travelling from LA to Seattle for week.
    This is not a time when one needs extra fires to send hormones and blood pressure/BG orbital.

    I find I have the same extensive list of stuff to take as you do except I am not pumping.

    Once one has been fully exercised through the late stages of diabetes – nothing is insignifigant and can be overlooked – and “THAT should not be a problem”.

    Good Luck and have Fun!

  • Jan Chait

    We did make it to our vacation and are now in Florida. We set sail today. However, we’re disembarking in San Diego instead of Vancouver. Our friend, Sonja, made it to Fort Lauderdale and the “girls” have been having a blast for the past couple of days.


  • ana angulo

    Have a great time!!! and pleeease tell us all about it!

  • Barbara Bradley

    Have a great trip! Looking forward to the blog about this trip in the heat.