Lost It

Let me recap for you a rather boneheaded thing I did on Sunday’s trip home from Kansas during which I lost, for the first time in my tenure as a person with Type 1 diabetes, an important part of my diabetes accoutrement.


Before that, though, for those of you who aren’t familiar with me: I use an insulin pump, the Animas OneTouch Ping. This pump is paired with the OneTouch Ping Meter-Remote, which allows me to administer boluses remotely, as well as serves as my primary meter for keeping blood glucose numbers — this is the meter I turn over to the nurses during my endocrinologist visits, who in turn download the info it contains and print out a record of my glucose checks, which the doctor then uses as part of his assessment when he discusses how my self-management is going.

This is the thing I lost, this meter-remote.

See, Kathryn and I took a little vacation back to Salina, Kansas — where I grew up — for a couple of days to attend a Swedish festival in the town where my mother grew up (Lindsborg, Kansas; Little Sweden, USA, as it says on the billboard on your way into town).

We had a good time, saw lots of family and several friends, and ate some rather tasty food. Our flight home was at 10:30 on Sunday morning. My folks live about three hours from the airport. Therefore, it was an early exodus from my hometown so we could make it to Kansas City International on time. (Is all of this information important? Maybe. I don’t know what I’m blaming my loss on besides absentmindedness, so I’m giving you some added detail so you can determine for yourself.)

I threw my carry-on in the backseat of the rental car. My meter — henceforth referred to as my kit — was in its black case and peeking out of the outside zippered pocket of my carry-on. I know it was there; I saw it; I can still see it.

Before returning the rental car to National at the airport, I stopped to top off the tank. At this point I recall getting into the backseat for some reason to grab something out of my bag. Or did I? I don’t know. I also don’t remember clearly if the kit was zipped up in the bag’s pocket, or if it was peeking out. It may have been peeking out, because perhaps three hours earlier I’d put it in the bag for easy access in case I needed to check my blood glucose on the way to the airport.

We dropped off the rental car, hopped on the shuttle to the Delta terminal, and before going through security, I sat down to check my glucose.

No kit.

I fumbled through the carry-on for about five minutes. I knew immediately it wasn’t there, but still, I pawed through protein bars, travel packs of Kleenex, an iPhone charger or two, loose change, and infusion sets and reservoirs, all to no avail. The kit was gone.

Kathryn sat there watching me without commentary. Earlier that morning she thought she’d lost the charger to her Kindle, only to discover that she’d put it in the glove compartment of the rental car. I never gave her grief for the loss of the charger; I didn’t receive grief for the loss of my kit.

Where was my kit? I knew I had it in the rental car, knew it had been in my bag. Now it wasn’t. So, my dilemma: call the National desk and see if they could find it, or just suck it up and deal with replacing the kit when I returned to Michigan?

I don’t know about you, but traveling really wears me out. After only three days away from home, I’m pretty much done. I want the path of least resistance to get me back to the comfort of my home. Sure, I need my blood glucose meter, but sure, I could make it three more hours without monitoring. I knew I had a couple of spare meters at home; not meter-remotes, mind you, but meters that work with the test strips I have. I also had carbs for the flight; I wasn’t worried if my glucose went a little high, and with carbs, I could always combat a low.

I opted to avoid trying to track down the kit at National and just suck it up and pay for my mistake. We made it home without incident, and I e-mailed my certified diabetes educator to see if she’s dealt with other irresponsible people who’ve lost their kits, and what they did to avoid paying full price for a new meter. (At that point I didn’t know how much a new meter-remote cost, but I wasn’t really feeling like paying for a replacement, my fault though it was.)

Failing to hear from the CDE by Tuesday at noon, I called Animas and asked them what I could do. I was in luck. Because this was the first time I’d lost the meter, the representative I spoke to said they had a one-time free replacement policy and that she’d send it out to me next-day. Then I asked her what the price was if on the off chance I lost this one and needed to replace it (let’s hope not). She said I’d have to speak to someone in another department, because she wasn’t sure, but that she believed it was somewhere between $60 and $80. That sounded much better to me than the several hundred dollars I thought I’d have to pay. I know regular meters aren’t that expensive, but the OneTouch Ping Meter-Remote communicates with my insulin pump, so I wasn’t sure what expensive technology is involved in such a thing.

I received the replacement meter remote from UPS last night. I have it sitting on my desk beside me, and now, when I get around to it, need to go through the procedure of connecting it wirelessly to my insulin pump — this requires, if I recall correctly, a pump shutdown and restart, which is why I’m looking with some hesitation at the meter. Call me lazy, but sometimes small things are daunting!

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  • jim snell

    Eric is dead on. Travel is a bitch.

    I found I have to make up a written pilot’s check list of everything and make sure I check off before I leave and when I come home.

    It so easy to get distracted and miss an important kit/bag/charger.

    There is no easy fix. Travel is still a bitch.

    Best wishes Eric.

  • BK CDE

    I hear you Eric. I traveled to Germany recently and when they said it is now time to turn off anything with an on and off switch, I looked for my cell phone. It was nowhere. I have never lost one before either. I was sure it must have fallen out of the pocket I clip it to somewhere in the airport. My best guess was security, but no luck. Fortunately I can do without the phone more than you can do without your meter. Finally broke down and replaced it 4 weeks later. How can those things fall off the face of the earth???? I wondered if you ever called National? I also wonder if your CDE could have gotten you one from her Lifescan rep. I know my rep would have provided one.

  • C J Brownlee

    I use the One Touch Ping also and there’s been a few times I’ve misplaced my meter remote. Once I lost it for a whole week, and spent that week retracing my steps. Finally found it in the bag I thought it had been in, but in the wrong pocket. The problem – black bag + black kit = no meter. It’s got so frustrating to me I moved it to another, larger, black and silver hard case to make it easier to see. Maybe the manufacturers ought to offer kits in a selection of colors?

    I know yours isn’t exactly the same scenario, but I do understand how it can be frustrating, especially with a meter-remote.

    Thanks for the info on the one-time replacement policy. I didn’t know that.

  • James Walsh

    I’m about to begin using a pump from Medisense. I’m spending a lot of time looking at all of the possible problems as I’m a bit scatter-brained with Parkinsons, seizures, and brain damage (plus other stuff!). I already carry a ton of pills, laptop, phone, PDA to maintain a triple backup as I tend to either lose or break my stuff. That’s why I try to travel by car whenever I can and have shutdown/locating systems where possible.
    Hope there’s one for the pump ayatem as I travel between Manhattan, KS and Syracuse, NY a couple times yearly.


  • Kelly

    Salina, Kansas eh? I’ve been reading your blog for years and I had no idea you were from my neck of the woods. 🙂 Hello from Clay Center, Kansas!

    I’ve been Type 1 diabetic for the past 35 years. Since age 7 and I love reading your blog because I can totally relate to your frustrations and triumphs. I’m also on an insulin pump and have hypothyroidism to boot like so many diabetics do.

    I just thought I’d post a shout out to you and tell you thanks for sharing your life with us and I’m glad you got your meter replaced! I’d be lost with my remote meter. My life is on that! 😉

  • Mike Cherry


    Sorry to hear about your loss, and not having a meter can be unnerving sometimes. I travel quite frequently each year with my job and only once over the last 13 years have I lost a BG kit. When I travel I always carry my primary kit in my briefcase for instant access, and then I carry a spare (compact) kit inside my carry-on. That way if I do lose a kit, I always have a back-up. I also will not travel from home without at least 2 or more infusion sets depending on the length of travel(yes, I use a pump too), and enough insulin for 2 weeks. In my many years of traveling I try to be prepared for the “unexpected.” Over the years I have had many delays and cancelled flights requiring an additional night, so I just try to be prepared.

  • Karl

    RE: losing things
    I am 68 with type II for the last 11 years. Glipizide quit working several years ago, and now I do Novolin 70/30 35 units in the morning and 30 at night.

    In 2000, I tried several different types of blood glucose monitors and finally settled on the Accu-Chek Advantage. I then upgraded to an Accu check complete which stores the last thousand readings. It is my meter of choice, but I lost it. At first I thought it was on my kitchen table (and it actually was) but I didn’t see it as it was under something. Then I looked frantically at work and did not find it. I called Accu check to see if anyone had turned it in and they said no one had. They then sent me a brand-new one free of charge. Then I found old one which I still use to this day.

    Sometime a couple years ago my Motorola razr V3 cell phone turned up missing. I have no idea where I lost it. I have learned an important lesson through the loss of these two items. The most important is, put your name and address on your items so that if they are lost MAYBE someone will return it to you. I now have the little stick on address labels on things like my camera and cell phone and anything else that I might lose.
    the Motorola razr was easy to replace but I had not made a copy of my phone numbers and that was a much bigger loss than the razr.

  • Nick

    Have you tried FoundIt (foundit.net)? It’s super cheap and the stickers & tags mean I don’t need to put my name all over everything (they use an ID #).
    Worth checking out.