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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

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Entries in MDI (2)


(Almost) Up in the Air

How many OmniPods would you take on a ten day vacation?

If you were going to leave your home early one morning and drive over an hour to an airport to catch a four hour flight, one that would take you to a remote island location for ten days... how may OmniPods would you bring?

I brought eleven

I also brought two hundred test strips, an extra MultiClix, an entire package of lancet cartridges, one backup OmniPod PDM, a ketone meter with a 50 strips, two glucogon kits, four vials of Apidra, five DexCom sensors, a brick of juice boxes, candy, fast acting glucose tablets, five packages of needles, FlexiFix, AAA batteries, a DexCom charger and three copies of the travel letter that our endo wrote.

Other than the fact that everyone was a mix of exhausted (long year) and excited (we never go on vacations like this), our flight to the Caribbean was uneventful. The TSA experience in New York was fast, pleasant and so accommodating that the multiple juice boxes we brought through screening were treated like medication. Actually, for the first nine and a half days of this vacation all of my extra supply preparation was unnecessary. We never had one issue with our D technology, sensors stayed on, insulin resisted the heat and diabetes was a perfectly behaved travel partner.

It wasn't until we were literally walking out of the door to return home from our island getaway that things began to go the other way. I knew that the odds were stacked against us, I mean, how often do you get to go ten days without a significant diabetes issue that requires your inner MacGyver?

During travel, I keep enough supplies in my carry on bag to complete one site change. The bag also contains enough insulin and needles to manage for a full day without needing the backup supplies that are in my larger luggage. I lug that stuff with me when we fly with the hopes that I'll never need it.

Was it an omen, probably not... I don't believe in omens, but I did drop a vial of insulin as I was packaging the Apidra back into it's ice pack for the trip home. Fun Fact: I've never broken a vial of insulin until the one in my hand hit the stone floor of our rental home. No matter, I had three more. #prepared

We drove our rental jeep to the ferry, made the short trip from island to island and then jumped into a taxi destine for the airport. It was during that taxi ride that Arden's BG got a little squirrelly, I bolused. TSA was again a dream and before we knew it our bags were off to the belly of the plane. All that was left to do was to grab a pre-flight meal and wait to board. We ate, found our way to the correct gate and planted ourselves in some soft chairs. 

Ferry Departure

BEEP BEEP goes the DexCom

"I must have miscalculated the airport food", that's what I thought when Arden's CGM indicated that her BG was rising thirty minutes after our meal. I reassessed and added more insulin but the beeping continued, soon after the arrows changed from diagonal up to one arrow straight up. Before long, the arrow found a friend... two arrows up. Hmmm, WTF!? Turns out that Arden must have unknowingly banged her leg into something during our trip from paradise to the airport, I noticed a tear on the OmniPod adhesive and the canula looked withdrawn. Interestingly, on the same day that I dropped my first vial of insulin our first canula became dislodged. What a diabetes day we were having, I wonder what could make it even odder? How about my first airport pod change at gate 4. Honestly, it didn't bother me to change the pod there and Arden didn't care... she isn't shy about diabetes in public. So I balanced everything on my lap and set what didn't fit on my leg behind Kelly on the chair next to me. I filled the pod, primed, inserted and removed the old device in a few moments. We tested, increased Arden's basal rate and then busted out a good ole' fashioned needle to combat her wildly high BG of 425. 

I'll admit that I was a bit panicky for a moment, the notion of chasing this high number in the air dind't sit well but then I remembered that we had a full complement of juice and other items. I did experience a wave of dread as I used the only spare pod that I had in my carry on bag. I began to run through scenarios in my mind, how I could talk TSA into retrieving my luggage from the plane so I could get more? But then I calmed down, we boarded the island way (see pic at top) and a number of hours later we landed at JFK airport where Arden's BG was 113. Seems Ben Franklin was correct, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Smart guy. I may not be Franklin but I know this for sure... Bring extra supplies when you travel, you never know what may happen.

Luckily, we can only afford to go on a trip like this once a decade, so I have time to rest and recover!

Finally, here are some obligatory vacation photos.


Insulin to Carb Ratio

It doesn't matter if you infuse insulin with a pump or inject, you probably know how many units of insulin covers one carb. We use multiple Insulin to Carb Ratios (IC Ratio), in the morning Arden's IC is 1 to 16. One unit of insulin, for every sixteen carbs consumed. Her lunch, dinner and evening ratios are all slightly different. 

Two weeks ago Arden began experiencing unusual BG spikes after lunch, I'm happy that this happened, not because I want to see her BG high but because the anomaly caused me to draw a mental line between these new lunch spikes and a similar spike that I see too frequently after dinner. Post dinner spikes have been an ongoing issue for us this year. I was certain that they were happening due to bad carb counting but this new situation jarred something loose in my head and allowed me to see the problem from a different perspective.

I had become lulled into a false sense of calm by consistently good BGs from other times of day. Those triumphs clouded my ability to see simple issues that caused BG spikes, spikes that shouldn't have been difficult to diagnose. I made a mistake, focusing too much on the food in the equation and ignoring the insulin.


Diabetes: "Knock, Knock..."

Me: ("I'm just going to ignore that and see if he leaves")

I wonder now if I didn't subconsciously just need a break, maybe I didn't have enough energy to tackle another diabetes riddle. Whatever the reason, I figured it all out the other day... the answer ended up being so simple that I'm now annoying myself by retelling the story. 

Arden's insulin to carb ratios needed to be changed, one quick adjustment is all it took. I'm still fine tuning the dinner number and the breakfast ratio needs a little help from a temp basal but her BGs haven't been going above about 160 (CGM) after lunch or dinner since I made the adjustments. Everything has been so quiet around here for the last few days. No crazy highs, no panic inducing lows... it's almost too quiet, but I'll happily take that calm for as long as it lasts.

I'll be writing more this week about other simple adjustments that make a huge difference. Don't be afraid to make small changes, you can always put them back if they don't do what you expected. Please remember to record the old numbers before you make any changes in your pump.


Don't forget what the bottom of the site says... Always consult your doctor before making changes to your health care. I am not a doctor.