We fly back home today after a week of wedding-related shenanigans. Traveling with an insulin pump presents a different set of challenges and opportunities compared to my times using insulin pens.
From a pure numbers perspective, there’s less stuff to pack. Rather than 8 insulin pen needles per day, plus another 25-30%, I need a full t:slim site change for every three days of travel, plus another 2-3 backup changes. Instead of going through TSA checkpoints like an ordinary traveler, I opt out of regular screenings for a pat down.
One thing I still need to wrap my head around, however, are the insulin adjustments required to stay in range during my excursions. Generally speaking, my diet is a bit more relaxed when I travel. This, of course, means more variable Dexcom graphs, and new basal rates. The big challenge with all of this, though, is that I still don’t feel comfortable with my “regular” basal rates.
Before I continue, please remember, I’m not a doctor.
Aside from the staying alive part, I knew one of the biggest challenges (?) with switching to an insulin pump would be how to negotiate my new device while traveling. Specifically, interacting with the TSA, and the horror stories I’ve heard throughout the diabetes community. Over the course of the past ten-ish days, I’m pretty sure I covered the full range of possible experiences in clearing an airport security checkpoint while wearing an insulin pump.
While the t:slim is designed to go through an x-ray or scanner type devices at an airport, I still feel uneasy about that and chose to opt out of all technology-ish screenings at an airport. This means a TSA agent gets to put on clean gloves, explain that a pat down will be conducted for my safety, and the back of their hands will be used in sensitive areas. All I have to do is show my insulin pump, say I can’t go through the scanner, and wait for my turn. Easy, right?
After all the holiday cheer we could fit into our luggage from three states, it’s time to go home.
I miss our cats.
When you’re about to embark on a 3-state tour for the holidays.
Dayle is rejoining the Verizon network on our new family plan.
And I’m going to be reading a lot more. A. Lot.
I realized last night that a number of “firsts” will be crossed off of my diabetes accomplishments during our upcoming travel adventures.
- First time dealing with TSA and an insulin pump
- First time estimating pump supplies I will need for an extended trip
- First time sharing my insulin pump, in person, with my parents
- First time not worrying (as much) about snacking
It’s curious to feel like my diabetes may be ‘new’ for a moment or two. I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, it is new. Even though I’ve been living with this disease for 12 years, I’ve only been pumping insulin for a couple of months. While I’ve made progress and improvements to my diabetes management since starting on a t:slim, my basal rates and correction factors still need tweaking.
It’s a shame I had to go through everything I did to get that ‘new’ feeling back again. It feels strange to call diabetes ‘exciting’, but that’s what this is: excitement. I’m excited to share my new gadget. I’m excited to see how different this year’s travel will be compared to previous years. I’m excited to have something positive to say about my diabetes.
You can decide which excited gif works best to end this post, but I still default to Kermit.
Image (linked) via giphy.com
After hanging out in airplanes and at airports for most of the evening, suddenly a 24-hour Subway doesn’t look so bad.
I’d share a picture of my Dexcom graph to go with the travel, but it was rather ugly and erratic for most of the day.