Posts Tagged ‘insulin pump’

by John Ngijseh
Just because you have diabetes does not mean you cannot go on holiday. All you have to do is to make sure you prepare well.

Key tips:

1) Always have some type of diabetes ID on you so that people know that you are diabetic. An identification bracelet or an ID card would be ideal.

2) Take a blood glucose meter with you. You may be ill on holiday, dehydrated due to the heat or may eat food that you would not usually eat. For all these reasons it is important to be aware of your blood glucose levels and make sure they are controlled. If you don’t have a blood glucose meter and would like to know more visit our guide to glucose meters

3) Make sure you have a written certificate from your doctor in the language (if possible) of the country you are visiting stating that your medication or insulin is for the treatment of your diabetes. The last thing you want in a foreign country is any misunderstanding regarding medication and needles.

4) Make sure you know where you can go for medical help in the place you are visiting preferably beforehand but if not on your arrival.

5) Take a recent copy of your prescription with you. No one wants to lose their medication but these things can happen. Having the name of your medicines and proof of a prescription can help you find replacements.

6) Take more medication and test strips than you would normally use. Just in case some are damaged or lost. Take as much as twice the insulin you actually need for your trip. To purchase more test strips for your meter visit  test strips .

7) If you use an insulin pen, take a U100 insulin injection with you for emergencies and remember to dispose of your needles with great care. Ideally use a BD Safe Clip Needle Cutter to cut the needle off your syringe, this is also handy as it is small and portable.

8) Check with your insurance company that your diabetes is covered.

9) Make sure that your medication or insulin does not become too hot or cold. There are special cool bags that can keep insulin cold during travel. Also, it is best to keep insulin in your hand luggage, as it is likely to freeze in the hold of the plane. Frio Bags are available here at Pump Wear  Frio Products

10) Always carry a snack or hypo treatments in case of hypoglycaemia or if a meal is delayed or contains to little carbohydrates.

By taking the above simple steps you can have a great holiday.

Have a good time.

John Ngijseh

These teen and adult tips were offered by a variety of experience pumpers:
  • Want to add extra protection to your pump case? An easy inexpensive way is to take an expired charge card or other plastic card that has expired and insert it into the inside flap on a Velcro pump pak.  The card fits perfectly and adds a little more protection for your pump.  You may want to use an old library card that’s made of plastic if you don’t have an expired card.
  • With summer months and swimming keeping a site on for 3 days can be tricky. One tip that came in suggest to use Skin Bond made by Smith+Nephew which is like rubber cement for skin. It does make taking old sites off harder, but it does the trick for being able to swim, shower, etc. without them falling out for at least 2 days!
  • We have also found that Mastisol a liquid adhesive also works great.  You do need to use a detachol to remove the site.  We got this right from our pump rep.
  • The most important tip is to have a sense of humor, you never know when the pump will alarm in the middle of class or an interview and if you wear it in your bra like many girls it sounds like your chest is alarming!!!!!!!!!
  • If you often rush to go to the bathroom (mostly girls because they need to take down their pants) be careful about putting your site in your hip because it will come out if you pull your pants down in a hurry and forget its there.
  • Always have extra supplies with you (and reaction treatment) because it’s the time when you don’t that you wish you did!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Don’t use an audio bolus in a loud room- you can easily mess up the amount you are giving yourself or suspend the pump by accident and not realize it!!!
  • Make sure you tuck in your pump tubing- little children and kitchen cabinet handles like to pull on it.
  • Wear a watch with an alarm if you tend to forget to bolus after meals-many adolescents and children get busy and forget, this helps to remind them, especially in school.
  • When you take the pump off to exercise or bathe, put it on suspend so it will periodically remind you that it’s off (because you can get busy and forget). And, when you take it off (important for kids who are becoming independent from parents) put it in the same spot, a place you will need to pass frequently (near your glasses, on your dresser) so you will remember to put it back on as you are getting dressed.
  • Before going to the bathroom, clip the pump onto your pants) don’t try to hold it in your mouth) many pumps are not water proof, but you’d be surprised how many pumps go swimming in the toilet.
  • Don’t insert a pump site around where the waist band of your pants are (this is more difficult with girls with the newer low rise pants,) because when you sit down, the waistband will push against the site and cause an occlusion alarm
  • When choosing a case for your pump keep in mind the noise, for example a Velcro pump case will make noise when opening and closing so if you are concerned about people hearing you take your pump out choose a zipper case.
  • For teen boys who wear lots of loose fitting t-shirts wearing the pump in a belted case under the shirt works great.
  • For boys who wear lots of basketball shorts that have no pockets during the summer and have no where to carry their test kits sliding the larger d-tron pump pak on to the belt with the actual pump pak works great. The d-tron pump pak is big enough to hold a monitor, test strips and finger poker.

Information provided by Pump Wear

Based on some of my earlier posts or tweets on Twitter, you may have surmised I have some personal connection to diabetes.  I revealed some information in an earlier post, Looking forward to the artificial pancreas .  So I thought I would take a moment to share some more information with you.

My grandfather, who is deceased now, had diabetes.  His perspective of diabetes was very different from how it is today.  In the 60’s insulin was the main treatment for diabetes and urine test strips had just been invented.  The single use syringe was introduced in 1961.  Prior to that diabetics had to use glass syringes, which had large needles and had to go through a  sterilization process each time it was used.  The first portable glucose meter was created in 1969.  The way my grandfather had to manage his diabetes is entirely different that how it is done today.

As a child I knew my grandfather had diabetes.  I also knew that he restricted his diet from sugar products or that is how it was perceived by me.  I don’t recall other dietary restrictions.  I know he was insulin dependant.  I don’t know how old he was when he was diagnosed, and I never saw any evidence of his diabetes.  No testing.  No shots.  They may have been happening; I just didn’t know anything about them.  I did know that at Thanksgiving my grandmother made him a sugar-free pumpkin pie.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes in her late 30’s. She has type 2 diabetes.  She started her treatment with medication and dietary adjustments.  Later she was put on insulin.  She has always struggled with her diabetes.  Testing and taking insulin shots has been a normal part of her life. 

My father has type 1 diabetes.  He was diagnosed in his 60’s.  Initially they treated him as if he had type 2 diabetes.  At that time, type 1 diabetes was considered a disorder only for children.  After battling to control his blood sugar levels for a while, his doctor finally did a test and it was determined he had type 1 diabetes.  He was immediately put on insulin. 

As a side note, my parents had a dog who became diabetic, which was late in his life, and he was insulin dependant.  At one point my mother, my father and the dog all took injections of insulin.

So, with this type of family history I was waiting for the day when I would be diagnosed with diabetes.  Two years ago my doctor said I had pre-diabetes.  I was introduced to testing my blood and adjusting my diet.  Then in July of this year, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Obviously, I am monitoring my blood, adjusting my diet, and taking metformin. 

Even though I knew it was coming, this diagnosis caused a big revelation for me.  I realized I needed to make some major changes in my life. Memories of my parents dealing with the disease flashed before me.  I also recollected the situation of one of my uncles with his diabetes.  Eventually, he had become partially blind and ended up on dialysis because his kidneys failed. 

More importantly, I thought about my son.  What if something happened to me and I was not able to help him?  He has numerous health issues including:  epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, an anxiety disorder, sensory integration syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and non-epileptic seizures.  In addition to all of this he has learning disabilities.  His life is not easy, and I wanted to make sure I would be here to support him into his adulthood, if need be.

So I took my diagnosis very seriously.  I test my glucose levels religiously.  I also drastically changed my diet.  I started an exercise routine. As of now I have lost 35 pounds.  Hopefully I can keep this momentum up.

To be continued . . .