d-blooper in the sky

May 11, 2011

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6am flights suck, diabetes or no. They suck for a variety of reasons including:

1. In order to get out the door, take a shuttle to the airport, get through security (including any TSA d-hassles), and the rest of the non-d-stress that comes with traveling on an airplane, I have to get up at about 4am.

2. My brain (and body) don’t want me up at 4am. They don’t cooperate. They don’t do normal things that they can do at, say, 7 or 8am very well, if at all, at 4am.

3. It’s just too damn early. No one should be awake at 4am.

But in order to get to my two-day federal grant preparation conference for work a few years ago, I had to take a 6am flight from upstate New York to Nashville. Not a bad flight, not too long. Only one connection, which I appreciate. So I just hoped and requested that brain and bod could pull it together at 4am and get me on the flight.

I had my list of items to make sure that I took from house to shuttle, from shuttle to airport. It didn’t occur to me that I needed to put “insulin pump” on my list. It also didn’t occur to me that I might not remember to reconnect said pump after my 4am shower.

I left the pump balanced on top of the towel bar in the bathroom, something I never do and had never done before that crazy morning. I realized that my body was missing the vital piece of equipment as I was going through security. No going back now, and the airport was a half-hour away from home. Even if my partner could race to the airport at this ungodly hour with pump in hand, I wouldn’t be able to get it, go back through security, and make my plane to the conference that started in a few hours. Plus, did  I mention it was 5am at this time? Lovely partner was not going to be happy if she did wake up for my phone call, which was unlikely.

I also realized that I had extra tubing, humalog, and other supplies in my carry-on bag, but no lantus or syringes.

In full-on emergency-response-crisis mode I get on the plane to Nashville, knowing that the BG is rising, it’s going to be a few hours before I get to my final destination, I”m starving, and I can’t have anything to eat. I get a giant diet coke from somewhere in the airport, thankful that at least I can have my morning beverage, and suck that down during the first flight. I call my partner before the flight takes off, ask her to call my endo and have a new Rx for humalog, lantus and syringes called into the closest Walgreens to the conference hotel, which I’ve never been to and have no idea where it is. (Can I just say how amazing my partner is and how much I love her always but even more so when she does stuff like this? She’s beyond wonderful.)

The shuttle driver from the Nashville airport to the hotel was so very sweet, in a way that might have been just pure Southern hospitality, but I sure appreciated it regardless. When crazy girl (me) boarded the shuttle and asked, “Is there any way we could stop at the Walgreens on XXX Avenue, close to this hotel, because I forgot some very important prescription medication at home in New York and need to pick it up at the pharmacy?” He said he could use a cold beverage and would be happy to stop for me.

So he did, and my lantus Rx and syringes were there, and it all turned out okay. Except I had to remember to give myself shots for the next 2 days, which is hard to do when an insulin pump has been hanging off one’s bod for the previous 13 years. But I made it okay.

Recently I’ve become much better at carrying all kinds of possible d-supply needs with me almost all the time: novolog pen, pump supply kit w/ tubing, reservoirs, bottles of novolog AND lantus, syringes, alcohol swabs, skintac, lancets, etc. (in a cute little Clinique gift-with-purchase bag), extra test strips, glucose tabs even though they taste so bad, apple juicy juice boxes…etc. Lesson learned after not only this but many other d-blooper experiences.

And, I don’t take the 6am flights anymore. Not ever.

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