Friday, May 31, 2013

Back Up!

 Today is my third installment of how to survive your diabetes in an emergency or just any sort of situation that is considered "not normal" which of course most of our freakin lives.  So lets recap, the first thing to have is a handy dandy flashlight that works, then you need to keep 72 hours of water near you and then a system to purify water for longer than that.  Now, I want you to think about not having your beautiful technology with you.  Think of a random person walked up to you with a hammer and decided to smash your diabetes purse, meter, CGM, and pump.  OK, so you might not be on one or all of these things (I hope you at least have a meter).  Can you survive without them?  The answer better be yes.  First there is basically little ways around not having a meter on us.  My "Pingy Thingy" is pictured above but you must remember there was a time when there were no meters around to automatically read your BG's.  There used to be a thing called "visual test strips" that basically told you that your BG's were either 100 or 400 depending on the light in the room.  Now I used to keep a bottle of 50 visual test strips with me but have gotten lazy and don't have them any more.  With today's "free meters" you can have a meter in your purse or man purse, briefcase, car, one in every room of your house and a couple tucked away in a sock drawer, and some in your 72 hour kit.  Just make sure again they first work, and second you have strips to go with them, and last that the batteries are in good condition.  Personally I hate meters that do not use a double or triple A battery, and I have not used any of the rechargeable ones yet but I am sure one will be on my door someday.
 A CGM is not something you are supposed to bolus off or use as an actual BG meter but you should always keep a meter on you even if you are just walking around the mall or something for an hour or so.  I am extremely guilty of this and have had a couple of times where I was away from my meter for a couple of hours, did the unspeakable of bolusing off of my CGM then I get back to my meter and find out I am 400 or 68 because the sensor was not working properly.  This is a hard habit to break so never start it in the first place.  Remember a CGM is just a system to "kind of" tell you where you are at and always bring a meter.
Last item I think is a "first world problem" is how much we depend on our insulin pumps.  If you think you will die because since day one of diabetes you have been on a pump and have never not known a day of diabetes without a pump then you are living in an egg that is going to be dropped someday.  Have a backup plan for when your meter does something wrong or breaks.  The best is to keep a bottle of long acting insulin in your diabetes purse with a needle, second is to have practiced your "oops my pump broke" emergency plan.  You need to know a ratio for a long acting insulin and stuff.  Now remember I am The Diabetic Camper and for a living I am an Accountant so none of this is medical advice and to do this test you must co-ordinate it with your medical professional.  Since I camp alot there have been several issues with pumps in the backwoods and have practiced this on a lazy Saturday and Sunday while in town and when I needed these skills I knew what to do in an actual emergency.

With these back ups and emergency plans you also need to keep infusion sets around, insulin, medications, band aids, stuff, weird things, low treats, and who knows what else but you need it so make sure you go through your diabetes purse and look at your supplies, go through your car and verify you have meters, strips, batteries, and supplies for pumps and what not in it.  If you travel I like to have an entire supply of everything in each of my bags, a copy of my prescriptions, and comfort foods with me like a granola bar and skittles or something.  I once had a doctor tell me: Dave, if you are high for a while eventually we cut a toe off, you lose your vision and all sorts of other things but it takes a while.  If you go too low once you are dead instantly.  Don't ever put yourself in a situation where you have nothing in that predicament.

I hope you did not take any of these past three days as "advice" because I do not doll out any of that stuff here.  I do hope I opened your eyes to how to think about being diabetes prepared for any situation and to know how to stay calm and come out alive in the end.

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