Type One Diabetes Goes To Europe

posted by on 05/30/2014 | 133 comments (leave one of your own)

My 13 year old Type One Diabetic daughter left yesterday with my mother for Europe and they will be gone for 48 days, no big deal.

They are staying in Scotland, which is where my younger sister lives, and then they are going to England and France and god knows where else. I had no trouble packing her clothes and shoes, she’s 13, she wears skinny jeans and converse and ironic t-shirts. We bought a few lightweight sweaters and a windbreaker (do people still say windbreaker? GET OFF MY LAWN) because Google (and my sister) told me that it rains a lot in Scotland.

Yes, I packed her bag because she’s 13 and I don’t have time to let her practice responsibility the night before a 48 day trip across the world. She would have probably packed pajama pants, two tank tops, maybe a toothbrush and called it a day.

She had her quarterly diabetes check up a few weeks ago and I asked all the questions about all of the diabetes related things. We learned that she shouldn’t take the pump through Xray and to make them inspect it by hand and the doc wrote new scripts for glucagon, test strips, insulin vials, insulin pens, syringes, and lancets so I could fill everything before she left. He also gave us a form stating that she could travel with everything listed out above.

I spoke with Medtronic earlier this month and we restocked the three month supply of infusion sets and reservoirs for pumping. They let me know that if something happens and she needs more supplies that they would have to ship them to me and then I could forward them on to Europe.

Even though I had all of the diabetes things, I had absolutely NO idea how much of the diabetes supplies to pack for 48 days.

200 units of insulin every three days + one infusion set and one reservoir every three days + 8 to 10 test strips a day+ hopefully zero units of Glucagon+ one lancet daily + insulin pens and syringes for back up only = ALL OF THE THINGS.


Fuzzy diabetes math at 10 pm is fuzzy, so I straight up packed 45 infusion sets and reservoirs, six vials of insulin, 650 test strips, two glucagons in case of emergency only (god forbid), a pack of triple A batteries for the pump, 50 syringes, five insulin pens, 50 pen needles, one pack of Ketostix to check for ketone spillage in case of too high blood sugar/illness, a back up blood sugar meter with 50 strips, six glucose gels, one container of glucose tabs (that she hates), and a box of KIND bars. Also? I forgot to fill the lancets so she only has 30. I am mailing approximately 100 to Scotland as soon as they are ready at the pharmacy.

And because my paranoia in D major runs deep, I split the supplies three ways between her checked bag, her carry on, and her purse.

I packed the insulin in an $8 insulated bag from IKEA with those frozen gel things and wrapped in a dishtowel.


I packed and repacked her bags repeatedly until three a.m. to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

Godspeed, child, what an adventure. You have enough diabetes supplies for yourself and a few friends, but you might want to pick up some socks because when I got back from dropping you off at the airport I noticed I left them in a neatly folded pile on top of my dresser.


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