Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?
You’ll never be 100% prepared for what the diabetic life will throw at you, but you can definitely try. Here are 3 tips that have served me well thus far.
Fill every pocket.
Maybe not literally, but no matter where I go, I always have the essentials with me. And depending on how far I’m going, and how long I’ll be gone, I fall into different categories of what I take with me. Let’s use a visual:
That’s me in the middle there and everything in that purple circle are things that I always have on me, no matter if I am just stepping outside to throw away the trash. Since my pump is literally connected to me and my CGM is built into the pump, they’re always with me. I have a medical alert tag attached to my watch that I never take off, and I always make sure I have at least one pack of fruit snacks with me at all times in case I have to treat a low.
The second blue circle are things that are with me about 90% of the time in my purse or some other kind of small bag. Even though I might have my purse in another room for example, these items are always close by.
The third circle are items that I’d have with me either in a bigger bag like a backpack, or overnight bag, or stored in my car. They’re items that I probably won’t need on a daily basis, but I want to have with me as emergency back-up, especially if I’m going to be gone for awhile. I wouldn’t take them with me to run errands, but I would have them in a bag if I’m going on a half day kayaking trip for example.
When you’re prepared with the essentials, you’ll be more likely to handle the unexpected.
Use your support system.
Hopefully you have people in your life who love and care about you and are there to help you out in a pinch. I don’t like to rely on other people too much, but it’s good to know I can count on them if I need to. Just the other day, my blood sugar was running extra high and not coming down and I had to excuse myself from a social gathering. My friends immediately asked if I needed a ride home and if there was anything they could do or that I needed. And sometimes I end up taking them up on it. I was once driving a car full of friends to an event when my pump gave me an alert that the battery was going to die in 30 minutes and the pump would shut off. I was 30 minutes from home and 30 minutes to my destination. Luckily a friend who was meeting us offered to bring a few batteries. While I know I could have stopped at a gas station, her generosity saved us time and hassle. When you aren’t prepared for the unexpected, don’t be afraid to let others help you overcome the challenge.
With every pocket filled, you still might not have what you need in a specific situation. That’s when you start problem solving and get creative. I once realized I forgot to pack both my pump clip and leg strap pump holder while wearing a summer dress. Using a rubber band and hair tie, I somehow managed to secure my pump under my dress. Or while on vacation, I realized I didn’t bring extra tape for the sensor that was about to peel off. I found a first aid kit and used the band aids to hold it in place. Sometimes, you just need to think out of the box when the unexpected strikes.