What’s it like going on holiday abroad with a child with Type 1 diabetes. We never get a holiday from diabetes it’s always going to be there niggling away in the background but with some careful preparation it doesn’t have to stop you doing anything.
However the amount of stuff you need to bring with you just to keep him safe, has its own cabin size bag! Cannulas, reservoirs, lancets, strips, sensors, charger, insulin, frio pouch for insulin, hypo treatment, extra food, batteries, adhesive stickers to keep various devices on, pens in case of pump failure, cartridges that fit in pens, spare meter, ketone meter, spare pump if you’re lucky, needles, wipes, and I’m sure there’s more……….
Getting through customs, so many different people give you so much different advice about what the pump can or can’t do through airport security, best advice is to follow the letter that your healthcare professional provides you with as it can all get a bit confusing. Don’t do what I did and drop all of the vials of insulin on the floor because you’re panicking about the cattle herding experience that is the “family friendly” (term used lightly) security through Gatwick airport. Luckily they didn’t smash or the trip would’ve ended there. With Security over, I needed a drink but as I also needed to keep my wits about me that didn’t happen. I settled for a Diet Coke and a burger.
And the carb counting estimating extravaganza begins. In the UK we are quite lucky as many restaurants have the nutritional information on their website. This one didn’t, luckily my son does tend to go for the same sort of food when we eat out so I can roughly work out the carbs for what he eats. Then there’s also the back up of the carbs and cals app or my fitness pal, which aren’t always right, but give us a basis to estimate carbs.
The changes in pressure can cause issues with insulin delivery, air bubbles etc. So the pump was disconnected for take off and landing. The sensor at this point also decided to stop working so we were left with finger prick readings for the duration of travel. This was obviously too much for the guy sitting next to us as he asked to be moved! Some people are so squeamish you think this is bad you should see a cannula or sensor insertion! At one point his blood glucose went down to 1.9! Not entirely sure why, luckily it came up quite quickly thankfully otherwise I’m sure the squeamish guy would’ve fainted with a shot of glucagon show.
Through to baggage claim, I wasn’t letting that lifesaving carry on bag of diabetes paraphernalia out of my clutches. I couldn’t care less if my clothes didn’t arrive I had the most important thing, we can replace everything else.
Onto the coach, I wouldn’t let the bag out of my sight. On a crowded bus it had it’s own seat, no way was I letting this go into the storage, what if someone took it into another hotel, it doesn’t bare thinking about! Even with the separate supplies my husband was carrying we wouldn’t have enough to last us all week if we lost this, made me think we probably should have had 2 carry on bags and split it equally between us, but then we would have needed 2 spare meters 2 spare ketone meters etc etc I think maybe I’m just being a neurotic mother?
At the hotel, just in time for dinner, all inclusive buffet……the carb counting extravaganza continues. How do you carb count 1 prawn cracker, some crisps, a handful of chips, various cream filled cakes some peaches and a slush puppy……..well apps and calculators and a bit of T1 mummy experience (aka educated guessing). We did alright not too bad blood glucose only went up to 11.
Well these are all out due to all the timings of everything we do being up the creek. The growth hormone surge that usually effects us at around midnight is now delayed to 3am as bedtime is later, the breakfast spike is delayed, dinner is delayed leading to potential afternoon hypos, the list goes on basically the week consisted of temp basal rates galore.
How do you keep 2 adhesive devices attached in the water? not very well in our case. I know there are various things like vet tape etc etc however with the already giant bag of stuff we had to take with us this was the last thing on my mind. So the transmitter came off and stayed off. The cannula came off and due to the amount of swimming, stayed off and was replaced by injections for the first day. Day 2 and it was taped down with so much adhesive that we needed industrial strength adhesive remover to get it off ( only joking don’t use this on skin) we have stoma adhesive remover which works really well, another thing that was in my carry on bag of tricks 😃
Buffet style all inclusive = multiple trips with multiple plates to calculate, some of which did not get eaten. We find it easier to bolus a little bit then top up boluses as the food gets eaten, or do a dual wave that way you can stop the bolus if he decides the 3 croissants are surprisingly more than he can handle 😂
Excursions all come with added preparation and planning, luckily mum had it under control so he can just get on with the most important bit, having fun!
Evening drinks, is it Diet is it full of sugar? Ive heard people use their spare meters or urine dip sticks and put a little of the questionable drink on it, if it comes up high it’s likely full of sugar. Luckily he only really drinks water and apple juice so quite easy to work out for us.
Night checks, with no sensor on we went back to phone alarms midnight 3am and 6am, not great when you’ve been to the all inclusive bar the night before 😉🍹🍷🍹
Diving trials, this threw up all sorts of questions. Can a person with type 1 go diving? What happens with hypos, how deep under water can you go? With the help of twitter I found the answers, turns out yes people with type 1 can go diving…..looks like our new hobby has begun.
The flight home was very uneventful thankfully, it would seem Spanish security are a lot more pump friendly than London.
Back to normality, well until our next holiday that is 😉