Ack! Maybe a bit too dependant on technology

Disclaimer alert… this is a confession and I’m not proud of it. But feel like I need to get it off my chest to people who will understand so here goes. :slight_smile:

So our family went to our family cottage this weekend and my daughter who is 14 packed her own diabetes supplies. She was diagnosed when she was 5, so we aren’t newbies, and we have a kit that contains everything she needs - or should contain everything she needs.

However the next day she told me that she forgot to bring her glucometer! That’s crazy, and I was kicking myself that I hadn’t reminded her or at least double checked her kit. But she wears a Dexcom G6 and so we just don’t use the glucomater anymore, or at least very rarely. And she had brought another G6 sensor, so I wasn’t worried, I thought we’d be fine for another night without it.

But later that evening as she was taking off her sweatshirt, her Dexcom came off with it, but still, no big deal, she had brought another sensor.

So we install the new sensor and it started up fine, but then as we were all going to bed I realized that I wasn’t getting readings on my phone. I went in to ask her and she said that the sensor had failed and she had restarted it. So now I’m getting a horrible sinking feeling, because I know you can’t restart the sensors with the code like she had tried, and without a code you need to do two calibrations with a glucometer!!!

So yes, you can see where this is going. Here we are at 11:00 at night in a rural area with NO 24/7 pharmacies. It was a surreal feeling knowing that I had no way of checking her blood. And this is a girl who tends to go low at night.

Thankfully just before it died, the Dexcom showed her blood glucose levels were steady and a bit higher than she should be, and she had zero insulin on board. So in faith, I went to bed and prayed that God would take of her. I set my alarm and checked on her twice through the night, and praise God, we made it though, but I did not sleep well! She felt good in the morning and since she can feel both lows and highs and we headed home.

And as soon as she walked in the door we checked her blood and it was great… phew. So this whole little episode ended Ok, but it was a wake-up call for me that I can’t be so reliant on technology that I forget to bring the basics along. It was also a scary feeling to know that I had no way of knowing her blood sugar short of bringing her to the local ER and I don’t ever want to be in that position again.

So that’s my confession. Please tell me I’m not to the only to ever have been in this predicament!


No, you’re not the only one to mess up with diabetes travel supplies! The important thing is that you and your daughter made the best of a bad situation. Of, course, a little bit of luck always helps.

The only failure here would be if you both failed to draw some lessons from this experience. Your thoughtful post makes me think that both of you wouldn’t make that mistake.

For me, I always like to bring more supplies than I really need. Perhaps packing three sensors for one weekend is not overdoing it! Another idea might be to make a checklist that you would go over together just before departure.

Give both of yourselves credit for problem-solving and landing on your feet!


No, you’re not the only one! I had left the house for a drive to a city three hours away and realized about two hours into the trip, when we had car troubles, I had forgotten everything! That was several years ago and I’m here, telling the story … so all’s well that ends well!

I must admit, today I do double and triple check and take much more than is needed because of that memory :blush:

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I’m the diabetic one, but I did this as a kid - only a couple of times though! I was 8 when I was diagnosed, so I also learned to take care of all of this stuff myself growing up. But stuff happens. Don’t lose sleep over it - before you know it, she will be doing this stuff truly, completely by herself, and you will have to let her fly on her own :wink: Sounds like she’s off to a good start though. I know my mom worried… and still does, and I’m 33! Lol

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Just a note, some people take a picture of the last sensor code so they always have it with them for a restart. I’m not sure that would have helped you that night though as they can be irregular the first 12 hours. Mine restart high and usually need a calibration within a couple of hours and another the next day.

It is really hard to adjust to not having a tool you get so used to using especially when a child is involved. It would be so nerve wracking to not have any idea what her blood sugar levels were at at all. Give yourself major credit for having her BG controlled enough that you made it through it okay!

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I tend to forget to change out my set or think I did and leave the house.
I went to my parents place this weekend. I was going to change it out before I left but of course I forgot and I had 8 units on insulin in my cartripdge so I thought I would be fine cause I would need to bolus prob 5 units.
But I didn’t count my basal. So I had to leave early.
I really hate taht. I get a warning at 20 units, but if I put it off I’ll forget.

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It’s almost, although not quite as bad, as asking if we are too dependent on insulin, but as with any advancement people will, from time to time, make mistakes and plan poorly. Granted, most of these newer changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but still, we are better off with them than without.

On some level, the youngest T1’s might have no idea how to manage their insulin without insulin pumps and CGMs, something that I was made aware of when my then new endocrinologist mentioned that her younger patients had no idea how to handle what I was doing then, using finger sticks and an insulin pens to maintain good control. But seriously, in a catastrophe they could learn.

Although I am highly conscientious and a planner, I’ve had my goofy moments, forgetting one of my insulin pens on a long weekend away, or not declaring my insulin pens when going through customs. The US authorities had no problem with that amount of fluid, but somehow Italian customs required I declare, prompting a run back to the ticket desk through a very long airport, worried that I would miss our flight.

Nowadays, I have 2 of everything, my spouse holding my spare pens, tester, finger sticks, and pills, plus what I normally carry in my messenger, but that reminds me that I’ll have to start planning on carrying an extra pair of Dexcom sensors, but I doubt I could swing a pair transmitter.


When I was a kid went to visit my Aunt, Uncle and cousins and forgot all my insulin. Fortunately my uncle knew the Pharmacist (when there were still locally-owned pharmacy) and he opened the pharmacy and got me some insulin.

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Well, maybe not exactly the same situation, but… just the other night I was woken up in the middle of the night because my pump was screaming at me because I was completely out of insulin. I got the low reservoir alert that evening but I dismissed it and promptly forgot about it.

I have been t1d for going on 31 years, so it’s not like I’m new to this. My point is… it doesn’t matter how old or experienced you are - everyone makes silly mistakes.


I’ve never forgotten anything, even as a kid. I’m just too OCD to not verify a dozen times that I have a surplus of everything.

The worst that ever happened to me was that all my insulin froze in the crappy hotel fridge while on vacation in Florida. Thankfully, this was in the 90s when insulin was still inexpensive and mostly OTC, so we were able to restock the next day when the pharmacy opened. It was just one rough evening. I also know now the insulin would have probably been okay to use, but back then we were trained that temp extremes killed it.

Now, in the house is a whole 'nother matter… I can never find a meter when I want one. I swear those things have legs. They’re always running off on their own.


Yup, I have totally gone on a trip and forgotten something vital–my insulin injectors once, back when I was on MDI; and on another occasion, just a day trip, I forgot I needed to change my inset and reservoir until we were hours out from home and I was going to be running on fumes after we arrived. So yeah, btdt.

Glad it worked out ok in the end for you and your daughter. One thing you might have done would have been to set a temp basal to, say, 50% and let her run high for the duration until you could get to a pharmacy. That would alleviate the fear of a hypo without incurring any significant risk of DKA, and running a bit high for a limited time would not risk any long-term effects you’d need to worry about.


One other thing. The tandem reservoirs say empty when there is insulin left. You can draw out with a syringe.

Yep, I went on a multi day trip to Canada when I was 10 (this was before CGM’s) and I’m sure my mom asked me if I had all of my supplies. Come to turn out I had only the tests strips that were in the already opened vial with me, so about 10 strips. I started being more careful after that. I also left the house when I was about 14 without giving either of my morning injections of Humalog or NPH and only realized it about 6 hours later when my BG was about 400.

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Good tip on lowering the basal, I should have done that! Hopefully there isn’t a next time, but if there is, I will definitely do this!


Oh, yeah, been there done all of this. In the 50+ years, even the best planner misses sometimes. Just last week, when I pulled out of my latest clinical trial, I thought I had everything I needed. All my pump supplies, cord to get it charged and of course as I get things out I realize I forgot my insulin! My insulin, duh!!! Thankfully one of the doctors has type 1 and has a stockpile of all types of insulin due to samples being given to the clinic.
But there I was, a “pro”! The best planner, packer out there. And oops! We all do stuff like this.
How many of us have forgotten to fill their pump, than go out to eat with friends only to discover there is not enough insulin to eat and keep basal rate going. So much fun watching everyone else eating while you just drink some water. Sometimes there is just too much stuff running through our head to try and keep track of it all. But the very cool thing, we have all learned how to adapt to all these situations!

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@Leelaa Your post caused me to remember that air crews and surgeons use check lists. I am forever having to return back to the house for something that slipped my mind. Since you asked for true confessions - Please tell me I’m not to the only to ever have been in this predicament! I have a lot of stories but the one that sticks in my mind.

It was a month before I started MDI and got a Dexcom. I bicycle ride and have a kit that fits in my jersey pocket of diabetic emergency supplies including a meter. I was on the return home riding into the wind when I lost my legs - that’s means they were suddenly fatigued.

I pedaled up a slight hill to where I could stop. Took out my kit to test, “What! no strips in the vial! Are you stupid?” I always like to test before treating a low. I called my wife to let her know I was 2 miles from home and would watch John’s ducks while I ate something.

So I ate the pack of peanut butter crackers, got my legs back and made it home.

It’s a lot more critical now since I started Humalog. That was just on Lantus.

Anyway, maybe your daughter might want to put together a checklist of stuff. We all can forget stuff even pilots and surgeons. From your story it appears that she is quite on top of it.


We took a late plane to Vegas once. Arrived really late. Husband planned to stay up all night, I wanted to just stay in the room. Went to take an old fashioned MDI injection only to find my vial was empty and not going to get me very far. Had to find a late late night pharmacy in the streets of Vegas. I’m sure I did a lot of praying!

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A checklist is a great idea, thank you! I’m going to make one today!

And it’s so kind of everyone to share their stories! Even though I don’t want to end up in there again, odds are we will in one way or another. :slight_smile:


@Leelaa, We all learn from our own and others experiences. These kids with type 1 DM from such an early age are just so special, makes my troubles small.

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I have a checklist sort of.
I have a small back pack. Every pocket has its purpose.
I just look to see all the pockets have something in and I’m good to go.
I use that for business travel quite a lot.