Am I prepared? (carrying excess supplies, just in case...)

I’ve made it a habit to take a short walk around the city (New York) during my lunch break after eating. Today I trekked towards the World Trade Center site, which always triggers strong thoughts and emotions.

Today, I thought “am I prepared?” Not necessarily for massive, tragic events like the one that happened here, but any unexpected situation which could disrupt my diabetes routine. I’ve been taught that:

• I should have extra food, glucose tabs, etc. with me everywhere I go. Just in case…
• I should always carry an extra vial of insulin, syringe, infusion set, and battery everywhere I go, in case my pump fails. Just in case…
• I should have plenty of extra test strips, extra batteries, and even extra meters with me (especially on long trips). Just in case…
• I always should keep Ketostix with me, everywhere I go. If my blood sugar is high, I have to know if the pump isn’t delivering and I’m in danger of DKA. Just in case…
• I should always have an ice pack available, so my spare insulin doesn’t go bad during a mid-summer power outage. Just in case…

Quite honestly, all of this is a bit much, and my pockets aren’t big enough to carry all of this extra stuff with me. However, emergencies happen all the time and we are left stranded away from home. And I don’t just mean major catastrophes like 9/11 or Katrina. Flight delays, traffic jams, power outages, illness – these things happen all the time.

My co-worker was working in Tower 1 when it was hit. Fortunately, he evacuated safely and walked several miles to his mother’s home in Brooklyn. All of his possessions were either lost in the tower or at home in New Jersey.

If it were me and I managed to escape, I’d probably have suffered a severe hypoglycemic attack while fleeing, or would have run out of insulin or supplies in the days that followed.

So I think – how prepared am I? How prepared should I be?

What supplies do you carry with you at all times – just in case…

In my opinion, I have read many articles on what diabetics should carry with them. Either from the ADA, Red Cross or independent blogs; but the real answer is pure and simple. Only the affected individual that has diabetes can make that call. Only that diabetic knows his/hers habits and what/when the lows and highs are. I personally carry all my work and diabetic supplies in a backpack everyday and you would think I was carrying enough supplies for the Rapture. But I know I am prepared. Even when I go on outings with the family or to sporting events, I carry my fanny pack stuffed with everything I can cram in.

One can NEVER have too much, just dont get caught with not enough.

With me (diabetic wise):
2 infusion sets, 2 resevoirs,quickserter, bottle of novalog that has a least 1 fill—if not sure a new fullbottle.Novalog pen, pen needles,2 syringes, sharps transport/disposal container, Alcohol wipes,IV3000, scissors,medical tape,extra batteries, my ultra link meter and a spare meter (right now a one touch mini-becuase it was free and uses the same strips) Ice pack or gel pack (weather dependent), non-breakable thermometer (the kind you can stick to a fish tank–they take alot of abuse well and stay pretty acurate), glugcagon kit, glusoce tabs, gel frosting tube, hard candies, a bottle of water.

At work in my mini fridge -at least a three day supply (per our companies emergency preparedness guidelines) of both long and short acting insulin (pens currently-with a supply of pen needles and extra syringes)

I also keep a couple of days worth of meal replacement shakes, hard candy and peanut butter.

Yikes! Then I would die if something happened. I’m new to the pump so I’m really interested to hear what people do carry. At work I have an infusion set and glucose gel. We have regular pop and snacks out the ying-yang around here so food and drinks are not an issue. In my car I have glucose gel in case it’s needed in transit for some reason. I don’t like to drive if I’m feeling goofy but like people have mentioned, what if you’re caught in traffic. Or here in Ohio get stuck on the side of the road in snow? I work pretty close to where I live, about 10 miles exactly. If I really needed something, like insulin, I could go home and get it. I think I need to make better “preparedness” kits but would like to see what the other people here are doing! Happy Thursday!

When I travel, I carry 2-3 times as many supplies as I might need. But when I go to work or just around for the day, I carry food to treat lows, my glucagon, a syringe, and an extra infusion set (if I remember)…

I do not carry insulin, except that which is in my pump. If my pump breaks, I could draw the insulin out of it with a syringe.

When I am just going to work or around for the day, I count on the possibility that I can always go home to my supplies if needed. Perhaps this is not good… but I already feel that it’s a lot to carry around…

I have always got two NovoRapid pens on the go, and just for the full set I always have my Levemir with me just to keep everything together. I carry a bunch of spare needles (use a fresh one every time) too. Always have my meter, spare strip drums and lancets.

Then there’s my Glucagon, Glucose Tabs and some cereal bars.

Oh and I carry a travel sized sharps bin in my bag with me.

I feel that I have to draw the line somewhere, and know that if something happens, I am going to run short of something. But, I have contingency plans in many places:

  1. What I carry at all times: meter and strips, extra insulin bottle, syringe, glucose tablets, pump, one infusion set and reservoir, alcohol swabs, 3 AAA batteries (for pump and meter); IV 3000.

  2. In my office: extra meter, test strips, 2 vials of insulin, syringes, 5+ infusion sets and reservoirs, glucose tablets.

  3. In my car: glucose tablets – lots of them.

  4. When I travel: double my expected need of infusion sets, reservoirs, batteries, insulin, glucose tablets and test strips in each of my carry-on bag and my checked bag, plus a back-up pump.

  5. In my briefcase (often with me): Glucose tablets, extra meter; one infusion set and reservoir, batteries; alcohol swabs.

  6. In my daughter’s backpack (even when she is at school): glucose tablets.

Is it enough? I hope I never need to find out. Is it too much? Ditto. Am I missing something? Ditto.

Do I feel like I need a truck to carry it around? Yes.

Has anyone found a really good, compact bag or carrying case for all of this stuff?

Wow! It sounds like everyone here is really prepared! Except for Mike C, who’s a bit more like myself. Anyway, here’s my answer to my own question:

I carry a tube of glucose tablets and a meter with me all the time (and my pump, of course). An extra AAA battery (for the pump) is in the meter pouch. I also have my cell phone, for what its worth.

In my work briefcase, I carry a Ziploc bag with an extra infusion set and reservoir, extra vial of 25 test strips, insulin, a syringe, and an alcohol swab. I’ve also usually got some granola bars and raisins in my briefcase. (I have over an hour commute by train and subway, by the way). I think there’s an expired bottle of Ketostix in there too. But during my lunchtime walks, it’s my glucose tabs and (sometimes) my meter, and thats it. I carry more in colder weather when I wear a jacket with more pockets.

If I’m taking a car ride more than 10 or 15 minutes from home, I’ll take the Ziploc with me, as well as extra food. But it’s bulky, and the car can get hot if I go into a store, so that can be a problem.

On long (multiple-day) vacations, I’ll generally bring 1 1/2 to 2 times what I need. My meter once died on the first day of a 5-day cruise; fortunately I had a spare - it’s tough to get supplies in the middle of the ocean!! I don’t own a spare pump, nor do I see how I can afford to get one.

I don’t even have a (non-expired) glucagon kit at home. I should…

I carry usually 3 sources of fast acting sugar, juice boxes, glucagon kit, granola bars, at least one spare infusion set, resevoir, my quick serter as my silhouttes I insert manually, spare syringes and a bottle of insulin. I have supplies in my diabetic bag, laptop case and one backpack so no matter what I decide to carry for the day I don’t have to repack. Normally the night before I figure out what I am going to take and I make sure it has everything in it I want and at least once a week I check all bags to make sure I have enough supplies in each. As far as making sure my insulin stays cool in a power outage, I have like 4 of the ups battery backups for my computer equipment so I keep a small fridge plugged into one with my insulin with it so I have plenty of battery power if needed.

I got a modella bag at wally world for $16 that holds all of mine --when I bought they were available in balck and pink…I went back and got a secondone for a spare once I knew it’d all fit in case they discontinue them—and will buy another when they come in again…just to be sure

Hey now! I also forgot that I have insulin in my briefcase. A few leftover pens go along way until they expire. I have food in my car, also forgot about. :slight_smile: I don’t have glucagon either. I’m slowly getting there, some great ideas posted so far! I agree though if anyone knows of a decent looking bag, I was thinking a small messanger bag. Stylish, holds what I need, I think it will work!!!

Hey Mike — I’m not being critical! I’m just happy to know that I’ve got company in the “how in the world do I carry all that stuff around” camp.

No worries Scott! I was just having a little fun as well! That may be my biggest problem with diabetes is carrying around so much crap “just in case”.