Vacation Nightmare with the Pump!!!

Vacation Nightmare with Pump

I consider myself to be well organized in matters of my diabetes.  I have been doing basically the same routine for over 40 years, maybe only 15 years with the pump, and each time I have to readjust my routine, something goes awry.  Unfortunately this time I was on a cruise ship.

When packing, always make sure to have extra everything, which I do, and in my travel bag I have designated a baggie with extra infusion set, prep pads, and alcohol swabs, basically the things that have no expiration date.  On my most recent trip, I packed 2 extra cylinders of insulin for my pump, which must be kept refrigerated.  So once arriving at my mothers house in Fl. Lauderdale, into the fridge went my back-up insulin, as we were there several days ahead of cruising.  Morning of cruise arrived, we were packed and ready to go.  While waiting for our cabin to be ready,  we relaxed on the  back deck, already meeting some characters whom we would be sharing this adventure with.   Hours later, after enjoying our first of many great meals, it dawned on me, yeah you guessed it.  My extra insulin was still in my moms fridge.  Needless to say, panic set in, more for my poor husband than me.  I new I had enough in the pump for 3 days, surely we could buy some somewhere.

Next morning we visited the infirmary,  quickly being told that they had some, however, they did not sell whole bottles and it was costly.  The MD told us our first stop was on Cozumel, where he was sure the main pharmacy there would have some cheaper.  Apparently, money was not the object at this point, as my husband was ready to have me heliported back to Ft. Lauderdale.   After a 6 mile taxi ride into the main village, going from one so called “pharmacy” to the next, all within blocks of each other,  we soon realized they call any corner store that sells suntan lotion and toothpaste, a pharmacy.  Following another lead, we came upon a Medical Clinic, surely they would have some.  They did not.  The look on my husbands face made me so sad, that I had caused him all this grief and worry.  The clinic was kind enough to call the “Mega Pharmacy”  before we trekked over there, another 3miles away.  Success!!!

We made it there in no time as my husband’s pace seemed to have increased at this point.  We entered and spoke with the only clerk who understood us, it took them time to find, for some reason, but it was a trusted name brand of insulin.  NEXT!!!   The cost was very reasonable, as we are all aware, we in the states are getting ripped off for pharmaceuticals, this bottle cost me what my co-pay is with insurance, however, my credit card rejected payment due to “security reasons” and being used out of the usual territory.   NOTE TO SELF,  next time I travel I will call the credit card company first.  I couldn’t use my cell, too expensive, so we paid cash, a whopping $35.   Now  for the pilgrimage back to the ship,  after attaining some ice in a baggie to put insulin in for the long walk back, there was a sigh of relief.  I just didn’t inform my husband that the only canister I had was the one in the pump which are not meant to be refilled.  Once the  piston has pushed cork up to top, there is not an  empty compartment left for insulin.  (if you use a pump, you will appreciate this next move.)  In my McGyveresq thinking, I took an empty syringe, filled it with air and pushed it into canister several times, eventually the cork was pushed back to bottom and I was able to refill my canister for the end of the trip.

All  in all, I missed one day of using the pump, I simply took  many shots and lots of  finger sticks to check,  like the old days.    Blood sugars stayed 130 or lower and I was able to enjoy the rest of the trip, ready for my next vacation,  with better preparation.

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