2013 has already been a packed year for me – we’ve had more life events in the past 12 months than people should generally have in a decade. And although I’m all married up and moved to my new city, the final 2013 life event for me is on October 19th when my best friend in the world is getting married. How we managed to plan weddings within a month of each other I’ll never understand, and I’m assuming there was some insane cosmic line-up and our desire to always to things “together” that made it happen. I’m delighted to be serving as her maid of honor and as such, I was in charge of her bachelorette this party this past weekend. And just like the good San Diego gal she is, she chose a destination south of the border for her party: Cabo San Lucas. On Thursday night, nine women descended upon that town and wrecked a bit of good-natured havoc on that little city. Between the fact that my feet ache from dancing so much and the fact that I don’t think there’s any tequila left in that whole country, suffice it to say we and the bachelorette had an amazing time.
When I packed up for the trip last week, my check list was highly focused on the lady of the hour. I made sure I packed all the little gifts we had for her, as well as the usual bachelorette party types of decorations (I don’t think I need to explain those here on this blog…that’s for a different kind of website). I went through my usual list too, checking off all of my diabetes supplies, back-ups, and copies of my prescriptions. But my mind was still more focused on my friend instead of me, and as I left on Thursday I was sure I had forgotten something.
I didn’t realize what it was until Saturday afternoon. We were on a gorgeous chartered catamaran for an afternoon of snorkeling and relaxing. Picture crystal clear water, sunshine for miles, and me standing in the back of the boat, eyes fixed firmly on the horizon, giving myself a pep talk in the back of mind to force a glass of mango juice down my gullet. Between my propensity for sea-sickness and the fact that we were…um…. overserved at the bar the night before I was just about ready to have my breakfast come back up. I knew once we anchored and I could get in the water I’d feel fine, but of course, that was the exact moment my BG started to take a dip and I had to get some sugar in. We had lunch and drinks for the day included with the boat, so there I was with my mango juice and my internal motivational speaker taking over.
It was in that moment that I realized I had not packed a glucagon injection. We keep our emergency glucagon pens downstairs near our bedroom at our house, and all my other supplies are upstairs. In my lack of focus while packing, I hadn’t retrieved the pen from its spot and brought it with me. Now I found myself in a foreign country, barely able to get a glass of juice past my lips let alone all the way down with no emergency form of sugar with me. I kicked myself for forgetting such an important tool. I looked across the boat though and saw my best friend and calmed myself down by reminding myself that she knew what to do and say in an emergency, and she’d do whatever it takes to make sure I’m ok. I gritted my teeth, focused ahead, and was eventually able to get the juice down, but it was a struggle. By the time we dropped anchor, I was feeling great again and snorkeled and swam, laughing right along with the gang.
Everything worked out fine, but it was a scary moment realizing I hadn’t packed one of the most important things. My short list for an international trip should actually be: insulin, glucose meter, glucagon pen, and then passport. Those are the four things that I MUST have packed anytime I’m leaving for a trip, especially outside the US. It can be so hard to remember everything we need with diabetes, even if you’ve had this disease for as long as I have and traveled the world. It’s no excuse though, and I’m lucky everything worked out ok. Next time, the checklist needs to be written out in advance!