Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Dude, Where's My Meter Case?
So we went to the Dominican Republic recently.
This was a work-related trip for Suzi, and it was pretty much an all-expense and inclusive trip for roughly 4 days to the resort community of Punta Cana. I'm so very lucky because I was able to just go along for the ride. I've never had a passport, and so this was my chance to snag one and use it (grew up in Detroit, and have visited Canada and Mexico in the pre-9/11 days, but never needed a passport since I'd never entered international waters like this).
I did all the diabetes-related packing of supplies and prep, and after weighing all the tropical temp issues that could arise, decided to only take one opened bottle of insulin. I kept the insulin in the mini-fridge, rather than inside my meter case pouch at room temp where it typically lives. All was good for the trip, and my insulin pump worked well along with a few scattered MDI instances when I didn't want to be connected by the pool or ocean.
I didn't need to do many finger-pokes, since I was wearing my Dexcom and that was working well
enough for me.
Our final full day before leaving, I ended up with a Dominican-style stomach bug that knocked me on my behind. So, I spent a good amount of time in the room and then, the day of our departure, was about ready to head back to the winter weather of Indiana.
I pulled my insulin out of the fridge, put it back into my meter case, and put the black meter case into my front zipper pouch of my backpack. And we headed out.
Hours later, sitting in the airport waiting for our 2-hour delayed flight and still not feeling well at all, I decided to just do a blood test, since we only had about 30 minutes before the flight at that point. And digging through my backpack, I could not find my meter case. It was missing.
And that's when I realized not only did I lose my meter, doctor's note and backup insulin Rx, but the bottle of insulin... and I wasn't wearing my pump, since it was an MDI day. And my last injection: 4 hours ago, with my BGs hovering in the low 200s.
At home, I have more than enough meters as back-ups, including another Bayer USB meter and the same little lancing device I used. Not worried about the strips or anything else in there... except, my only bottle of insulin I'd brought for this trip. And the written Rx for backup insulin.
A brief airport tiff about my losing or leaving behind the meter case ensued, and it didn't really matter where or what happened because it was just gone. And we didn't have much time before the flight left.
I paid the extraordinarily high phone cost of calling my doctor's office back in Indiana to get an emergency Rx called in. Didn't know a specific pharmacy, but since we didn't have Internet access in the Punta Cana airport, the doc's office searched and found a Walgreens up near Chicago where we planned to stay the night.
All seemed OK.
Six hours later, I decided to phone the pharmacy once we landed in Chicago and were awaiting the bus to drive us back to NW Indiana. It was just before 9p, and that's when I discovered that apparently, the Walgreens pharmacy wasn't 24 hours as thought. And no, they weren't able or willing to transfer the Rx to the 24-hour Walgreens right down the fucking road, instead telling me I would have to have it called in the next morning.
Dexcom told me I was up around 400, and my last insulin injection was 8+ hours ago.
There was no one I could get through the night without insulin, and it was pretty much DKA if another option didn't present itself.
I contemplated an emergency call for help from the DOC on Facebook or Twitter, but realized that would probably spark more fear and panic than it was worth. I even thought about the Help Around app, but wasn't confident anything would come from it.
At this point, I was so very tired and just totally down on myself. I felt like shit, and blamed myself for it, and was scared out of my mind that getting insulin wasn't going to happen short of going to wherever the nearest ER was.
And yes, I took my frustration out on the second Walgreens pharmacist Pete who didn't appear to be able to help me, and insisted he give me his name so I could tell that to the ER doctors when I likely ended up there, on the brink of death. A little unfair, but that's where my mind was at.
We decided to not stay the night, but instead drive the three hours home to Indy. Despite the now-falling snowstorm and crappy slush-covered roads, most of which would be dark since we have to drive through the nothingness of Central Indiana where they don't believe in highway lights.
After the hour drive back to the hotel where our car had been sitting for four days, we got back on the road and headed home. It was approaching midnight.
That's when my wife mentioned something I hadn't contemplated earlier, in my insulin-starved and still-sick mind: Phone the on-call doc at my endo's office.
That worked, and we had her fill one at a confirmed 24-hour Walgreens in the next-nearest location on the path we were on heading toward Indy. We stopped halfway between Chicago and Indy, and after two attempts, found a hotel that wasn't booked. And we picked up the insulin, paying $150+ for the single vial while also politely listening to the nighttime pharmacist pitch one insulin brand over another that might be "cheaper."
Since I had packed my backup syringes in my luggage, we had all that we needed now.
About 2am, I finally had insulin in my system and we were ready to crash for the night. The stress, frustration, tiredness, high blood sugar and general stomach bug sickness were all at high levels -- not to mention that I hadn't eaten or drank anything at all in 24 hours.
The next morning, my blood sugars were fine. The sickness was passing, and I got some gradual food in my system by the time we got home to Indy about noon.
We tried to just laugh off the adventures, forget the stress and relax now that we were home on comfortable territory.
And that's when I dumped out the cotents of my backpack, and saw a black zip-up case fall from the covered up bottom beneath my Neal Patrick Harris autobiography and other stuff.
Yep, the meter case had been in my bag the whole damn time.
The whole fucking time.
Apparently, I really did plan accordingly... I just didn't realize it at the time. I feel like an idiot, needless to say. And can't apologize to my wife for all the unnecessary stress and headache I tacked onto the return-home part of our trip.
But hey, at least I got an adventure and story out of it, right?