In fact, Diabetes Tasmania have been providing replacement blood glucose monitors, testing strips and lancets to those who have lost their own in the bush fires across Tassie. Medtronic have also pledged $25,000 (US) to the Red Cross for their work with the fires.
Consequently, the past week or so has got me thinking about what I would do in such a situation. I’d be quick to ensure my loved ones are safe, grab my dog and my budgie.
Following a consultation with Mr. Google, I decided to compare my preparedness with the 10 Diabetes Emergency Kit Essentials post by Jenna White on The Lauren’s Hope Blog
Extra bottles of insulin, medications, test strips and pump sites
I always have spare insulin in the fridge, but this supply can drop low at times. I should probably check the used by date of that Levemir.
I usually have plenty of Verio IQ strips around and the fact this meter is rechargeable is a big plus in my book. Sometimes I have Accu-Chek Mobile strips around, sometimes not. Sometimes I have some iBGstar strips around, sometimes not. I have heaps of meters around, lying idle. One of these certainly needs to go in some form of emergency kit with some strips
I usually have plenty of insulin pump supplies, but they could be either under the stairs, in the upstairs cupboard, in the downstairs cupboard or possibly still in my car.
I had a cooler once. When I was first diagnosed I used to take it with me when I was playing cricket games full of cold juice in case I had a dodgy hypo while scoring plenty of centuries, taking heaps of wickets, attempting to play cricket like Mark Waugh. Must buy new cooler.
Does my phone count? Probably not. Must add a flash light to the emergency pack.
I am probably pretty safe with pump batteries. No shortages around my house, car and bags, but again, are they in a safe, organised emergency pack? Not quite.
Medical ID bracelet
As noted in my blog post regarding my 2012 year highlights, I finally did get a Medical ID bracelet in 2012. This is following 15 years of living with diabetes, so this is one I can safely tick off the list. I think I’ve taken the bracelet off twice since I received it, so now it is just a pretty safe bet that should an emergency arise, I will have my MedicAlert bracelet where it belongs – on my wrist!
Personal diabetes medical plan.
Um… coming up empty on this one. The Lauren’s Hope blog post suggests “this plan would include your medical history, emergency procedures and contact information among other things.” I have some of this information in my wallet, some on my MedicAlert account. Not sure how much would be useable in an emergency though. Should I need medical assistance, I’d much rather someone called my Diabetes Educator who’d be much more useful than a piece of paper!
Blood sugar log
I didn’t enjoy filling in diabetes logs at the best of times, let alone considering the information in there in an emergency. Like Kerri, I must concede to doing the different pen trick a number of times. Since getting my pump, I have not used a blood sugar log to track my results. However, one of the reasons I like the Verio IQ is PatternAlert Technology which provides at least some basic information regarding my trends of highs and lows. I’d imagine this feature would be extremely useful in a stressful time like a significant emergency, when the last thing I’m thinking of is my trends.
Drinks and snacks
I have jelly babies everywhere. No real problems there, but I think my dog actually ate my last pack of glucose tablets and I have no glucose sachet type things around either. Is Glucolift available in Australia yet? I do however have some expired Glucagon and script for Glucagon that I haven’t followed up on. Not overly helpful, ey?
Cell phone, pager or other communication device.
Some people think my insulin pump is a pager – did you know there were once 64 million pager users all over the world? – but I doubt it would help me for communication purposes.
My overall preparedness rating? I reckon I’m at about a 5/10…
In short, I don’t have anything close to a diabetes emergency pack and should an emergency arise, I would be scurrying around all over the house, my car and various bags to find everything that might be needed. Not a good outcome especially when time is precious and the mood is panicky.
As a general rule, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. In the recent #OzDoc chat about Diabetes New Years resolutions, I did say that I was hoping to improve my regularity of uploading data from my pump and making decisions accordingly based on this information. As an addendum to this, I am committing to developing a diabetes emergency pack
by this time next year, ASAP.
This post was first published here.
Matt Cameron has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1996 and recently started his blog, Insulin Pumps Need Tetris. Matt is a member of the Type 1 Diabetes Network management committee and you can also follow him on Twitter @MattyCameron. The opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are Matt’s own.
DA–Vic Note: We would add only one more category of items on to this list. For those on a insulin pump: couple of syringes in case of pump failure. For those not on a pump: spare pen needles & syringes or pens.