Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annie Goes to Washington

These last few days have been a little nerve-wracking. My daughter Annie went on her class trip to Washington, DC, over the weekend. This was her first time away from home for several days (aside from diabetes camp) since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. As her parents, we want her to experience everything the other kids her age are doing when it comes to education and activities, so we weren't about to turn this opportunity down because of her diabetes. But we also knew we had to research how to pack for a diabetic so that she would be prepared for anything. I did a lot of research online, and then I talked to my sister-in-law, whose daughter also is type 1. I'm happy to say that Annie had a super fun trip, and her diabetes didn't give her any major issues. She said she went low once in her hotel room, and once at a museum. She didn't have any sugar with her at the museum (she took with her spare meter that didn't have glucose tabs in the side pocket - must fix that!), but she was able to buy something to get her sugars back up in the normal range. Annie had only flown once before, and that was before diabetes. So she made sure to test her blood sugar on the plane to see if it dipped. It was just above normal. 

In terms of packing for a flight, here is my advice:

Pack extra of everything. Annie now wears a pump, so although she had changed her site right before she left and wouldn't have to until she returned, we still packed extra sites and reservoirs. 

Pack any medication - insulin, glucagon - in its original box with the prescription on the outside. 

Pack extra pump batteries, extra medical ID tags, extra glucose tabs or other fast acting sugar (and be sure to keep it with you at museums!).

Pack an extra way to administer insulin. We sent with Annie's insulin pen and a new cartridge and several pen needles, just in case there was a problem with her pump. 

Pack an extra meter. 

Get a letter from your child's doctor that explains that she's diabetic and will be carrying with her all of her supplies.

Put it all in a big ziploc bag and label it. Then keep it in your carry-on bag.

Annie's pump and meters were not supposed to go through the x-ray machine or body scanners (ok to go through metal detectors), so she was pulled aside for a pat-down. One of the teacher chaperones was there with her, and I can't say enough good things about this teacher for all she did to make Annie's trip so easy (I'll write her a note once I'm done with this post). 

Annie kept in touch with occasional texts, so I knew how she was doing and could send reminders to her to test her blood sugar. I think she did a great job! And I'm so happy she got to experience this trip and everything it had to offer. :)


  1. Wow Lauren, I never really thought about having to fly with diabetis, in the UK we tend to go everywhere by car anyway, not so big as the US. So glad that Annie had a great trip, you are a great parent not holding her back and letting her enjoy her life. I found out at the weekend that there is now an injection for type 2, which is what my hubby is, he has been really unwell just lately with virus' and things so I have been talking to him about considering the injection rather than the pills, but, we will still have to see, its still a trial thing so not sure if he qualifies. Well done Annie for being able to sort herself out too, not a small thing to remember when you are having so much fun!

  2. Outstanding Lauren - I'm glad she got to go. My granddaughter is there right now on her Spring trip with school. Washington is such an exciting place and she's a smart cookie to keep her head about herself and take care of her Diabetis. You are definitely doing the right the thing as a parent - my daughter's first roommate at college was diabetic but way to sheltered by her parents and when she went to college she totally went wild and ran amuk. You guys are doing this so right - And - Way to Go - Annie!