An Extra Pocket – By Helen May


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I have written about the unusual activities I have participated in over the last ten years since my diagnosis. Activities such as climbing and canoeing and camping (apologies for the alliteration). Most of these need their own equipment. So, as well as my diabetes kit, I need to remember my activity kit.

I have not come across anything that is prohibitive because of my diabetes. Some thing I need a bit more planning like finding out the affect on my blood sugars before I walking 26 miles throughout the night for the Moon Walk. Or remembering to pack extra dextrose on a Via Feratta holiday. Or checking the affect of high altitude on my meter when trekking in the Himalayas.

Sometimes, the challenge is a little harder and I feel it shouldn’t be. To put it simply, there is not always somewhere to put my diabetes equipment. For example, when watching gorillas in the wild, you cannot take anything close to them in case they get interested. Or when I went sky-diving, I wore a special suit. Nothing was allowed in the suit that I might fall on. So not even dextrose was allowed in the plane.

Recently, I climbed over the O2 building in London. They were very well organised with onesies and harnesses for everyone to wear. The slope of the walk is very steep in places and you have to be clipped on to the wire that runs alongside the walkway. You could not have any loose end that could be caught in the clips. And you were not allowed to carry anything (including a bag) for fear that if you dropped it, you could fall chasing after it. The onesie had a pocket the side of a compact camera. The camera had to stay in the pocket until you reached the platform at the top so no photos going up and no photos going down.

In all of these activities, I have found a way to manage. When watching gorillas, someone was looking after my bag with my diabetes kit 10 – 20 metres away from the gorillas: close enough for me to get to if I needed. When I went sky diving, I took a reading before I went in the plane to give me the confidence that my blood sugar levels were stable. When I walked over the O2, the leader had a pack of first aid equipment and I was able to add my diabetes kit.

Since I have had diabetes, I have been continuously coming up with ways to continue my normal life and not let diabetes get in my way. But keeping the kit with me at all times seems to be one of the biggest challenges. In some cases, an insulin pump and a continuous glucose meter would help as they are always attached. But short of having a intravenous drip for sugar solution to call upon when I need it. I still need to carry something with me. BD, I could go out without a bag but the days are over. Unless…

Unless, I had a pocket created. A bit like a kangaroo’s pouch. Now that would be very handy for more than just diabetes, Gone would be the days of back packs and shopping bags and …

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