Saturday, August 29, 2020

Living the high life on the water

Okay, first, I am not Bill Gates, where I never inhaled and neither does Sock Monkey (really, he doesn't).  I thought this would be a great opener for what I'm finding a VERY difficult blog to write.  I've been dwelling on how to put my experience that many of you saw and commented on my Instagram post, but I personally, do not remember too much, but my DH does.  

Since the '70s, as a Type 1 Diabetic, I took up the occasional puff puff when going out with friends.  It was mainly due to the fact that drinking alcohol was not one of my top things to relax with when out.  Being an introvert, it helped me loosen up a bit and at least remember the next day what I did.  Also, I tended to be the designated driver for my friends, since most of them couldn't afford the luxury of a car. 

Fast forward 40 years later, cannabis (weed) in Canada has been legal for both recreational and medicinal purposes since 2018.  Along with that, this year where I live, our small town that I believe still holds the record for the most Tim Horton's in Canada.  It looks like we are going the same route with shops opening up (and the one we went to called Shiny Bud... right across from, yuppers a Tim Horton ).  Think of these weed shops as being like a "candy store", which is how I felt when I stepped into one about a month ago to check out what it's all about.  Lots of goodies behind locked up display cases, etc.

My DH uses medicinal weed to help him deal with life.  Since he's started, I have seen an increase with my puff puff range during the week, unlike when he was working, it was just a weekend treat.  My main dislike is getting the munchies afterward, which we all know, will increase blood sugar control along with weight excess as a diabetic.  Of course, we all differ in how our bodies react, just like our insulin use.

Last weekend, my DH went to the shop to pick up some goodies, and the package you see above nestled in Sock Monkey's legs is a pre-rolled joint from Tweed.  It's a fat little bugger, and just a few puffs, sent me into a horrible spiral.

Here I was sitting on the side of our sailboat at our mooring ball, feet dangling over, relaxing after a day of work (I do a weekend shift) as we waited for dinner to cook on the BBQ.  I try to only smoke when I know that food will be involved since it works out better for the munchies along with insulin coverage. Basically from what I can remember over the period of an hour was my husband trying to hold onto me as I puked, sweated like I was in a sauna (I remember that bit), and slipping in/out of laa-laa-land so I wouldn't slip through the lifelines and fall into the water.  I swear I was hallucinating, and talking out loud (I thought I was shouting), but he said I wasn't quite making sense, even though it felt so real.  

What was alarming him was my Fitbit showing my heart racing away, and I think I remember telling him to check on it, along with my Dexcom to see if I was having a low blood sugar (see - we diabetics can't shut our brains down when we're in a bad place).  Blood sugars were perfect! 

What follows after that was him trying to get the attention of a few other moored boats for help, and when they did hear him, one of the members of our club who had experienced a stroke on his boat (where he voice-activated his mobile since he could not move, to get help).  I vaguely remember being rolled under the lifelines (and I'm no small person), into a dinghy. Being held, talked to keep me from passing out, it seemed like it took forever to get to shore (and the same thing with the ambulance ride).  The whole time I had my eyes closed for some reason. Weird, weird, weird.  Even composing this now, it feels like a dream.

So, this pukey coated old cat got loaded off onto the front dock of our club and whisked away by ambulance to the closest hospital about 20 minutes away.  Once I started to feel my body again, and be able to talk/think properly, it was basically determined that the higher concentration of TSH in this pre-rolled joint is probably the culprit.  The doctor pointed out as well, weed has come a long way since the early days, before it, and growers for the markets we have here in Canada are creating stronger and stronger high THC strains then what many of us smoked back in the day.  

So, all is good in my little world.  I've not smoked since then, and the smell of it makes me feel nauseated but that may soon pass, but for now, I think if I do partake in a puff puff session, using homegrown (we're allowed to grow 3 plants per household here in Canada) may be the way to go in future. My DH was so worried he was going to lose me, and in my brain during the whole time, I was trying to not freak out that I was having heart issues that are one of the many complications of diabetes.

Thank you to the members of our yacht club who did such a marvelous job of handling the situation, and because of what happened, we're planning on holding a course to teach people how to handle an offshore rescue like they did for me in the near future.  

Life is good on the water - one of my rescuers :)

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Baked Rutabaga and Hot Italian Sausage Sauce

I have been posting quite a few of the usual #dblog that I would have done here at the Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes being posted on my Instagram account.  I find a picture, with a few words (well, not always in my case <lol>), I get more satisfaction with knowing that it might touch someone’s life in a hopefully positive way, rather than going the route of a blog where many people are just so darn busy, they don’t have time to read all my words, funny links I pop in.
So, just remember, if you don’t see me posting here as often, you can always find me hanging out on Instagram while it’s still a fun place to post (sadly since Facebook bought it up, it’s changed slightly, but I still prefer to coziness, less drama of Instagram).

Now to the topic of this wonderful subject of pasta, that often makes those of us with diabetes/gluten intolerant and/or trying to lose weight, shudder and say “ No, No, No … it’s evil – it’s Creepy Pasta “.

I had ½ of medium-sized Rutabaga sitting in my crisper that I figured before it went funky, should be used.  I’m only trying to keep enough food to see me through the week, to not only to cut down on the grocery bill costs but also live the “waste not want not” way that I was raised on as a child living at home with parents that went through WWII. I’m telling you, this Pandemic is making a few of us revert back to days of the old (e.g. I no longer buy paper tissues aka snot rags). I've been making my own from thrift shop finds of cotton sheets that help to reduce landfill!
If you watched the above short video compilation above  … something new that I learned with my HuaweiP20 mobile … then you will get an idea of why I’m raving about this type of “pasta” over the usual spiraled zucchini (tends to be watery) / carrot (which is good) . Rutabaga packs in a lot of nutrition and is low in carbs depending of course on how much you eat!  I mean, it looks like pasta, is al dente, what more can you ask for?

Ugh “ you are saying to yourself (or out loud  – watch out someone might be watching you) …  Really isn’t that turnip that my Mum forced on me in some form or another as a kid? Nope don’t like it, won’t try it … “ yadda, yadda, yadda.

Come on – what is the harm in giving it a try?

Well, listen up matey … it’s NOT a turnip.  Yes, they are both root vegetables but found out when doing my in-depth research that’s done for all my scribbles you read that it’s probably a hybrid of a cabbage AND a turnip.  Sadly, the poor humble rutabaga is sadly confused and sold as yellow turnips or wax turnips.  It's part of the clan of root vegetables and a member of the Brassica family (doesn’t this sound like a story out of Outlander?) and rutabaga is probably a hybrid of a cabbage and a turnip.  The first known printed reference to the rutabaga came from the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhim in 1620, where he noted that it was growing wild in Sweden.  Of course, then speed on to WWI / WWI … many folks ate it, that's all they had at the time, so tend to not eat it because of the memories.

Turnip  /  Rutabaga - picture courtesy of Fine Cooking  
Where they both differ you may ask?  Rutabagas usually have yellow flesh and a purple-tinged yellow skin, and they’re bigger than turnips. Both vegetables have a slightly sweet but snappy flavor reminiscent of cabbage, but rutabagas are sweeter. 

So, here’s what I did. 
  • I peeled the wedge of rutabaga I had.  Stuck it on my Spiralizer and spiraled away (you won’t get dizzy trust me).  Note, you can get many different versions, go with what you can afford, have storage area for, etc.   
  • If baking in oven like I did. Set your oven at Gas Mark 4 / 350 °F / 175 °C
  • Ensure you have the right sized pot for your “pasta”, and get the water boiling (you could do this first, but after I spiraled what I thought wouldn’t amount to much, I’m glad I got the water boiling afterward, it would not have fit in the pot I'd intended to use.  During that time of waiting for water to come to a boil, just clean up the area to have less to deal with afterward, have a sip of your fav bevy, contemplate your navel, whatever.
  • Drop “pasta” into the water (it’s up to you if you want to put in a bit of salt, I didn’t), and cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain. Set Aside.
  • This next step is now up to you!  You are the creator of this wonderful dish. For myself, I had a leftover Hot Italian sausage sauce from a few days before.  I simply put a few scoops over the cooked “pasta” in a ceramic one–person dish smearing a bit of olive oil on the sides/bottom to prevent sticking. Stirred it around and topped it with some grated Parmesan.  Now, maybe that’s not your cuppa tea, go with whatever sauce you like with your regular pasta.  Maybe you like it simple, tossed in olive oil/butter with a bit of freshly grated pepper and some grated cheese.  It’s up to you!
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese melted. 

If you’re not oven baking like I did, I can’t wait to see your comments below on what version you created, be it Vegan/Vegetarian … whatever makes your tummy feel happy, and blood sugars stable.  Feel free to post the link from your social media account as well so we can all drool over it! 

Bon appetite!

NB:  Many thanks to Rutabaga Fest Blyth on Instagram for getting my mind interested in trying a vegetable that sometimes can get overlooked.  They are also on Facebook.   

Monday, May 4, 2020

Virtual Slipstream Event: Canada

I just finished up with a virtual weekend-long event by Connected in Motion (CIM) and I am very surprised to say that


The meet up on Friday ... AMAZING.  The discussions all weekend with great speakers ... AMAZING.  The new friends I've made from not just Canada, but UK / NZ / India / USA / Germany ... hoping  I didn't leave anyone else - AMAZING.  Over 300 were in virtual attendance, and you never would have known it, but we were all there.  What a wonderful way to together with other diabetics from the comfort of your home (some were in their backyards taking part in the workshops / etc. online).  Also, not all of us can drive /fly the distance to some of their events, let alone afford them if we're on a limited income (this virtual one was free, with the option to pay X amount, which is what I did to help support the wonderful group of people/volunteers who run this nonprofit organisation).

I mean, what more can you ask for with a virtual meet up like this?  Okay - maybe the smell of the wood fire, and the lap of the water on the shoreline as you sip on your morning/noon/evening cup of coffee (or what you may like to indulge in).  Hopefully, the Ontario Slipstream will be a reality on September 25-27th in Algonquin Park if lockdown and social distancing have been lifted.

This weekend's Slipstream was originally going to take place in British Columbia, but with the current pandemic with Covid-19, self-distancing, social distancing, lockdown in many parts of Canada since March, it was decided to hold it virtually through Zoom.


I'm not a big lover of crowds.  I know this may come as a surprise to a few of you who have known me since the early days of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) when I was hired by back in 2009, but yes, at meetups, I can get crazy, with my cat ears and Sock Monkey.  Most of that craziness does not come from having a low blood sugar, but more my introvert side of myself, trying to overcome my scaredy-cat (pun intended) of being with a lot of people.  I've found too that it can be very overwhelming for me, along with the clickiness of groups.  That's never been my scene, and I tend to be attracted more to others who are like myself, feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Well, in this virtual atmosphere, you could have it all, with either being a fly on the wall just listening in or being upfront and personal.  It was the best of all worlds, and hope others felt this way too.


What a blast the cafe was that some of us would go to in between sessions.  It eventually became a bar in the evening, along with a big surprise of having Crystal Bowersox come by to play some of her ever so relaxing music.  Let's hope she is good on her promise to come to Canada, not to work as a musician, but to hang out with the friendly folks from Canada.  We said we could send her back home with good ol' Canadian insulin.  

One interesting workshop I was involved in, was on 'Growing our Community'.  I won't go into all of them, but for some of us who are older T1D's, we find a bit put off in attending due to how CIM advertises pictures of youth who seem to be in tip-top fitness shape and not quite into outside activity.  Reba Redmond was the moderator, and took many notes to help make the T1D Community, especially here in Canada more open to everyone .... aka Diversity!  Also, what I found out from others this weekend, is that no matter what age (you must be over 18 to attend CIM events) you can either be super active, a lazy cat (that's me, that's me).   That has been a big put off for me in attending CIM events, besides the travel/cost to attend that is required to get to them.  The main thing is ... it's whatever YOU want to get out of it and be with others who get you! So I may be able to set aside some monies to attend the Ontario Slipstream in September hosted in partnership with Beyond Type 1  if rules for social distancing are lifted.  Hopefully, I'll have a workable CGM at the time to do the 6-hour road trip by myself with less anxiety of having a low blood sugar below 5 mmol/l / 90 mg/dl.  

If I've got you thinking that this could be something up your alley, to at least try from the safety of your home, then check out this LINK, that shows the upcoming virtual slipstreams that may interest you. There's even one for our loved ones, aka Support Crew since they need help at times with understanding us.  Remember, if you don't live in North America, you are more than welcome to join, the more the merrier I say!   Also, virtual events like this, no flapping of wings is required/driving a long distance thus polluting the lovely blue marble we call Earth (Greta Thunberg would love us for this).

I know, a lot of information above, to take in, but I hope this helps you understand how awesome this event was for me.  Even an ol' 60 year-old like myself, who still thinks she's a youngsta after 54 years as a T1D!

Thank you so much to the sponsors that helped make this all possible. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Nominate Dr. Frederick Banting for next Canadian $5 bill

“Insulin belongs to the world, not to me”

I don't normally do blog posts like this, but in light of how the cost of insulin is affecting many people around the world, I felt it important to give a little introduction to where my post will eventually go.

I'm one of those Canadians that don't have work coverage, provincial coverage, private insurance for buying my insulin and other medications I need to live life, to be able to report to work, and be part of the taxpaying Canadians.  I am lucky that I can afford to live a pretty good life as a middle-income wage earner and stay healthy as a Type 1 diabetic on the juice of life that was discovered here in Canada.  Meanwhile, in other countries, it's not that great.  We hear of rationing of insulin, deaths from this.  It's not good.  I do help some Americans with affordable insulin by shipping it to them, at least I can do this!

So, where is the post taking you to ...

Which #bankNOTEable Canadian do you want to see on our new $5 bill? Many of us who live with diabetes are thankful for the team that discovered insulin.  The most notable of course is Dr. Frederick Banting, and that is personally who I've voted but also mentioned the other team members in case they want to include all of them that you see below, at this link ).

*** The Mighty Insulin Discovery Team ***

If you decide to vote (see UPDATE below), I will leave it in your capable hands (I mean fingers on the keyboard) to decide.  The deadline is *** March 11th *** and after that, all entries will be reviewed and considered by an independent Advisory Council.  

May the best Canadian win!!! Ehhhh!!!

UPDATE:  John James Richard MacLeod as far as I can tell by research, was only in Canada for a short time (he returned back to Scotland in 1928).  Therefore, cannot be included as one of the Canadians for this campaign. Thank you to one of my readers, Simon Lee Wallace for pointing this error out - for more info you can find it at

Monday, January 13, 2020

Brain function in Type 1 Diabetics

Wow, it's hard to believe that the last time I composed a blog was in the summer.  Life has been a roller coaster ride and surprisingly, it has very little to do with diabetes hiccups, but more coping with everyday life and trying to keep plodding away at work to pay the bills.  Aren't we all in the same boat, unless you've lucked in on a win fall!
Also, I've taken a bit of a step back from social media.  Facebook to be exact.  It's too time-consuming and it's not real life.  Real-life is what we do outside of these machines that go bing.  Though I have to admit, Instagram is my fav social media hang out, as it has some great Type 1 diabetics who post not just about diabetes, but their lives outside of it.  It's a much happier place, and I guess I've always liked pictures. Of course, I time myself to how much I spend there!

One of my fav Instagram posters is Melissa Allison from Australia.  One of her children has Type 1 diabetes, and we just happened to click with our posts.  Her pictures are breathtaking showing their life in Australia as well.  You can follow her at ShinyBrightSkies .

Last week, she sent me an interesting study from Standford University that was released back in December 2019 on brain function being irregular in children with Type 1 diabetes wondering what I thought of it.

'  The study, published online Dec. 9 in PLOS Medicine, is the first to evaluate what happens in the brains of children with diabetes during a cognitive task. On functional magnetic resonance imaging scans, when their brains were at work, children with diabetes displayed a set of abnormal brain-activity patterns that have been seen in many other disorders, including a cognitive decline in aging, concussion, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and multiple sclerosis. '

It's nothing really new to myself since insulin plays a big role in brain functionality and I've always known that another outcome of long term diabetes is possibility of dementia.   It's the reason why I try to educate folks with diabetes to keep their blood sugars from going too low or too high.  In my mind, our blood sugar when out of whack is like a car battery leaking acid onto metal.  Need I say more?

This wasn't new to Melissa as well, but she felt that this article was good ammunition when dealing with schools if a child was having problems in the classroom.  Showing that blood sugars can play a role in how our brain works.  I'll be passing this article onto a few of my school teacher mates, especially those who already have diabetics in their classroom, to give them a better understanding.

Another segment of the papers had me reread it a few times, and you'll understand why when you read it below :

'   The study found that, although the children with diabetes performed the task as accurately as those in the control group, their brains were behaving differently. In children with diabetes, the default-mode network, which is the brain’s “idle” system, was not shutting off during the task. To compensate for the abnormal activation of the default-mode network, the brain’s executive control networks, responsible for aspects of self-regulation and concentration, were working harder than normal in the children with diabetes.  '

The "idle" system not shutting off during a task really resonates with me, and I wonder is it because we are always having to think about whether or not we are low or high in the blood sugar area subconsciously in the background?  Other diabetics I've spoken to, have said the same thing, that our brains don't really take a rest, we are always thinking.  About the only time we get to go idle is sleeping.  That's if we aren't dealing with low or high blood sugar, whether or not we have the use of a CGM (continuous glucose monitor).  Our brains just do NOT shut down. 

As someone who been diagnosed well over 50 years, I wonder if that one of the reasons I had problems at school, it was a bloody challenge at times.  Of course my fav subject, writing/arts were my favs, but those don't gain your foot in the door all the time for employment!  I managed to grind through, but I wonder if I'd had the devices like we have today, that keep us more in check if perhaps I'd gone further on in education.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Getting out of my comfort zone

My only meetups with other diabetics tend to be outside of Canada over the past 11 years since I started dabbling in the diabetes education/advocacy area, at conferences where you're inside and learning about new advances, meeting new friends, etc.  Most don't tend to involve much activity, so this recent long weekend trip near Sudbury, Ontario back in the beginning of July was a nice treat.

I attended an outdoor adventure with other Type 1 diabetics and their "5.5er's" (either our partner in crime or friend/parent) organised by Connected in Motion (CIM).  It's been over 40 plus years since I went "into the wilderness" as a child in the 1970's at Camp Banting near Ottawa (it was almost closed down last year by Diabetes Canada, but luckily funding from private organizations, folks like myself are keeping it running for hopefully many years as Canada's longest-running camp for Type 1 diabetics since 1953).  All I know is that the 2 weeks away back in those days (giving my parents a much-needed break) was awesome, even better was being with others like myself.   Back then, it wasn't a cheap experience for my Dad to fork out for as the only breadwinner in our house.   To me it was heaven having blisters on my hands from paddling hard in the Ottawa River,  getting dirt under my nails as a child, listening to haunted stories around the campfire, and scaring some of my bunkmates with wiggling legs of a daddy long-legged spider. 

Canoes all lined up for their next adventure

Back to the present, the French River Provincial Park was our first initial meet up for the 2019 5.5er Canoe Trip event.  Majority of people who attend these events tend to live closer to the areas that events are held, so it was a good 8 hour drive through some beautiful parts of Canada as we traversed along the Ottawa River on Hwy 17.  If you're a true Canadian, road tripping is part of what we're known for due to the large size of our country and the cost of air travel here.

Paddling along and well protected from the sun

We'd not calculated properly the time it would take to get there, so arriving in the dark was fun on the Friday night, even more fun later on, once we set up our 2-man tent that's provided (really meant for 1 - but if you don't mind sleeping opposite each other at night ** my feet don't smell **, you are comfy as a little bug in a rug).  I'd not been in a provincial campground, especially one that many Toronto folks can easily drive to, was a wee bit daunting for someone like myself that's not too big on those types of campgrounds.  The main thing, it was only one night - otherwise - Sock Monkey. Yes, he came along despite some of the other attendees thinking it a wee bit odd that an old fart T1D would have a stuffed toy ... ahhhh ... long time insulin junkie ... makes the brain refuse to grow up perhaps???  Well at least in my case it does.  If I keep on attending more CIM events, hopefully, they'll get used to him being part of the team like my American #foundmytribe have, along with my cat ears (these weren't revealed at this event).

Sock Monkey enjoying his cuppa joe in the morning !

All, I can say is, the 3 days we were all together, was absolutely awesome.  Exploring via your own canoe, and feeling like you're in a Group of Seven picture, breathtaking as you paddled along.  Helping each other out, e.g. if your insulin gets fried in your canoe in the sun/heat, everyone has extra vials of insulin to help you (they did get it all sorted out).  For those of us (mainly myself and my hubby Mike) who hadn't canoed in a while, the whole gang was very forgiving as we slowly meandered to them to give them a love tap as we figured out how to steer (as Mike said, very different from sailing LOL).  If we could have been captured flipping our canoe over close to shore, you'd be seeing it here in this blog ... in    s   l   o   w  motion, which is what someone had said it looked like when it happened. 

The fresh air, the water (no one contracted Beaver Fever), the crackling of the fire as our food was cooked over it (no fire ban that weekend - yee haa), paddle going through the water.  If you're a lover of good coffee, then you will not be disappointed with the filtered water we used to prepare our morning wake up call of the wilds bevy!   What a way to start the day off, #insulinandcoffee!  And of course, sitting on the throne (aka thunderbox) .... ahhhh ... nothing like taking a crap in the woods!

I was surprised that at my age, I  could keep up with some of the younger folks within the crowd.  I was a bit worried and having an anxiety attack as I arrived (it's weird as I'm aging, I find large groups are difficult to handle when I've been to diabetic conventions), along with not knowing anyone.  Luckily, the 14 of us all easily melded together as a team.  Even better, there wasn't much of an age difference that would make me stand out like an old fart in a canoe as well   

So, if you're ever thinking it's too late to try an adventure that may be out of your comfort zone.  I can thoroughly recommend going on this yearly weekend event that CIM holds as well as their other events in North America (not just in Canada, but also in the United States).  I know that despite this only being my second time portaging, I'm wanting to do a longer trip eventually.   

Evidence that someone had a low blood sugar - can you spot the gumdrop?

And before I go, all I want to say is " Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey, cooking over a campfire is the best way to eat ". One of the meals that we had over the weekend, was so delicious, that many of us asked for the recipe.  Thank you, Amy Burrows, for showing us you can eat well when canoe tripping and don't have refrigeration!  

Portage Heaven Buddha Bowl 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups cubed extra-firm tofu
8 cups hot cooked brown rice
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated beets
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
2 cups slivered almonds toasted

-- Glory Bowl Dressing --

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup Tamari
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Really, no directions needed.  It's that easy!!!  And we used rice that we had leftover from the previous nights' dinner.  This feeds a crowd of 15 hungry paddlers easily!  Bon appetite!

Time to head back to city life ... waaahhhhh

Psst, if you're wanting to attend one of the Connected in Motion 2019 SlipStream Events -this check out this link for more info.  Meeting up with fellow T1D's over a weekend event and chill around an open campfire.   You still have time to register and I may see you there (you could be bunk mates with me and Sock Monkey). 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Flying High While Chasing the Sun

   Earlier this month, I arrived back home to Canada after a 30 hour flight from Singapore.  I’d had a working / holiday  in Asia for the month of December that had started off in Tokyo, and couldn’t ask for a better holiday with the various countries we explored along the way while cruising  the high seas on the Diamond Princess (and discovering that some of what we take for granted as diabetics here with gadgets, etc.  is unheard of in many of the countries I visited - we are very spoiled!!).

   When I'd originally flown out earlier in December to Tokyo, I had worn my Animas Ping insulin pump after reading a comment on Facebook advising against wearing it when flying.  I've gone back to find that post since seeing it back in November before I departed , but you know Facebook, lots of action in these groups we belong to, and you need a lot of time/patience to search posts at time, and so far, I’ve had no luck.

   Fast forward to our rather turbulent flights at the end of the December to bring us back home.  Early 4 AM (ugh!) start to head to Changi Airport in Singapore (the most beautiful airport I've ever been and below is a little video at this link  I made with fishies in the Enchanted Garden). 

   The 6 hour flight to Tokyo I slept the majority of it, in-between my last bits of yummy food service on the flight.  Blood sugars were doing fine just like they had done throughout the whole month when I was on the Omnipod.  When we were approaching Narita Airport we heard the engines accelerated as the plane pulled up to a higher altitude to avoid either an ongoing plane (or a drone LOL?).  The plane landed and as usual we let all the folks in a rush get off with us being the last.  I noticed my water bottle that had been emptied earlier, sucked in pretty flat.  It’s not unusual for that to happen, but it was something that came to my mind later on when problems started to occur in the 2nd leg of our journey home. 

   Narita is a big airport, so with the 3 hour layover before our next flight, I got to use up the rest of our Yen walking around and getting some much needed leg stretching.  Of course, this kept  Sock Monkey amused as you can see below.  I’d noticed my Dexcom G4 that my trend arrow was straight but my blood sugars seemed to be rising with the alarm/vibrations going off.  No big concern to most of us, simple correction bolus, and all was good (or so I thought).  At this point in time, I still had a days’ worth of insulin left in the Pod, which I’d calculated would last out until the Pod needing changing when we got home to Canada.

   The next leg of our trip was  a 13 hour flight,  I realised something was up.  Corrections didn’t seem to be doing anything and trend line though still straight was showing blood sugars on the rise. Fiasp to the rescue though  I was worried about  the risk of stacking insulin at this point in and maybe going low fast.  The strange thing was that the Omnipod PDM at this point hadn’t alarmed of an Occlusion or possible problem with the Pod.  Confirming blood sugars with a meter to see if my CGM was off track, proved it was pretty well spot on.  I can’t say enough about how valuable a CGM is to a diabetic on insulin!!

25 mmol/l or 450 mg/dl

   We informed the Air Canada flight crew at this point in time that even with the turbulent air that we had most of the flight, that I was having some serious health issues and needed a safe space (not the cramped loo) to do some medical change outs and also to be prepared in case I crashed low .  Due to majority of folks on this long journey sleeping, with our mini flash light in our mouths, we pulled out my medical kit bag and proceeded to remove the Pod which when we looked at the site, it seemed dry as a bone.  This is unusual as usually you see either a drop of insulin and/or blood at the site where cannula is inserted and/or on the cannula.  Also, the cannula of the Pod wasn’t kinked, so obviously that wasn’t the problem.  My hubby Mike assisted me especially with the turbulent flight, and in less than 20 minutes, the Animas Ping was back up and running! Let’s just say the crew of Air Canada was very sweet in allowing me to take over a busy area and at the same time, they learned abit about insulin pumping and Type 1 diabetes.  Yuppers, that’s me, always the educator!

Back on my juice of life with the Animas Ping
   The waiting game started, and with the Fiasp in me, basal insulin working, within 3 hours, I was seeing my trend line going back to my happy zone that I like to keep myself.  I managed to nod off at that point (I was freaking out of course with what was happening earlier), but still being on high alert, it was a pretty crappy sleep even sitting in the Premium Economy that we managed to snag for a few extra bucks for this long flight home (personally, it’s not worth it, but we gave it a try, I prefer cattle class).

  Our conclusion of what we think may have happened - remember that water bottle above?  I found out from a long time Omnipod user that the reservoir that holds the insulin is a bladder, so unlike my Animas cartridge that is solid plastic, this one is flexible.  That could explain perhaps why the insulin was not being infused into the skin if the bladder had sucked itself in.  I had looked over the manual while on flight, to see if there was any mention of this, but there’s nothing stating that this could be a potential hazard.  I’ve talked to a few other Omnipod users, who do frequent long distance flying, it’s never occurred to them. So I’m a freak of nature.

   I dutifully reported what happened to Omnipod Canada (my first time calling Customer Service, and despite what Americans have said about them, which isn’t the greatest, I had absolutely no issues).  I did tell them that I was surprised that in the manual that there is no mention of this potential problem.  Having this at least mentioned as a potential problem would be a good thing to have in the manual, just in case.  The fact that not all insulin pumpers have the ability to afford a CGM that does keep you aware (if you have alarms set properly, etc. etc.) then it could be a potential problem.

   Meanwhile, to be on the safe side, I’ve reported this incidence to FDA and am still trying to figure out how to report it to Health Canada (it’s like looking for a needle in the haystack to find the area unlike the FDA that is very user friendly).  

   Yes, I’m still enjoying using the Omnipod, don’t get me wrong, but at least I’m now aware of a potential problem and will be more prepared, or wearing a tube pump,  and/or MDI to ensure I stay in my happy zone of blood sugar control when I'm flying or experiencing frequent air pressure changes!  Flying should be stress free!!!