Things I learned on holiday

By | 26 August, 2010

Lots of boats

I’m back. Sorry it’s been a while, there’s been a lot going on and I have shamefully neglected the blog. I did have a lovely holiday though, sailing on the Turkish coast. As ever, I learnt a few new (and not so new) pearls of wisdom about holidays with diabetes:

  • Diabetes junk and I will never get along. No matter how many times I travel, I still get irritated by the amount of diabetes junk I have to carry. It seems doubly irritating when I realise not only is my hand luggage weighed down by diabetes junk, but I’m also carrying round a redundant organ in the shape of a pancreas that isn’t pulling it’s weight
  • Insulin pumps survive a dunking in sea water perfectly well when you accidentally fall out of a dinghy whilst trying to get back onto your boat. A quick rinse in fresh water and it was good as new.
  • I get a bit scared when a storm blows up, we’re still an hour away from where we want to get to and the waves are crashing over the boat. At this point, as you head downstairs to pull out the life jackets and harnesses, it’s not ideal for the boat to plunge down a wave and bounce you across the boat, catching your pump tubing as you fly and ripping out your infusion set.   Once the husband was securely harnessed to the wheel I decided an hour without insulin would be preferable to trying to change an infusion set at sea in a gale. And no, the super quick infusion set removal didn’t hurt at all, but the bruise from crashing into the side of the boat was very impressive.
  • Sods law will always prevail. It’s 8am, we’re in a lovely little Turkish harbour. I’m in the cabin with my diabetes junk spread all over the place as I change my infusion set. The husband is on the loo. At that point I hear a lot of shouting as people try to tell us that some idiot has managed to pull up our anchor as they were leaving. Ten minutes later, all would have been fine. But no, all hell has to break loose when Captain Pugwash is on the loo and the crew is playing at being a pancreas.
  • Other sailors will always think your pump is some interesting boat gadget they’ve not seen before and will be hugely disappointed to learn it’s a life support system for the pancreatically challenged rather than a super dooper at sea navigation aid.
  • And finally, no matter how securely you clip the pump to your bikini bottoms, on a fortnight’s holiday on a boat you will catch the damn thing on a rope at least twice and kneecap yourself.

Other than that though, the diabetes was pretty plain sailing.

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About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

14 thoughts on “Things I learned on holiday

  1. Mike

    Brilliant Alison. Great to have you back 😉

    Sounds like you had a wonderful, challenging yet entertaining time…

  2. Rohan

    I do love all these new terms and uses for words I’m learning on here… Like ‘playing at being a pancreas’.

    Holiday sounds like fun! 🙂

  3. Sara Johnson

    Great post! I live on a boat and can relate too well. Am jealous of your cruising grounds! 🙂

  4. Alison Post author

    Rohan, I worry that we must be nearing the bottom of the barrel when it comes to pancreas related puns and phrases but hopefully we can squeeze out a couple more yet.

    Sara, you live on a boat? How fantastic, although given how many bruises I had after a fortnight I think I’d be black and blue if I stayed onboard for any longer!

  5. Cecile

    Seeing that you are so Limey-ly attracted to water, I was going to make your pump envious by suggesting a switch to the supposedly watertight Animas Ping ( it does at least sound sonarish enough to be a sooper-dooper navigation aid), but its fine print claims that it has to be uncracked to be so…and for you that would seemingly require going about with an inflated inner tube around your waist (or an Annettish hard camera case?) 😀

    Still anxiously awaiting those naughty words for “rope”…are they in the same vein as the endearing terms you used to address Captain Pugwash ?

    1. Alison Post author

      @ckoei You’re spot on that waterproof pump or not leakage would always be a possibility in water as I am far too clumsy to guarantee that the pump hasn’t taken a clonk to the head. I think mine lives with near permanent concussion anyway.

      I fear those naughty words for rope are now probably better in your imagination than they were in real life 🙂

    1. Alison Post author

      @Tim – of course the pancreas will always be at the heart of ShootUp, but I do live in fear that the pancreatic pun bucket – like our islet cells – may one day run dry.

  6. Cecile

    @annette: Now you want to punish the poor puns, while us punsters remain unpunched…maybe we should judge the pancreas by its external, exocrine appearance: according to my high school biology handbook, it resembles a bunch of grapes (same book that stated the bean to be kidney-shaped and the kidney to be bean-shaped), so it can stand a bit of maturation – though if autoimmune pancreatitis is a case of sour grapes, the resulting wines won’t be too palatable…

  7. Cecile

    @annette: So I have to put up with both shooting up and being shot at? I’d rather be stoned…like namesake Sicilian St. Pancras…with fruit pastilles…and you’re only allowed to kill 2% of me, so you’ll have to aim for my puneal gland 😀

    @alison: That’s because you’re punch-drunk…;) btw, what Turkish delights did you discover on the drinks front? And did you come across some salep dondurma?


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