Melbourne is experiencing some very nasty weather today. I’m writing this while sitting in my office eating my lunch and wondering if the roof is about to fly off our building. I’m also expecting the trampoline and television antenna at home to have moved neighbourhoods by the time I get home at the end of the day.

It’s often said that if you don’t like the weather in Melbourne to wait ten minutes and check outside again. It’s true – four seasons in one day is not really all that unusual. The end of a heatwave can see temperatures drop by 20 degrees (Centigrade) in a matter of minutes. Pelting rain can give way to blue skies and sunshine that will result in sunburn.

As a lifelong Melbournian, I’ve learnt to be prepared for all weather contingencies and carry an umbrella, even if my weather app predicts only a 10 per cent chance of rain. Always have an umbrella in the car. Wear layers than can be easily peeled off (or added) as the temperature jumps around. And understand that just because it is sunny this minute, don’t think it will be in half an hour’s time. Because it probably won’t be.

My diabetes contingency purse is the same. It covers a lot of possibilities and emergency situations. There are batteries for my pump, the charger for my meter, a spare cannula and cartridge for my pump, insulin, syringes (in case of pump fail, or if needed to syringe insulin into a cartridge), a five cent coin (new addition!), a spare needle and plunger to refill a cartridge if necessary, a copy of my basal rates (also saved on my iPhone).

Dylan'sAnd all of this fits into a small bright purse. From Dylan’s Candy Bar New York.

It’s an insurance policy of sorts because I know that as soon as I leave that bag at home, or fail to replace something I use, I’ll need it. I’ll have ignored the low cartridge warning on my pump and be out of insulin; I’ll catch my pump line on a door handle and rip the cannula clean from my skin; my meter will need recharging.

It’s just like those days when I’ve left my brolly drying out on the porch and forget to pack in back in the car. That’s when, in the ten minute drive from home to work, I watch the skies turn from bright, sparkling blue, to light grey to dark, to gloomy black and watch as the rain starts. And there I am in my car, cursing that I forgot the contingency plan. I should know better. Sometimes, I fear I’ll never learn.

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