Routines help me function and help with smoke and mirrors appearances that make me seem an effective adult. Yesterday, my routine was accidentally thrown out the window. And then everything went to pot.
We can blame jet lag. We can blame the frantic running around after getting out of bed late. Or we can just blame me.
My every-morning routine looks something like this:
Step 1. Check my BGL, calibrate my CGM and do an adjustment bolus if necessary.
Step 2. Get out of bed.
Step 3. Rifle through my underwear draw (taking my underwear into the bathroom with me).
Step 4. Shower, dry off, slather on moisturiser, put on underwear.
Step 5. Reconnect my pump, shoving it into my bra.
Step 6. Brush my teeth and don’t return to the bathroom.
And then, for the rest of the day, I am confident in the knowledge that I have my insulin delivery device attached to my body, delivering insulin.
This routine works.
Yesterday, the routine got messed up. I forgot step 3 – I walked straight into the bathroom without my underwear, which subsequently meant that step 5 didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen later as I did the rest of the getting-ready-for-work-and-out-the-door
I drove into the city to the hotel that was hosting the meeting I’d be sitting in for the remainder of the day. First things first, I grabbed a coffee and at that point, I reached down the front of my dress. My bra was empty (well, okay, not completely empty, but there was no pump in there). Startled, I started patting down my body trying to locate my external pancreas – no idea where I thought I’d put it, especially considering I was wearing a very fitted dress.
I felt the nib of the cannula part of the infusion set on the side of my stomach. It was sharp because it didn’t have the disc from the tubing connected.
And then I cursed. A lot.
I weighed up my options.
Option 1: Retrieve my car from the valet parking and drive back through peak hour traffic to collect my pump from home and miss the important first session of the day.
Option 2: Curl up in a corner and cry.
Option 3: Work with whatever was in my diabetes spares bag.
Option 4: social media the crap out of how I am #NotGoodAtDiabetes.
While option 2 was preferred and option 4 was a given, I activated option 3 and set to work.
I’d already been disconnected for about an hour at that stage so my glucose levels were creeping up, almost, but not quite, in double figures. I did some calculations in my head and gave myself a bolus using the syringe and insulin from my spares bag.
And then, every hour or so, I checked my glucose levels and bolused manually as necessary. Obviously, eating low carb was the order of the day (I threw out my morning coffee, not really wanting to have to bolus for the milk and sugar).
By the time I eventually got home in the late afternoon, I was sitting around 11mmol/l – the highest I’d clocked all day. I reconnected my pump, so happy to be reunited.
But geez did I feel foolish.
Last week at ATTD, one of the speakers had a similar experience that he tweeted out, and I spoke with him about it later that day. ‘But the pat down! Didn’t you notice when you did the pat down?’ I said, demonstrating my usual routine (more routines!) of standing at the front door, putting my hands over my body making sure that my pump was where it was, my CGM is secure and doesn’t require more tape and the cursory glance into my handbag to locate my BG meter, phone and diabetes bag.
And then others at the table – mostly made up of people with diabetes – spoke about their version of the ‘pat down’. We all had one.
So what did I learn yesterday?
I learnt that throwing the morning routine out the window (even if not deliberate) is a very silly idea! I learnt that despite sixteen years under my belt of wearing a pump – a device from which I have NEVER taken a break – I can still leave home without it. I learnt that I really, really don’t enjoy injecting insulin throughout the day. I learnt that my diabetes spares bag is the best thing ever. I learnt that I should never take the convenience of my pump for granted.
And most importantly, I learnt that this is something that so many of us do as I was flooded with messages from friends asking if I was okay, needed help and sharing their stories of doing exactly the same thing!