It’s day one of the eighth annual #DBlogWeek, created by Karen from Bittersweet Diabetes. This is the sixth year I’ve taken part and it’s a great opportunity to not only write about some truly interesting topics, but also a chance to read some blogs you may not otherwise.  Make sure you check out the list for today’s posts here.

Today’s prompt: Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?

There are things in this world that are predictable. The early evening darkness that descends as soon as daylight saving ends each April; the desserts of warm crumble in front of the fire as soon as the weather cools down; the taste and jolt of the first coffee of the morning; or the way the puppy runs around in circles for a good five minutes once she’s let into the house when her people arrive home after a day at work.

The predictability is comforting. I like comforting. I like predictable!

Because then…then there is diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t do predictable. In fact, my diabetes laughs in the face of predictable. It seems to take great delight in waiting until the exact moment that I start to feel comfortable and confident that something is sorted and working in a certain way, and then throws me a curve ball, messing up any notion of security.

Being prepared can help though, although if I were to truly be prepared for any and all possibilities diabetes has in store, I’d never leave the house – or only ever leave carrying a suitcase and medical team. However, there are some little things that I do routinely that do make those unexpected situations a little easier to manage.

My ‘diabetes spares bag’ is always in my handbag and is probably the thing that saves me most. I wrote about how it came to the rescue a few months ago when I got to work and realized I’d forgotten to attach my insulin pump (it turns out that sixteen years of pumping is no guarantee that I’d remember to actually connect the bloody thing in the morning). Again, this is what my spares bag looks like:

And that pretty much takes care of most contingencies for a device malfunction. Empty cartridge alarm? No problem – swearing and spare insulin vial and spare cartridge can take care of that. Pump line snagged on door handle and ripped from body? Swearing and spare infusion set can take care of that. Dead battery alarm? Swearing and spare battery has that sorted (and the five cent piece in there will open the battery cap without much effort). Insulin pump left on the bathroom vanity? So much swearing and spare insulin vial and syringe will take care of that.

This little bag has helped me out of diabetes messes more times that I care to remember.

I consider having a well-connected and easy-to-reach endo an absolute essential for the unexpected. I’d never call her out of hours for something trivial, but I have reluctantly used her mobile number in case of emergencies. For example – the time I was in hospital and the A &E staff wanted to take away my pump, blood glucose meter, insulin and dignity. Or the time I passed out from a hypo and I needed her to convince the paramedics that I didn’t need to be taken to A&E – and could manage at home myself. She’s an insurance policy like to other in those moments of desperation.

To be honest, the times that I am most surprised by diabetes isn’t when it does something unexpected. The unexpected is actually normal. The times diabetes surprises me is when it is just ticking along quietly doing its thing and letting me tick along quietly and get on with things. I become most suspicious and wary, waiting for it to get back to doing its thing: being an impulsive, random, fickle pain in the pancreas.

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