You can buy almost everything you need at the happiest place on earth. But, you can’t walk up to the Disneyland® Town Hall and simply buy an infusion site for your insulin pump. Or test strips. Or a glucometer. This shouldn’t be terribly surprising, yet it is just one more thing that we parents of a child with type 1 diabetes need to consider!
We made the mistake once of coming to Disneyland without a blood glucose meter. It was obviously a big oversight, but we found ourselves in a pickle. We couldn’t stay at Disneyland all day without a meter! Our workaround that day was to drive to the nearest pharmacy and buy a new meter and strips to the tune of $100 out of pocket. Ouch. Our strips and meters are covered by our insurance normally, so this was a pricey mistake. And one we haven’t made since!
Recently we somehow found ourselves at the park without a huge number of units of insulin left in James’ pump. It was a pretty horrible moment when we discovered that. And it sounds really bad when I write it out. Let me justify this a bit by explaining that James has recently grown A LOT, and his insulin needs have increased dramatically. We’re simply unaccustomed to filling his reservoirs as full as they (clearly) need to be filled, now that he uses so much more insulin! Also, in our defense, we had every other diabetes supply known to man at our disposal. We had test strips galore (didn’t make that mistake again!), meters, infusion sets, tape, bandages, juice boxes, batteries, alcohol prep pads, extra sensors, backup meters, ketone meters, and strips. You name it. I mean, I really thought I was prepared and then some!
Imagine my surprise in the middle of riding Star Tours® when I found out that James had enough units of insulin to last the day but not really many extra. It was kind of scary. I actually considered going home and decided that if the insulin approached the single digits that we would simply leave. It would be disappointing to the kids but the responsible thing to do.
Before we got to that point, I decided we needed to be a little strategic about our “treat” strategy. Normally James can (and does) eat a lot of carbs at Disneyland. He likes frozen lemonades and chili in a bread bowl from the Golden Horseshoe. I let him have the chili but told him to watch the bread. Also, I was gratified to discover that there are many varieties of diet soda to be found at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. We indulged in them quite a few times on that particular day. I’m normally not a fan of soda, diet or otherwise, but on that trip, it was a godsend. It was great that James could feel like he was indulging.
At the end of the day, we ended up having plenty of insulin. James was safe the whole day, and I hope he was only a little conscious of how stressed out it made me. To make sure that particular problem never happens again, I’m adding a new line to my old-school planning spreadsheet. I use this customizable list to get my numerous family members ready for any kind of long outing. There is a LOT of stuff to remember, so I try to keep it organized. I have a tab called “absolutely cannot forget.” It has been cobbled together throughout the years, mainly from experiences where I HAVE forgotten an item and it was a bad thing. From our prior Disneyland experience, “glucose meter” is on that list. As is credit card, driver’s license, and cell phone charging cord. Now I’ve added “insulin” to the list.
It seems like something that shouldn’t need to be specially noted—something that we’d never forget. And yet…it happened. We were lucky that we had enough of a buffer to be able to stay at the park, and that our home (with our extra supplies) was only a few hours away by car and not by plane!
So what’s on your list? What have you forgotten recently—that you’ll never forget again?
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
Disneyland is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company. Star Tours is a registered trademark of Disney/Lucasfilm, Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.