Jet lag

A common topic of discussion among the jet set crowd as we fling ourselves around the world is what you do and what you take to find 6 hours of consecutive sleep. And if you’re not sleeping, what are you doing? (Me? I’m writing this blog post at 4 a.m. in Toronto. It’s 4 p.m. back in Guangzhou!) Here are the strategies I’ve heard over time: Ambien (and all its trademark variations – and then immediately followed by the question”where do you get it?”), melatonin, Zopicloone (nasty metalic mouth side effect) NyQuil, stay awake on the plane, stay asleep on the plane, gin, scotch or your drink of choice, stay hydrated, don’t eat on the plane and my all-time favorite, get a 2 hour massage when you land. The only thing I can confidently advise is don’t try all of these strategies at once. Personally, I just plan to be really productive from 4 a.m. to about lunch and then catch my second wind in the evening. Socialize in the afternoon on my first days back? I don’t think so. Deep sleep and drool on the couch? For sure.


But when the 1 a.m. wide awake, “let’s get the day going” experience happens, it’s gross and I reach for the sleeping pills. But as an insulin pumping person, I’ve started to wonder if this is such a great idea. My brain is a mess when I wake up in the middle of the night with a low blood sugar on a normal night sleep … I’d be a disaster trying to treat a low blood sugar with a deep sleep stupor interfering with my decision making skills. And what if I don’t wake up, no matter how many alarms are set on my CGM because the sleeping pill of choice is so darn effective? Eeek. That would be bad news.

So, to you jet setting Type 1 diabetics out there … what do you do?


Tuna belly

Melt in your mouth tuna belly aka otoro

Melt in your mouth tuna belly aka otoro

Fatty belly tuna …. o-toro …. melt in your mouth. It’s the first thing I order when I have a layover at Narita. And if you go just for the sashimi, no carbs to count. (OK, the Ashahi that must accompany said o-toro has a few carbs in each glass.)

I’ve been thinking about belly fat in the last couple of days, as I retethered to my new Medtronic Paradigm Veo. Christmas in June with all of the boxes and packaging that was waiting for me after arriving home from the airport. Jet lag makes for a very productive middle-of-the-night hook up process. And here is what I’m supposed to look like when it’s all done …

No o-toro belly here!

No o-toro belly here! The Medtronic model

Gosh, if going on an insulin pump would make me look like this I’d be rolling up my shirt like all the men in China to show it off. Now, I understand that Medtronic needs to

Otoro belly, Chinese man style

Otoro belly, Chinese man style

market its product and my muffin-top middle is not going to draw in customers, but hopefully those of us will

ing to shell out the big investment on this cool gadget are doing it for more than the looks. Thankfully, producers of diabetes gadgets are now representing more than the perfect blood sugars on their pictures of monitors and CGMs.

Meanwhile, back on the pump and pilates for me!

Untethered in Hong Kong

Hong Kong touts itself as Asia’s World City … it really is … And here I am at HK Airport, the true crossroads of millions on the move, surrounded by more languages than I can count. Headed back to Canada from Guangzhou for a bit of family and friend bonding time, to bond with my medical team and to get my new Paradigm Veo insulin pump. My last pump lived a good long life, and like a cat had a couple of lives, each time resurrected by the humidity sucking power of a bag of rice.

It has been a wet spring in Southern China. And more than a few drops in a recent downpour found their way into my pump to cause it to kick the bucket for good. (Oh to moonlight as a biomedical engineer!)

Going "old school" and untethered

Going “old school” and untethered

Untethering has been a good learning experience. What have I learned?

  • Expired Lantus is better than no Lantus
  • When you are guessing how much Lantus and Humalog to take, be prepared to do lots of testing and adjusting (including throughout the night)  ’til you figure it out …. it’s been a while since I’ve been a human pin cushion!
  • Bolus, bolus, bolus …. I forgot how much a basal rate dripping into me let me nibble without crazy effects … not so when back on the shots!
  • Lantus (once you get it right) is kind of nice … steady Eddie … as long as you bolus, bolus, bolus
  • Stealth injections with needles and vials in public places are possible  … without pens on hand and being too lazy to find a public bathroom, I got good at drawing up insulin below the table in a restaurant or behind my purse in a taxi. (Haven’t been arrested yet!)
  • Not to panic when I wake up and don’t find my pump attached when I roll out of bed. Over 20 years on a pump is a lot of behavior conditioning.
  • Not knowing what happened overnight drives me crazy …. no pump meant no CGM data as well. (I’m one of those all in one girls, which is why I went Medtronic Paradigm).
  • Going back to basics is a good thing every once in a while. I probably should go untethered more frequently than every 20 years!

It has been a good three week experience, being untethered from my purple pump. But it has made me appreciate it all the more. The next work horse I will hook up to is also purple, but the Paradigm Veo has two new things I’m looking forward to … the low suspend feature and the Enlite sensors, hyped by the blogging data geeks as much more accurate than the last Medtronic generation of sensors.

It really is true, that you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. Looking forward to “reconnecting” tomorrow when I arrive home.