Being careful with your kit? Think Again – Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5


So I’m a little late with Day 5’s blog due to spending yesterday travelling to and talking at a conference for paediatric diabetes health care professionals, giving them a parent and child’s (along with Amy of course) perspective of the care we receive.
For Day 5 of DBlogWeek the main topic is about the food you’ve eaten or your normal/ideal food day. Since I’ve missed this and given the travel and weird food options at points yesterday I thought I’d pick the ‘Crazy Stories’ wildcard.

Not so crazy

So this isn’t a crazy story as much but it is one a little that was crazy at the time. I’ve told it before so apologies if you know it already.

The blurb

In 2011 we backpacked around India for four weeks, using trains for our 2700 miles of travel.
Our first overnight train was a big deal for us as it left Jhansi heading for Aurangabad, a near 600 mile, 18 hour overnight ride. What made this bigger was that this was a popular train and all spaces are booked way in advance, like they are for most of India’s trains – you can’t just normally turn up for these long distance trips. If we missed this train there was no easy option left to us.

Follow the first rule of kit packing

On a trip where you won’t be able to easily get supplies the first rule is obviously take way more than you need, think of the worst case scenario of how many test strips, needles etc you may need and add a bit more ‘just in case’.
I would rather carry triple the kit Amy’s diabetes needs and forego some things I’d normally take as I can always buy more clothes/medical kit anywhere but specific D kit isn’t so easy, well not when you’re going to be staying for 5 days in places like Hampi, miles from anywhere by road, only one train a day in/out and no big pharmacy anywhere close.
We probably took enough kit for a small town.

The second rule of kit packing

The next rule is to split your kit between bags so that if one got lost or stolen then you’d still be okay for a good few days.
As this was our first trip dealing with Diabetes – it was only 7/8 months after diagnosis – we split our kit between Jane’s daysack and my daysack and didn’t put much in our main rucksacks, just a spare meter if I remember correctly.

Raining, rushing, ruing

Waiting for our Tuk-tuk – see the yellow/green vehicles in this video if you don’t know what they are – the monsoon rains opened so when he arrived the bags were packed really quickly; there wasn’t much room.
The rucksacks were loaded and unusually we put our daysacks in the back too as tuk tuks are pretty small inside for two adults and two kids, Amy always had to sit on my lap. The driver closed the rear rain cover, tied it down using straps and everything was secure and we were ready to go.
We headed off for the train and after a few hundred yards the driver gets a phone call. Very unusually he didn’t continue driving but stopped to answer it.
Two men came to the tuk-tuk and I thought at first they were hassling us for something, hawking their wares or just asking for money, a sight we’d got used to in India although unlike elsewhere in the world it is rarely aggressive over there.
But hold on, they’ve got our daysacks, both of them.
What’s going on? Have they stolen them out of the back?
Both daysacks are soaked, they’ve clearly been in the rain, they look a bit muddy too.
Then it dawns on us: both daysacks – so that’s ALL of Amy’s diabetes kit – had fallen out of the back of the Tuk-Tuk and the men had chased us down the street trying to return them.

Feeling quite sick

In an instant I realised what this could have meant to us if we hadn’t had discovered the problem until at the station. No kit for 18 hours and then a real struggle to get stuff during the couple of days scheduled in Aurangabad.
I felt sick to the stomach.

Faith in humanity restored

Seconds later I realised what a difference these two guys had made to us so in a flurry of gratitude I whipped out my wallet to give them a little something for their trouble, except it wasn’t a little something it was a lot of money. But it didn’t matter to me and I was happy to give it – it was potentially the equivalent of one month’s wages to them depending on what they did.
They refused. I insisted, they refused again. They were just happy to reunite us with the bags.
Faith in humanity restored.

We never travelled with our daysacks in the back of a tuk-tuk again.

If you’re interested in reading more about our travels in India checking out our blogs:
On general travel in India with Diabetes see the look at the India section within this blog.
Monsoon Meandering, a four week backpacking trip over 2700 miles, a few months after Amy’s diagnosis.
Big Cats & Holy Ghats, a three week trip mainly around Rajasthan and focusing on wildlife safaris.

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2 Responses to Being careful with your kit? Think Again – Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5

  1. Fabulous story! A friend’s daughter went backpacking at 17 a year after diagnosis. She said the worst thing that happened was having her bag stolen in Venezuela – with all her kit inside. She went to a hospital, secured some emergency supplies, and waited 2 days for her mother to fly out with replacement kit for the rest of her trip. Her mother stayed 2 weeks – apparently that was the worst bit 🙂
    Our lovely T1 babysitter is off to Camp America soon, and says she’s taking very little other than 4 month’s supply of diabetes supplies. She’s panicking about the generators and the fridges at camp. But she’s still going. Life with diabetes is stressful, but I’m guessing that 95% of the time it works out and you come home from trips with almost as much kit as you took away 🙂

    • Kev says:

      I like the idea of having to fly out somewhere exotic to meet Amy; should probably wouldn’t though. And wow, what an expensive thing to have to do.
      Tell you T1 babysitter to just use Frio wallets if the generators are potentially a problem. Frio’s work great.

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