Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sailing NCL with T1D...

The cruise ship we traveled on is the Norwegian Jewel and the Norwegian cruise line offers Freestyle Cruising. Which made traveling with T1D all the easier. Their tag line is 'Do what you want - when ever...'. And unlike tradittional cruises that tell you where and when to eat NCL lets you do it pretty much how you want. The signature resturants have cover charges but they have 4 free ones - one of which is a buffet and the other is a 24 hour restaurant with a limited menu. From the 24 hour restaurant we would order a chicken sandwhich with nothing but the grilled chicken breast as she hates buns and a side of ranch for Jilly when she needed an evening snack.

We ate most of our meals at the buffet and often times took the food up to our room. We could have ordered food service but it was much easier to allow Jilly to pick out what she wanted to eat. And much more romantic to eat it on our balcony. The food offered in the buffet wasn't outstanding but it was good with lots of selection. Jilly usually eats the same things so we used the Calorie King to figure out carb counts.

The islands were a bit more difficult. We didn't find out until after the trip and going through the paperwork that local laws fobid bringing food from the ship to islands. No one ever checked our bags though. We would go to the buffet for breakfast and take some fruit and a couple of hard boiled eggs for later in the day. Jillly is a picky eater and the islands were all developing. It was very different from what we were used to. I felt I couldn't trust we'd be able to find the food we needed when we needed it. So along with the eggs and fruit we also brought some of the food we traveled with. I'm glad we did. Even though everyone assured me that we'd have plenty of food we ended up using the snacks and food we brought frequently when off the ship. Sometimes to round out her meals.

We booked all our tours through the ship. It's more expensive this way but we felt it was easiest to make sure we got back in time. And on the dune buggy beach tour the tour guides told us they had first aid training. I'm not sure all the tours had this but it made me feel safer.

The crew members in the kids club also had first aid training. And in the kids area Jilly met another little boy with T1D. They offer phones for parents dropping babies off and we requested one of these in case she needed us. We never had to use it - they are really good at putting on the schedual when the kids are eating so you can plan around that.

Overall the trip was fantastic. We even survived the chocolate buffet. We allowed Jilly to fill up her plate with what ever she wanted. Fed her a chicken breast first (it helped fill up her tummy and she had missed dinner) then figured out the carb count for a single bite of everything. Our coverage of that was perfect. No high or low.
We had so much fun on this trip and totally want to do it again.

Costa Maya - our ship

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crusing with T1D part 1...

Flying Delta with T1D...

We recently cruised the Caribbean on Norwegian Cruise lines. We had booked this vacation before diagnose and I almost canceled after finding out Jilly had T1D due to a fear of traveling overseas. Her doctor assured me it would be ok and that the only way to be truly safe would be to take him along with us. I love her D team.

This cruise was the second trip we've taken since diagnose. On our first T1D trip in which we went to San Francisco we flew Alaska Airlines. I love Alaska. They serve Diet Cream Soda, you can rent a digiplayer on long trips for $10, and overall the planes are nice and clean. Alaska Airlines gets an A from me. I also just got an email from them of a charity program where you can donate your air miles to go towards Haiti relief efforts and they will match what's donated. Being an Alaskan customer gives me warm fuzzies.

For this trip we flew Delta to Miami - and honestly Delta is a huge steamy pile of poo. I remember flying it in the 80's and then the airline seemed so elegant and sophisticated. Forward ahead 20 years and you can see why they are in trouble. The counters were clearly understaffed. They required you to enter a long line to print your boarding pass, and then another long line to check baggage. Even the skycap was understaffed with it's own huge line. Our check in took an hour longer than Alaska, despite being understaffed they were very peculiar about every checked bag insisting on weighing and measuring each one to see if they could charge you even more for your luggage. Alaska Airline's process is so streamlined, plenty of boarding pass kiosks in SeaTac and fast at taking luggage.

So even though we gave ourselves 3 hours at the airport - anticipating that we may have slowness between security and our extra medical bag and wanting time to feed Jilly breakfast as we were there at 4am - we spent an hour just trying to check in our luggage.

Next was scanning everything through security. On our previous trip I've had Jilly's insulin hand checked both at the Seatac airport and the one in San Fran with no problems. This time I had the worst luck of getting a super cranky guard. Super cranky people who hate their jobs appeared to be the theme of the day. When I handed guard the Humalog and Levimir pens asking for them to be hand checked. I was met with rudeness and resistance. I had to keep explaining what the insulin was for, why I didn't want it run through the scanner - I've read on the CWB that some people noticed a difference with the insulin after going through the XRay. And as I was going overseas I didn't want to take any chances and wanted some of the insulin hand checked. They happily did for me two months earlier when we flew to San Fran. I showed her the travel letter from our endo which states that Jilly has T1D and everything she needs for it. And then the woman had the nerve to slowly scrutinize the travel letter word by word then tell me that no where in it does it state that the insulin requires to be hand checked - I insisted. Because seriously they'll hand check CAMERAS with out batting an eye and they won't do her life required medicine. Funny enough Jilly was still wearing the Omnipod demo pod which they didn't even notice. So the guard finally told me she'd do it for me this one time (mainly because I wasn't going to budge on what I wanted) but in the future it needed to state that in the letter the medicine required hand checking. The whole thing felt more like she didn't want to put in the extra work to hand check it (because it is a little extra work wiping and scanning it all down) than that she was worried about security.

Flying Delta.
In total we flew 4 Delta plans for this trip counting both directions and the flights were long. Flying to Miami we had 3 personal items and 4 carry on's - one of which was a bag strictly containing Jilly's medicine. The carry on's we use are mostly pilot cases, one of which is quite small being little more than a box on wheels as it's a kiddie pilot. Another is a laptop back pack. On Alaska all of these carry on's will fit under the seats. One of the bags can be a slight tight fit to slide it under at first as the space between the seats isn't that wide but once down it'll fit under easily. All of our carry on bags fit Delta's requirements but none of them would fit under the seats. Not even the laptop bag. The Delta planes that have the small TV's on the back of the seats have the seats considerably closer to the ground. So that only personal items will fit under them - I packed the bags assuming they'd go under the seat and I would have easy access to her supplies. Once we realized they wouldn't fit we had to quickly get some food and her kit out before stowing them in the overhead bin which made the airline stewards cranky about blocking the isle. And because no one's carry on's fit under the seat that made the overhead bins overfull with more bags than space. And that includes in the first class area. For the flight home we packed one of the carry on's inside our luggage to minimize the space and ensure our luggage stayed together. When the airline stewards attempted to move our bags from our area above our seats where they all fit in order to make room for someone else's bag my husband insisted that it stay in our area and asked them to be careful as the bag contained his lap top. The airline stewardess (yeah Janice I'm talking about you) roughly shoved the bag into a different bin and said 'That's not my problem'. I can't help but wonder if we asked her to be careful with Jilly's medical bag her response would have been the same. Doesn't give me much faith in them if there was an emergency.

All four planes were exceptionally filthy. Trash in the seat pockets, ripped seats and the real kicker was the dried booger on the seat in front of me. Thank god for hand wipes. Delta serves pretzels, peanuts and these yummy delta cookies that have no nutritional information on the wrappers - only a phone number you can call. Who's going to call that in the air? They were very generous with snacks though. On our first plane we asked what diet sodas they had and were told only Diet Coke. We found out later they also carried Coke Zero. They also gave me extra cookies when I started to feel motion sick due to a neighbors overwhelming perfume.

We packed our own food because we didn't' want to deal with buying airline food. We also didn't know what to expect for food on the ship and port so I wanted extras. All the food was in our medical carry on.

For the trip we carried: Mini hillshire farms hot dogs with cheese, cheese sticks, jerky, Halloween granola bars in awesome portion sizes, Halloween grips also in awesome portion sizes (and here my husband made fun of me for buying so much during Halloween). Horizon milk that doesn't require refrigeration, 2 bananas, peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, a couple of sandwiches, sugar free water flavoring, an empty water bottle, 2 juice boxes, a few pieces of candy.

At Miami our luggage took over an hour to show up on the carousel and it didn't help that Jilly was tired and wanted a real dinner. Everyone from the plane was mad and cranky - and staring at an empty carousel didn't help anyone. At Seatec our luggage came promptly so maybe it's just the Miami port.

More comming in part 2...

Costa Maya

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tired and jet lagged...

We just got back from a cruise and I'm planning on making a post on everything I learned when cruising with a T1D child. But I'm so jet lagged and tired that it will have to wait for later. But I have lots to share including some pretty pictures.
I have noticed that I've reached a point with T1D where it's normal and routine. Even though I hate it on those days I want to be lazy - I attempt to remain positive and see it as simply a part of who my child is. Which brings me to my pet peeve. I have to confese I'm getting a bit tired of hearing people respond with comments like 'Oh that's a shame.' When finding out she is a diabetic. It's so negative - like there's something wrong with her. And yes, T1D isn't how it's suppose to be - but I don't want my child hearing how sad or bad it is that she has it. I want her to accept it, live with it and have a good life with out trite pity. Jilly is proud to be who she is - broken pancreas and all and there's nothing to be ashamed of for it.
My other pet peeve (and I know it's shared by others) is when people realize what she has and respond with that they or someone they know is a Type 2 diabetic. I want to start responding to the next 'Oh my Aunt has type 2 diabetes' with a blood curdling scream. It's not the same thing!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Time flies with the holidays...

Ni Hao!
It has been awhile since from my last post. I always get so busy and overwhelmed with the holidays. Presents, decorating, mailing, cards, activities - add in T1D and something had to give and that was blogging (or my sanity). Not enough time to do it all.
So December brought new challenges. We learned that Wii Sports was a great way to control her blood sugars over winter break. Playing even a small bit a day made an impact on her. We made our own advent calendar - decorated plain white envelopes that I stuffed with coupons that allowed her various activities, games and treats. I learned to be creative with stuffing stockers. A little candy, some sugar free gum, and small trickets made her just as happy as a stocking stuffed with sugary crap. She displayed amazing control at school when they made gingerbread houses. I asked her to wait off on trying to eat it - and passively aggressive left it out as a decoration letting it get stale.
We made some mistakes though - the biggest one was last night on her birthday. We had so much fun. Went to the reptile zoo, had a play date. Covered her ice-cream cake perfectly with an extra injection. Her night time check was in range (after ice cream cake I had to check at 3am just to be sure). Then this morning when she woke up her blood sugar was 445! She had moderate to high ketones, the color was so dark on that pee stick! And she started displaying the symptoms from the ketones. Upset stomach, not feeling well and headache. I put together what went wrong fast - we forgot her long acting insulin the night before. We've been so good at it, feeling so confident that it became routine and we were doing it with out thinking. The extra shot for the cake messed up our pattern. I got ahold of her nurse Kim who helped walk me through what I needed to do. 5 glasses of water and an hour later her ketones were back in the negative. The doctor also called and walked me through the insulin adjustments. And she was back in range in time to have a half day at school. It still gave me a huge scare. I don't know what I would do with out Jilly's medical team. They are amazing.

So a new rule:
Don't forget the night time shot!

Bean's new room