A Purse Full of Diabetes Supplies

I don’t like to carry much. I used to avoid carrying a purse or bag. But I also like to be prepared. And with diabetes in tow, it’s hard to do both.

Like today, my blood sugar started dropping once I left the office even though I had corrected the last low two hours ago. I couldn’t for the life of me find my glucose tablets, but I did have Gatorade on hand, so for now, my blood sugar stabilizes.

Here’s what I always carry with me:

  • Glucometer (for some reason I never named this medical wonder – open to suggestions)
  • Cosmo, my CGM
  • Medical tape to keep the wireless transmitter that talks to Cosmo attached to my body (I’ve found the tape Dexcom supplies only lasts a few days, if even that)
  • Glucose tablets (whereabouts currently unknown)
  • Chapstick (I prefer Vaseline lip therapy or Burt’s Bees)
  • Deodorant, well, because you never know
  • Water (my body craves water more than food and for a diabetic, water always helps)
  • A list of medications and a diabetes card that says I’m not intoxicated – my blood sugar may just be low
  • Sugar-free gum (I tried to give this up for the environment before but alas, I’m addicted to the feel of a fresh, minty mouth)
  • Sunglasses (with these pupils, I squint even on cloudy days)


Five years ago on this day at 7pm, I was sitting alone in a hospital bed, cold with a thin gown and thin sheet. I had my own room, but my cell phone had died, and the only person I could talk to was the occasional nurse that came in to check on my IV.

I couldn’t look at the diabetes pamphlets on the bedside table next to me. Instead, I focused on the college homework I couldn’t work on because I mistakenly let the nurse put the IV into my right hand, my writing hand.

Then the room phone rang. I didn’t even notice it was there. Even though I hadn’t told her my room number, my mom had found me. She talked to me until I fell asleep, promising that she would make the two-hour trip north to see me when I woke.

She did, in addition to my dad, and on April 25, 2009, two weeks before my college graduation, we learned about what it was my pancreas had done to me.


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