Rocking Coachella With Diabetes

Screenshot 2014-04-16 19.14.18

today i am heading out to coachella. it is a music festival in indio, CA near los angeles. it is four days of dancing in the hot hot sun.

before i get to the diabetes part of this post, i must disclose that the photo above came about because our only housemate who couldn’t attend needs to be there with us. i printed out her face and will have her in our photos. you’ll see more of them post festival.

now, back to business….

i’m ready to dance dance dance until i just can’t anymore. like any person looking forward to coachella, i’m wondering what to pack, how short is too short, how big of a water bottle i ought to bring. i’m feeling like my success will depend on how well i pack and mentally preparing for the days ahead.

on top of that non-d people stuff, i also have to pack the right medical supplies. i have to tell all my friends that the change in routine is going to require more diabetes-time. i’m going to have to pause a dancing streak to check check check. at some point, maybe more than once, i am going to have to reload my pumpy-dumpy-stuck-on-me with new insulin. my blood sugar may drop more because of the increased exercise, or it may be higher because i’m so afraid of lows. it’s going to be an interesting experience.

here is how i prepared:

1. packed about 10 times more than i would ever need in this period of time. after asking the women with diabetes Facebook group, i decided not just to bring pump supplies, but also MDI materials. these are my quantities:

1 insulin pump
5 reservoirs
5 quicksets
2 vials of humolog
1 insertion device
15 alcohol wipes
2 levimir pens
2 humalog pens
4 bottles of test strips (50 ea)

2. i created an image on instagram and tagged #diabetes asking if anyone with t1 was going to be at coachella. here is the response:
the conversation continued beyond that, but you get the idea.
it worked! one person with diabetes responded that he was going to be there and an advocate from another patient group is going also.

3. as i thought about clothing and other vain things pertaining to my trip, i started considering switching to injections for the festival. this way i wouldn’t have to worry about my pump getting knocked off while i’m dancing near (maybe too near) other people. after all, who likes the feeling of a swinging insulin pump?

as people with diabetes who have pumps (PWDWHP?), we know that a swinging pump isn’t the WORST thing, especially if it doesn’t rip out. BUT every time it happens and someone sees, they react like this:

or like this:

i’m all for a good laugh, but i don’t exactly want to gross anyone out or make anyone worry about my wellbeing.

despite my feeling that it might be good to switch to injections for the festival, i am likely going to stick it out with the pump.

here are 4 reasons why:


when i see another person with diabetes (usually i notice a pump) i want to run over, give them a hug, and be best friends. this tendency is even stronger when i am in a place where PWDs are a teeny-tiny minority.

2. recovering from lows

as a lovely woman in the FB group suggested, if i go low i can just suspend my pump. there isn’t a way to do that while on injections. the last thing i want is to be faintish in the middle of a 30k crowd trying with all my might to choke down glucose tabs.

3. shots look different

i am going with my (non-d) friends who are used to me being on my pump. do i think they would react poorly to injections? certainly not, but it would change the time it takes me to be ready to go out somewhere or eat something. i’ve experienced that like with PDAs, people generally avert their eyes when i am injecting. it could be because they don’t like needles, but it could also be because they feel like it is something private. either way, in the off chance it would make someone i don’t know uncomfortable, i’ll generally avoid it.

4. i can

nuff said.


if you have ever thought about switching from your current insulin therapy to another, why did you choose the way that you did?

also, if you are going to coachella, email me so we can have a diabetes meet up!

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