The first time we went to Hawaii (and surfed with a tiger shark), Luke was using the Animus. Despite qualms about taking a $5k piece of medical equipment through sand and salt water, we decided to go for it. Animus has a great loaner program, so we got a backup pump before we left, along with a protective film for the display. Still a little hesitant, we tried disconnecting at the beach, so Luke wasn’t the only kid wearing a jet pack on his back. But even with reconnecting to give a basal + correction bolus every hour, blood sugar went high. Pulling him aside to reconnect so frequently was annoying as well, so we swallowed hard, tucked the pump into a pocket on his rash guard, and turned him loose. And you know – it was fine. We did extra checks for sand around the cartridge cap and sets, but we checked the tubing for bubbles every night anyhow.
Ah, the tubing. We were happy to be rid of it when we went to Kauai this year with Luke on the Omnipod. This would be much easier, we assumed. No tubing hanging out the back of Luke’s swimsuit, no bubbles, no sandy sets. We had form factor on our side.
But the pods’ adhesive seemed to dissolve on contact with salt water. Pods barely last half a day, and we were rapidly running through the extras. We tried a tip from other parents: put down a layer of waterproof Tagaderm, put the pod on top, and tape over with extra Tagaderm. No luck – pods still fell off. Under all the Tagaderm, we could see the pod detached and sliding around. I turned to the Facebook hive mind and got more suggestions: vet wrap or Bands for Life, Matisol, Mefix, Opsite, Nexcare waterproof or 3M micropore tape, and Extra Large Waterproof Band Aids.
With just a few days left, we decided to do our usual drill (SkinTac, pod, Tagaderm over the top), with one addition: we wiped SkinTac on top of the pod’s adhesive pad so it was thoroughly soaked and couldn’t take on water. We let it dry (one parent suggested letting each layer dry thoroughly), covered with Tagaderm, and that did the trick! We got a couple days out of each pod (just enough to get us home).
The darling Dex did much better. Its adhesive stayed put the entire week with a little extra Tagaderm, and the G4’s longer range let us leave it in the backpack (we used to carry the 7+ with us in a waterproof bag). We swagged insulin and treats between regular tests, and did ok except for the occasional shave ice or pineapple juice. (A friend coined the term “carbument” after seeing our intense discussion about how many carbs were in a massive puka dog bun. Vacation, people!)
Watch out for military interference, though. We took a catamaran tour along the jaw-dropping Na Pali coast, where we passed a military base that does next-gen Star Wars missile testing and apparently jams equipment that comes into range. Although the Dex was a few inches away from Luke, it lost contact as we passed by the base. A truck with flashing lights drove parallel to our boat – “If you’re taking pictures of them, they’re taking pictures of you!” the captain cheerily announced.
If you go to Kauai, wild chickens will be shadowing your every step as well. The 1992 Hurricane Iniki let lose chickens and fighting cocks, and now they are the local answer to city pigeons. As we sat in a drive-through to order chicken McNuggets, we saw a mother hen bedded down with her chicks by the loudspeaker.
“See any irony in this?” Erik asked.
“Don’t let Luke in on the joke,” I said. “Chicken nuggets are way too easy on blood sugar.”