I do attend a lot of conferences and do a lot of traveling so I was thinking about the checklist that I go through and how it has helped me with all of my traveling that I do. Here is my top 5 things to do to prepare for a conference, Diabetes style.
1. Make a List
The first thing is to just grab a pen and paper and just start writing down every single thing that comes to your mind that you may need in the next few days or weeks. Just look around the room and write it down. Picture Steve Carrell’s character in “Anchorman” when he starts naming everything in the room that he loves. “I love lamp”. Everything that you see, write it down. It’s a brainstorming session. You can then go back later and make a decision on what things you actually need and which you won’t need at all. Don’t organize, don’t worry about duplicates. Obviously, you need your socks and undies, but I always start my list by sitting in front of my “diabetes cabinet” and just tart writing everything down.
2. Scrub the List
The next step is to scrub the list and go through the things that you actually need and get rid of the things that you don’t need. Once again, I start with the diabetes stuff, “all I need is my pump and my wallet”. That is my motto when I travel. If you are only traveling for one day, you probably don’t 5 pairs of pants and shorts. But you will require 4-5 infusion sets, reservoirs and about 2 vials of insulin. Pack wisely because of the high costs of traveling with luggage now, so don’t put too much stuff in the suitcase.
3. Carry On Your Supplies
I take my laptop bag with me along with a second drawstring bag. It makes it easier when Amanda is with me because, she can carry the second bag in her big ole’ carry-on bag. However, most of the time I fly alone. I make sure that I have enough supplies to last me double the time of the trip, so the quantity of supplies will vary. So the bag consists of infusion sets, reservoirs, inserters, IV prep, insulin, 2 meters, strips, lancets, IV dressings and any other little things I may use to manage my diabetes. I usually get my bag pulled off to the side for a quick search about 75% of the time, I am used to it by now. It is well worth the additional 5 minutes instead of it being in my checked luggage and having it lost in transit and being without supplies for a week.
4. Prepare for Emergencies Before You Get There
Contact the hotel, conference center and company putting on the conference before hand to find out information on what kind of food or juices that they may be having. I always contact the hotel before hand and let them know that I need a fridge in my room so I can put my orange juice in there. Also, ask if the hotel has a deli or snack area to go pick up some juice if you run out.
Next, speak with the actual conference center where the event will be. Find out where any snack bars or vending machines are in case you need to get up for some juice. If you are the type of person that is afraid to tell people about your diabetes, then this isn’t for you. Simply tell them beforehand that you are diabetic and explain what you may need and they should be able to make accommodations or tell you where these things are. Finally, most conferences have already planned out what they are planning serving for lunch or dinner so send a quick e-mail to the staff putting the event on and they may be able to give you some sort of idea of what is going to be served. This is great to know, so you know if you need to fill up another reservoir before you go into the session or bring an extra insulin pen with you. It also helps with knowing approximately how many carbs are in what you. (Unless you have an IPhone, there is an app for that. Rumor has it, there’s an app that runs your whole life).
5. Test, Test, Test, Test
Just like anything else that you are doing in life, it is absolutely important for you to test your sugar constantly. I tend to test myself in between sessions so that way I can prepare for a low at that time. I hate to miss information at a conference, because I paid for the damn thing I want to be there the whole time. If I have a low in the middle then there goes some information that I am going to miss. Also, don’t be scared to pull out your meter in front of people. It actually is a good networking tool. It sparks conversations for me and then that is just another person that I was able to meet at the conference. In a way, it is an ice-breaker for me.
I hope this was helpful for all of you. I am sure that you all have your own method of planning for attending a conference, so I would like to hear some of your other ideas and planning methods.
Have a great day ya’ll.