What Would You Grab?

Okay, quick: you have 1 minute. Think of the stuff you would grab if the building were on fire or if there was a gas leak? I will wait. Would you grab family treasures? Wallet? How about medicines? Or, would you get out and be safe? Recently I was reminded of being in that situation.

There has to be a fine art to grabbing what is needed. I looked at my diabetic stash and thought, "Wow, I do not know where I would begin." Now, let us be clear - my diabetes supply closet is only somewhat out of control. Okay, I will admit; it is out of control.

Essential items for disease management

It is so out of control that I had a cabinet installed to manage the mess and barely held it. In short, my "diacrap" runneth over. Definition of diacrap: all the stuff that I accumulate is related to and used in the treatment of diabetes and other ailments I might have.

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Notice I do not say it is useless stuff. My diacrap includes medicines, reservoirs, lancets, sets, test strips, meters, boxes, and manuals, and all manner of associated things.

I have meters, bags for meters, and boxes for the bags for the meters.

I have manuals about operating long past pumps, batteries for a forgotten pump, and battery covers for the batteries for the long-forgotten pumps. Hey, who knows when you might need a good battery cap for a discontinued pump?

What about my arthritis supplies? Well, I would need my walking poles and all my medicines (16 in total). I would need comfortable shoes and, of course, items to stay warm in winter.

If this sounds like a lot more than one minute of getting all the stuff I need - I know, you are correct. I might be able to spend one whole day or maybe a week getting my diacrap together.

Carrying medical items while traveling

The point is that my GO BAG is more like a GO SHIPPING CRATE. I went to Korea for a week in 2019 and you would have thought I was making a permanent move. I had so much stuff that military personnel returning from his overseas station in Korea asked if he could help me carry my stuff. "No," I said, "I am okay."

He was carting around his own 100 pounds of personal things (basically his life), and he asked me if I wanted help. I was glad he did not see me in Indianapolis when I got off the airplane to pick up the two bags I had checked. I mean, who travels like that?

Items for my grab and go bag

People with chronic illness do, and each chronic condition seems to multiply my dead weight. I know few of us are traveling right now, but someday soon. Here are my top items for my go bag.

Medical records or app

My hospital system allows me to grant access to my records for one-time access. But to get that access, I or someone on my behalf has to give it. If this is the case, make sure you and someone else have access to the authority to grant remote providers access to your records.

Playlist and headphones

I carry my tunes on my cell phone, and I never leave home without my headphones. This includes a power brick. Nothing is worse than being in the ER waiting for a doctor, and your power runs low. I also need to toss in my tablet, charging accessories, and items to clean my screen. In a hospital, the screen will get gross quickly. Also, remember you will want telephone numbers of those you might want to call.


Yes, no kidding, I like socks that fit; the hospital usually has great over sock slippers with a little bit of grip on them. I want to wear my socks underneath because my feet get cold. Of course, one also needs underwear and other personal care items. In my case, this includes an electric razor. If I do not shave every 24 hours, my face itches, and pretty soon, I am a grumpy, itchy mess (I know TMI).

Medication and related supplies

For me, I have to bring insulin pump supplies. The hospital will not give me insulin to put in my pump. So, I have to have insulin as well as pump supplies. All of that is with me to carry in.

For people with arthritis medications, it is unlikely the hospital will have specialty medications. If you will need your biologic medications, make sure you have a way to access them. Also, do not count on the hospital storing them in a cool place. If your biologic needs cold storage, make sure someone at home has access to them and that they can bring them to the hospital.

An oversized bag

Eventually, you will be released from the hospital (at least I have so far), so that means what you move in with, you will have to move out with. I am a little particular about my suitcase/bag. I have found that I accumulate stuff while in the hospital, so I carry an oversized bag to the hospital.

Contact information of your healthcare team

Finally, the most important thing is to make sure you have the telephone numbers of your doctors. I have had to call my endocrinologist, cardiologist, and primary care provider while in the hospital.

In one case, the hospitalist did not prescribe insulin, so I had to call my endocrinologist to ask for help and insulin orders. I have had to do this with my urologist as well.

It is tough when you know you need associated doctors, and you do not recall their telephone numbers. So those numbers are on my speed dial. Well, I mean, they are on my speed dial right after songs by Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Jimmy Buffet, and.. well, you get the idea. Music before doctors, always.

What is in your GO BAG? Or, what is your favorite inpatient hospital song? Mine is Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb. I request it before each surgical procedure.

“Hello, hello, hello, is there anybody in there

Just smile if you can hear me

Is there anyone at home?

Relax, relax, relax, we need some information first.”1

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