Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can kill you.
I have experienced diabetic ketoacidosis only once in my life time. You can find many stories about type 1 diabetics who die from ketoacidosis. Fortunately I survived the experience and learned an important lesson.
I started taking insulin when I was 11 years old. I remember being about 14 years old when I became ill and would throw up everything I tried to eat. At the time, both my parents were on a one week vacation. They arranged for a sitter to take of me and my siblings at our home. I thought that since I could not keep my food down, I should not take any insulin. BIG mistake.
When my parents returned I was so sick they immediately took me to the hospital. I spent about a week there recovering from diabetic ketoacidosis.
The pancreas of a true type 1 diabetic doesn’t produce any insulin. Even if you cannot eat any food, a type 1 still needs some insulin to prevent the occurrence of diabetic ketoacidosis. It’s critical that all type 1 diabetics have a plan for when their primary source of insulin becomes unavailable.
I use an insulin pump to manage my type 1. Keeping an extra pump on hand would cost me about $6000. A waste of money since I’ve never had a pump go bad? Have you ever dropped a bottle of insulin on a tile floor? Was it the last one you had on hand? Did it happen on a weekend? Was the prescription out of refills? Murphy’s law says “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. You need a backup plan just it case you might need it someday.
My backup Plan.
I know from experience that I can turn off my pump for up to 4 hours without my BG level going sky high. Beyond that period, I need a way get insulin into my body sooner rather than later. A replacement pump could take 24 hours or more to arrive. You could use Lantus insulin to manage your basal insulin levels but you need a prescription. Hard to get one on a weekend. The only option left is NPH insulin. You can get NPH at most pharmacies without a prescription for about $25. In most states you can also get diabetic syringes without a prescription. Please make sure to speak with a qualified endocrinologist to find a backup plan that will work for you just in case what can go wrong DOES go wrong.