16 Responses

  1. Andrea
    Andrea August 20, 2013 at 4:45 am | | Reply

    Glad to hear of a tourist (and non-french speaking one to boot!) having a good experience in an emergency here in France! It can be sometimes quite frustrating to navigate the system when you live here (…is the understatement of the year). The main reason prices are so much better here than in the US is that there is a single payer for the whole country. Strips and any other diabetes supplies for that matter are covered by French Social Security so they have great barganing power with pharma. The down-side of that is that some items (pumps, meters…) never get approved here because the French “Sécu” and the pharma in question cannot agree on a price. Always remember that Social Media can also come to the rescue in travel situations too!

    1. Molly
      Molly October 20, 2014 at 8:19 am | | Reply

      Hi Andrea,
      I am anticipating a short term move to France and I have had type 1 diabetes since I was a young child- I have been looking everywhere on the internet for info and got the feeling from your comment that you might live in France and know some things about how insurance works with coverage for type 1. It’s all very new to me and I am looking for any advice in navigating the system. If you would be willing to speak with me, could you reply here with your email?

  2. 70-130
    70-130 August 20, 2013 at 5:01 am | | Reply

    It’s refreshing to leave the US and see how simple and cheap health care can be isn’t it :)

  3. Marge Stromberg
    Marge Stromberg August 20, 2013 at 5:58 am | | Reply

    About 10 years ago we went to Vienna, Austria. On the plane I discovered that I had packed an almost empty bottle of insulin instead of the new one I had intended to take. Not good for a 2 week trip. My daughter took me to the corner pharmacy and in her limited German explained my problem. The pharmacist spoke English, said that since I had the box containing the prescription, she could get me a vial. But she’d have to order it – come back in a day and she’d have it for me. I could have kissed her!!

  4. Jon Beermann
    Jon Beermann August 20, 2013 at 7:44 am | | Reply

    The author is living in the past as far as supplies go. A pump makes the most sense but if she did not want to use one how about pens?

  5. Tim Steinert
    Tim Steinert August 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | | Reply

    Be nice. I don’t disparage people who listen to music on 33s, 45s or 78s.

  6. June S.
    June S. August 20, 2013 at 8:55 am | | Reply

    Sounds as though our blogger got fantastic service via the French medical system. I want to mention here that my own wonderful endocrinologist recommended years ago (prior to a one-month stay in Prague) that I get an American Express Gold card. They have a not-very-well-advertised emergency medical transport service. When I last checked with AmEx, they said it is still in place.

  7. Steve
    Steve August 20, 2013 at 9:51 am | | Reply

    I am curious why you don’t use insulin pens. It is general question not just related to traveling.

  8. God
    God August 20, 2013 at 9:53 am | | Reply

    France is one thing, but what about other countries with weaker healthcare systems? Am I going to have to go through the black market?

  9. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter August 20, 2013 at 11:06 am | | Reply

    As the French say, à chacun son goût. Pumps, pens, syringes: all have their benefits and their deficiencies. Pumps and pens are more acceptable to the general public, who dislike seeing people shoot up in public. Pens and syringes allow one to know, for certain, how much insulin has actually been injected. Pumps can lie. Pens limit doses to 1/2 or 1 unit increments. With syringes, you can fill above or below the line. Some diabetics require smaller doses and are more sensitive to how much that dose is off target. Pumps determine our wardrobe choices (I’m assuming Jon Beerman and Steve rarely wear slinky dresses).

    I’m really glad to hear about Stephanie’s trip to France. Someday….

  10. Stephanie Bradford
    Stephanie Bradford August 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm | | Reply

    Thank you all for the comments.
    Mom is doing well!
    I don’t use pens because I find them bulky and awkward, and the last time my endocrinologist and his fellow tried to demonstrate how easy they were, they had to try three different needles before they got the right one on.
    I have tried the pump. It doesn’t make sense for me because it both jammed (causing unreasonably high blood sugars) and the tubing is far too long for my frame.
    Given that I have no secondary complications, an excellent A1c, box, and travel on a regular basis, I think the technology I use is right for me.

  11. Amal Richard
    Amal Richard August 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm | | Reply

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  12. Jacob
    Jacob August 21, 2013 at 8:54 am | | Reply

    As a diabetic who travels quite a bit but also currently lives in France, I’d like to say that it’s not all good. Many pharmacists don’t understand my pronouncitation of insulin ;) you’ll have more luck with brandnames, but more importantly about 1/3 are absolute in their requirement of a prescription; no worries try the next one (particularly–but not always–the ones resembling larger chains) and you’ll get no questions at all (sales still matter even in a socialist state). Some are unfamiliar with pens, and some have no choice in needle length (8mm is fairly common) but you should be able to adjust (I was initially apprehensive at 8 when my usual 6 wasn’t available!). As to test strips, I just use ebay–least hard item to stock up on. Incidentally the country I’ve had the minimal trouble with is India (but a huge proportion of people are diabetic) and you’ll easily find minute pharmacies with dubious fridges who’ll happily sell you individual pens– just check the expiration and buy yourself a Frio case lest they be ruined in the heat.

  13. Jay
    Jay August 21, 2013 at 10:04 am | | Reply

    Another aspect when travelling that I would never have thought of – is temperature. This just happend to my Dad on the Canaries, where it was very hot during my parents’ holiday. He couldn’t explain why his blood sugar zigzagged between too high and very low all the time. Explanation: insuline in pen gone bad due to extreme heat!

    Does anyone have a good (and practical!) method for protecting insuline already loaded in the pen from heat?

  14. Eileen
    Eileen August 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm | | Reply

    Jay…I have traveled extensively with my insulin in a Frio pack. I use an insulin pump so only need to keep insulin bottles cold but assume they make different size pouches to fit different types of supplies. The cold packs become cold by being soaked in ice water. I have never had a problem getting ice water to soak the packs in. Once activated, the frio pack stays cold for up to a week. I generally just put it in my backpack or pocketbook or whatever I am carrying around. I’m sure if you search Frio on the web you will find their website. Hope that helps.

  15. Jay
    Jay August 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    Wow, Eileen, thanks so much! This looks brilliant, I wonder why we never heard of that. Even his diabetes doctor hadn’t thought of the heat problem.

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