Diabetes and Doomsday

I don't know if anyone here caught the show Doomsday Preppers on the NatGeo channel that aired last season, but that's what inspired this question. The premise of the show is people that stockpile all kinds of supplies, anything and everything they might need to survive what they think will bring about world-wide doomsday. Some of them go to amazing lengths to prep for what they believe will be the end.

Now, I am by no means a "Prepper", but it got me thinking; How long would I make it in a disaster scenario with type 1 diabetes (or type 2 if that's you)? I'm not necessarily meaning a world-wide doomsday event, but something like the floods that recently paralyzed Manila, or Katrina that shutdown a whole city, Wildfires in Colorado. Doesn't particularly matter what it is, but something that would cut off supply of insulin and other items we depend on to keep ourselves in control for an extended period of time. How do you think you would do/survive? How much insulin et al do you keep on hand?

Granted, at least where I live, this is not a huge concern. More like a passing thought, but one that makes me go "Hmmmm". Be interested to see if anyone has a disaster/doomsday plan here!

I am always prepped. I live about 5 miles from the Pentagon, and am ready to flee at any time. At work I kept a survival kit with 2 weeks supply of all drugs, insulin to grab in the frig, and GO. My husband and I have a destination plan.

I read Stephen King's The Stand in 1978 and it scared the H out of me. And, since I live where we could definately be targetted, I plan.

Read The Stand.

Those who feel they do not need to plan, may change their minds.

I live in a rural area so if we were to be cut-off from civilization for any reason, I have enough insulin and supplies to last me three to four months. I figure that would be enough time to either clean up from disaster or relocate or at least get me to a place where I can have my needs taken care of, even if other family members have to stay behind. Of course, if we are without electricity, nothing will be refrigerated, but we are rarely subject to soaring temperatures where I am and enjoy a cooler climate. Hopefully, I will never have to put the plan to the test.

I can't say I keep enough insulin on hand to last me 3-4 months at all times. Sure, right after I get my script filled I do, but in general it's whatever I have until I'm ready for a refill. I don't wait until the last moment to refill, but knowing my luck such a disaster would strike right when I need one.

Discussed this issue back in 2008


But the brief answer:

Insulin and the method for its delivery are the sole things we cannot survive without. Anything else is just a bonus. Strips and testing are a convenience, but not necessary at all. Habitual acts of discipline, what/when to eat, assuming its available of course the old methods will return anew.

It will not be "pretty" but we will all survive... except for those who panic. They will not survive long I fear...

Hi Stuart. I absolutely agree that insulin and some method of delivery are indispensable for survival. But I need my strips! We have a nuclear power plant near us which turns up with cracks now and again. Now I break out in a sweat when I'm high or when I'm low; takes too long to find out which I'm dealing with unless I have my strips. I can imagine killing myself by guessing wrong. I can also imagine panic!

Back in the late 80's hurricane Hugo hit Charleston and I was without power for three weeks. Back then I wasn't diabetic so it was not a problem for me. Just this past week I had to go to doctors office for more insulin because I ran out. This would be very scary if a natural disaster hit before i got the insulin. I try to keep a fair amount of backup supplies on hand; but how much is enough?

Hello Trudy:

The cold hard fact, we do not require the tests. >: >

We cover for what we eat solely. You use the absolute minimal coverage in these situations, not a single unit more. Dosage/dosing becomes an unchanging very consistent number period. There is no more flexibility in these situations. Same with food and water. When X runs out things get ugly.

The game is make food, insulin, water pens/vials/needles last period. Make em last 4 or 5 times as long or even longer!

But the painful truth is we can live without strips. Millions of us did then... and far more do even today.

The "dirty method(s)" are to treat everything as if it was a low,using the absolute minimum per today's protocols, rather than curing the ~strange feeling~ problem using the whole liter of soda.

Instead use 4oz, half a can. if nothing improves in 20 minutes, you can hit it again with 4oz more. The worst that happens is you've added another 40g to the mountain of sugar already in the blood stream. If we're high its no big deal, that little extra won't tip the scales much. No strips required on any level

I am proposing dirty solutions which do work. They are from the so called "dark ages". It is not spooky to "shoot blind", if its done intelligently. Perfect numbers go out the window, but we survive...

I'm obsessed with that show! It makes me want to hoard a bunch of stuff, but then I watch the show "Hoarders" and it makes me want to throw a bunch of stuff away, so I figure if I strike a nice balance between the two, I'll be OK. :)

In all seriousness, though, I HAVE made some preparations, like buying a Frio in case we loose power. (I love the Frio, btw.) I also have been stocking up on a few supplies and rotating through them. Insulin is the hard one to stock up on, though, since I can only get maximum of 3 months worth at a time. I've been thinking of stocking up on some cheaper R or NPH from wal-mart or something, just in case, because I can get it without a Rx and it won't break the bank for me. It would stink to have to go back to using R or NPH but if it were a survival situation, it would be fine. It's definitely something to think about!

This is a "simple" question! What is the absolute minimum required to keep us alive? Not the textbook perfect control routine so many attempt... but ONLY the what is the least absolutely necessary to stay alive.

Insulin, assess the quantity you have on hand. Use the bare minimum, only cover for any food. Cover very, very, very conservatively. With pumps they waste a bunch of things you definitely might not have any access to in this type of bad situation. If on one continue using it until you've got a problem. But unless you have a backpack full of sets, tubing, tape, the sterile priming stuff etc... in an emergency situation, the pumps will breakdown first... purely because of the supplies required to maintain them. So my list:

Delivery (e.g. needles, screw-on pen tips whatever you use...) methods. Use every single one for as long as you possibly can.

Food and water.

Anything beyond that is a luxury... IMHO.

I undestand the cover for food but my liver is pumping glucose out all the time which is why I also use Lantus.

Well, I have a supply of test strips/insulin etc., that I have built up. I did it more for the eventuality that I lost my insurance or something like that. But, I would be ok for a while if there were a disaster of some sort. If it were a true apocalypse/doomsday/end of the world scenario, however, I would eventually run out of supplies and I have come to the conclusion that I wouldn't make it. If it really were the end of the world, though, I'm not sure that I would want to make it anyway.

Great question. My answer is a little off topic but I'm threatened with A Doomsday every year with Hurricanes and right now I have a threat with Huricane Isaac coming up the West coast of Florida where I live tonite. I am very furninate to have a 6 month supply of both Insulins that I take and right now if anything happened I would take a loss of checking my BG even though I do have a good amount but in a Doomsday situation I would totally ration those strips until I truely need them. With the case of Insulin I sure wouldn't be hitting it hard with units, just enough to survive for along period of time. Now the other obstacle would be to keep the Insulin cool being that I do live in Fl. I think maybe digging a ditch deep enough in the ground with ice packs should help for awhile.

Have any of you read "One Second After" ? One of the central themes is about this very scenario being discussed and a little girl who has T1. Great book. Ironically, it was one I had just finished reading when I was diagnosed myself. I keep at least 6 vials of regular and a couple of NPH in my fridge, in addition to the prescription insulins that I actually use... I've never used regular or NPH, but 6 vials cost $150 at walmart... that is cheap insurance in my mind.

I was actually thinking about this when the commercials for Revolution popped up. The basic idea of that one is there is no power, and no one knows how to turn the power back on (at least, that's what I gather).

I figure I'd survive for a while. If that type of scenario were to occur, I could salvage insulin and needles from pharmacies, maybe be lucky and score some of those old test strips that don't require a meter (I'm assuming the batteries, and the alarm systems, would die along with all the other electronics). I could keep the insulin cool with frio packs. But if there is no power, then nothing is being manufactured, which means eventually the supply would run out, and I'd die.

But if we're talking more realistic natural disaster that's shorter term, I don't have a stock pile because my insurance is being stupid and won't let me. It's one month at a time, and I'm already stretching it. The just reduced the amount of insulin I get each month from the pharmacy(great job, guys, by the way. That won't come back to bite you in the butt at all!), and everything else seems to be "this is how much we think you'll need for 28 days, rounded down, but make it last 30". So, I'd be pretty screwed in that case.

The basic problem is that all the things we use to survive have expiration dates. Now, I do use things after that date, but if no new ones are produced, the supply will either completely degenerate or become unavailable as it is used up.

You can stock up all you want, be as prepared as possible, and pray a lot.

I have not thought too much about a doomsday situation but I have thought of power outages and so on or other things that can put us in a bad situation without insulin maybe... I think this is a good idea Sam to keep some nph and regular... I'm not sure how those work compared to what I take but I think I will read about it and do that myself as well as get more syringes.