Diabetes & disasters!

Thankfully, Hurricane Irene didn’t devastate much. Still, we prepared for it. At work, we had our days off cancelled, and worked mandatory 12-hour shifts. So for the last three days, I worked patrol from 8am to 8pm. It wasn’t bad, but it was long.

This was the first time that I had to work patrol in a disaster this big. I was only nervous about one thing… this damn DIABETES!

Friday, August 26: I report to roll call on my scheduled day off, which has been cancelled. Our eight hour shifts are now twelve hours long, 8am-8pm, and 8pm-8am. In roll call we’re told that the storm is going to possibly be the biggest ever. We’ll be able to get home tonight, but when we report tomorrow be prepared for the worse. We’re told to bring food, supplies, extra uniforms, our radio chargers, and cell phone chargers. Need I add, we’re all still in shock from the earthquake one week prior?

That night, all I could think about was “don’t forget the Lantus, don’t forget the diabetic supplies.” I packed my bag carefully and included the insulin, and some other meds just in case. I was now at a point in my life where not having access to meds could make a really big difference. I also included a few pain patches. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I had a pretty large cooler, which I filled with ice and about 4 pints of OJ. I already had water in the back of my Jeep. The last thing I needed was for my bg to be dropping while I was away from home, and at work. As an after thought, I put my large bottle of glucose tablets in my overnight bag. Then I added a second Lantus pen. There have been times that I’ve cracked open a new pen, and it doesn’t dispense properly.

Saturday, August 27: My second 12-hr shift on my regular day off. On patrol we focus on evacuations and some dispatched calls. It was actually busy. The storm was definitely coming. Businesses were closing. As I answered calls and saw people leaving their homes (or refusing to), I wondered if I was going to be able to make it home. I went to the last open 7-11 and bought 4 more pints of OJ for my cooler. I had already downed one, so now I had 7. I wondered if that was going to be enough?

If I was stuck here, I couldn’t afford to rely on anyone else to handle my low bg’s. I brought two more. Then I began to drop, so I drank one slowly. After this store closed, that would be it. I bought two more. I also bought the last bag of ice in the store. Wow. Stuff was really disappearing.

Midway through the shift, we were told that we had to purchase rooms if we got stuck here; there were no overnight accommodations for us. Crazy. My co-workers and I began discussing purchasing rooms and sharing them. I actually had enough for my own room, but some people didn’t. I didn’t mind rooming with any of them, but I began to get worried. I wondered if I could inject insulin in front of them. I wondered how crazy it would be if I shared a room with co-workers, and my bg dropped. They all know I have diabetes, but they have never seen me out of it or confused. At work I’m always on point, always sharp. I shuddered at the thought of waking up and being so confused I might need assistance. How about if it was one of those mornings where I would be confused, crying, didn’t know what was going on? We’re cool, we’re girlz, we have each other’s back, we give our lives in the street… but I wasn’t ready to get this personal with them. I was super nervous about that. Crazy right? Here we were planning to survive a major disaster, and I was focused on this instead.

We got relieved and a group of us decided to go for it, and caravan home. It was blowing and flooding outside… Irene was definitely getting closer. But we all made it home. I sighed a huge sigh of relief. If my bg dropped, it would be at home.

Sunday, August 28: I reported for my third 12-hour shift. I still had my cooler and the OJ was still cold. All businesses were closed, so no breakfast spots were open. Our morning breakfast club was cancelled until further notice. I checked my bg every couple of hours, drank OJ, and had a few small snacks in between. The worst was over. I had enough supplies, this time. I was able to stay disciplined, not panic, and not lose control of my bg.

So I survived Irene, and again… DIABETES STILL SUX! Diabetes is my major disaster!! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this.

What’s even worse, is I’m starting to forget how life was without it.

I know this is a scare and a pain in the backend. But it is what it is and it sounds as if you know that.

I work for a nuclear utility and when storms and things like this hit we have to sequestered on-site for up to several days. The company knows that there are diabetics that are part of the emergency response organization and they actually make plans to have stuff like OJ there in the event it is needed.

Food is supplied (usually MREs) so I don’t have to worry about what to eat. I do have to remember test supplies and my meds. All of my pills are in one smaller bag that goes in my suitcase. When the hurricanes threaten the gulf region I will put enough syringes to last for 3 weeks and two vials of Lantus.

Time to prepare and using that time wisely is key for diabetics and non-diabetics as well. Wait until the last minute and you might find yourself in a real pickle.

Sounds like you did well and were prepared as best as you could be.

What a scary, difficult three days; you handled it all admirably. Congratulations!

you did a fine job managing in a very diffcult situation., Hakima. You will not forget how life was eithout diabetes, but I will quote someone from a thread " Diabetes is the New Normal". You will get used to it.

God Bless,
Type one 43 years

Thanks everyone for the comments! I really appreciate them!