Reasonable or unreasonable?

They are asking for people to go do hurricane cleanup.
They write the following and I wonder if it is reasonable to think that I could do this. I might be able to.

"You may be working and/or billeting in areas with no electricity or running water. This will prohibit CPAP use, storage of medications that need refrigeration, and restrict our ability to accommodate special diets. "


Diabetic diet is not very difficult to manage ina situation like that. I’ve never done it, but I did lots of earthquake cleanup Under similar circumstances. No power no running water.
But I kinda had to. No one was doing it police and fire were too busy saving people.
My neighbors and I cleared our street with probably a million bricks and glass and fallen fences.

Somethings you just need to do.


Sometimes what may not be the very best for the body is greatly outweighed by what is best for the mind and the soul. These are very personal decisions that only you can make and I know you will do what is right for you. If you do decide to go, all I can say is go girl, your body can take it and the experiences you come back with will reside in you and give you encouragement for the rest of your life!!!


With no electricity, I think one of the main concerns might be the heat. I read that while temperatures are in the 80s there, the heat index is going make it feel more around 100. It will stay pretty hot during the night as well in a climate like that (as opposed to a desert).

If they can get you cold drinking water or have other methods of helping you keep cool, then I think heat would be less of an issue. I tend to have problems with lows when I’ve been in a hot environment for a sustained period of time.

I think it is great that you’re considering volunteering for this cause. I’m sure they could use the help. With something like this, it seems a very high priority to ensure that you’re not going to be a liability yourself. I think diabetes management would have to be the number one priority. The hospitals are full. Covid is everywhere. This will be a high risk environment for all those reasons and because there’s no power.

I’d love to hear about your experience if you end up going.

I think these are very valid concerns, katers. I’m on the fence.

Whats tricky with flood as opposed to earthquake is that it will be a wet environment - bad for tech. Might be best to off tech completely - just syringe insulin and traditional BS machine because there will not be any way to charge a Dexcom anyway (or, even if I had a portable charger, it could get wet and full of mud if shoveling muck). It might be tough to carry a pump controller. I could use a water proof box and carry that stuff EVERYWHERE.

I think the insulin could last a week in 80 degrees, unrefrigerated. I’m a liability if I loose the insulin, so I need to carry it everywhere in a chaotic environment. I would expect heat related BG problems, but I expect those to get lost in all the problems related to intense physical labor.

As far as lacking access to food, I think I would bring those sugar flavoring packets to mix into bottled water because I’m sure they will have that. That could help with low BG.

It starts to seem like I’m carrying a lot of equipment into a mud filled house - BG machine, water bottles/flavor packets, insulin/syringes, maybe glucose tablets are better.

Covid very likely to be contracted there, I agree. It will be spreading around like wild filre.

I took a year off between undergrad and grad school, and signed up with FEMA during that time, mostly because they recruited at the school and it seemed like an adventure. I was already a camper/backpacker and knew how to live with my diabetes off-grid. I didn’t actually get deployed for an entire year, but Hurricane Katrina hit at the end of that break.

That was all a different time, though. I had just gotten my very first cell phone… And gasp!.. All it did was make ridiculously expensive phone calls. I had no pump. Was using the Walmart insulin that still cost about $25/vial even back then. I didn’t need much. I don’t remember my diabetes ever even being discussed with anyone. I didn’t require special attention.

I honestly saw very little of the devastation, though. I wasn’t roughing it at all. I was inland in a sort of science camp. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. We slept in abandoned hotels and had electricity most of the time. Weren’t allowed to run the mini fridges, but it still made a great place to insulate my stock of insulin from the heat. Sleeping bags were part of our packing list. I would have just kept my insulin in the sleeping bag if I didn’t have the mini fridge.

I don’t know what sort of organized effort this is, but you may find you’re not allowed to go if it is. They may need only vaccinated people to avoid a bigger catastrophe. I had to have all sorts of crazy immunizations beforehand, like Typhoid and Dengue fever. It took 3 months just to get all the shots and then be effective. If something awful had happened right after I signed up, I wouldn’t have been able to be deployed until the vaccine process was done.


I did two weeks of hurricane response last year for Laura and Delta just West of there. No problems… brought some extra pump supplies, and kept insulin in my frio’s (and it was over 100F for a few days after the storm). No electricity for the entire two weeks. Took cold showers, but never missed a beat as far as T1 management goes.

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My point about heat was actually not about the insulin. The insulin would probably be fine for a long time. A frio pack won’t work anyway if the humidity (and temperatures) are too high, so I don’t think there’d be any point in using it under those circumstances.

If you’re only going for a week, I have no doubt that your insulin will be fine temperature-wise. I have kept my insulin in similar temperature environments for a week with everything being fine.

I’m not sure that it would need to be as complicated as carrying everything around all the time. You could reach out to your contact about where you would expect to sleep every night. If it is the same place, then I think you would just need to have insulin/meter/glucose on hand. You could get a little waterproof bag that wraps securely to yourself to ensure that you always have that on hand. If something goes wrong with your dexcom, you just test your bg levels instead.

As I’m sure you know, heat will exacerbate any problems related to intense physical labor. If you think you can keep your bg levels in pretty good range under these conditions and you’re comfortable with the COVID risk, then I’d say go for it. A week isn’t too long to have to manage all of that.

Glucose gels can be really handy and have a lot of carbs for their weight.

You’d need a waterproof bag for your meter anyway. You can bring a battery pack and put it in the waterproof bag as well (if you’re willing to spend the money on this stuff).