Earlier this winter, I blogged about how winter weather can affect diabetes. I thought I covered just about all of the ways, but Winter Storm Quinn reminded me that I left out a major factor when it hit last week: power outages.
How could I forget? After all the disaster and emergency preparedness articles I’ve read over the years, it should’ve been one of the first things I thought of when I wrote that post. But it didn’t even come to mind until last week’s situation.
On Thursday morning, I woke up to eerie silence. I rolled over and saw that my alarm clock’s light was dimmed, indicating that we had lost power overnight. Groaning, I wandered over to a nearby window and tugged the shade open to reveal a winter wonderland. Or it may be more accurate to say winter horror show. The world outside was coated in freshly fallen snow so heavy and compact that even the strongest trees in our yard found themselves compromised. Branches hung limp and defeated from their trees, and the weaker limbs that had fallen off were strewn haphazardly on the icy ground. But what really got our attention was the power line that lay across our driveway, struck down by the winds and snow.
It helped to explain our lack of power, and it also made it clear that we should get out of our house sooner rather than later – that is, if we wanted to keep warm and work remotely for the day (as opposed to making treks into our offices or taking personal days). So we packed overnight bags speedily, just in case we would need to spend the night away from home, and made our way out into the arctic tundra.
We set off for the refuge of my aunt and uncle’s home, where the wifi was working and the heat kept things cozy. Plus, Monty the black lab and Lucy the yellow lab were present and welcomed us warmly.
As I logged into my work laptop, it suddenly dawned on me that I neglected to pack my diabetes supplies. In fact, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to grab any insulin from our powerless refrigerator to ensure it stayed cool. But it didn’t make sense to make the trip back home for any of it, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
Our house ended up being without power for about 36 hours. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things, but long enough to make me realize it’s important to come up with a plan for future freak power outages like this. Even though the outage was relatively brief and it was cold out, meaning the odds of my insulin going bad were slim, I know that this won’t always be the case (especially in the summertime). So I’m going to put together a rudimentary emergency kit that I can grab and go on a moment’s notice. I’ll include a checklist with this bag that will serve as a reminder to take as much insulin as needed with me in an emergency situation. I’m also going to try to be better about charging my meter and my Dexcom more frequently – I have a habit of waiting until the battery is dangerously low before I recharge either device.
As the saying goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry.