Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Whew! What a weekend! Is everybody OK out there?

Mine was frustrating. And I didn’t even have Hurricane Irene breathing down my neck! But my brother, sister-in-law, and Dad (who lives with them) did.

The problem? They live in South Carolina. On the coast (and I mean ON the coast, not to mention between a river and a marsh). And just 80 miles from Wilmington, NC — which was one of the featured cities on the news. Newscasters talked about “the Carolinas,” but mentioned only North Carolina. What was South Carolina? Chopped liver?

Anyway, frustrating. I wanted to know what was going on with family members. Newscasters were acting as though Irene started in another state, even though the storm was…what? Four hundred miles or more in diameter and obviously covered part of South Carolina, even though it wasn’t expected to make landfall there? Apparently, however, the hurricane and its attendant winds and rain cut off somewhere around the line that divides north from south. Carolina, that is.

“It’s as though,” my sister-in-law said, “Virginia and West Virginia were referred to as ‘the Virginias.’”

They’re all fine, by the way. They got hit with tropical storm-level weather. Not a hurricane, but not exactly good, either. Rain was so heavy you couldn’t see, and it was a bit windy, but they just holed up and, um, weathered it out.

I was somewhat fascinated by their account of what they were doing to prepare. In addition to boarding up their windows and stocking in nonperishable food and water, they were mentioning things I hadn’t thought of: going to the pharmacy for refills on prescription drugs; getting a generator; draining part of the pool so it would have room to hold the rain water; putting a tarp on the roof over Dad’s bedroom in case the roof was damaged; buying lanterns because candles can be dangerous; filling the bathtubs and the washing machine with water for cleaning and flushing. Things like that.

Luckily, hurricanes give us plenty of warning. Me? I live in tornado and — believe it or not — earthquake territory. Those don’t give us a lot of warning, if any at all. We’ve had two earthquakes since I’ve lived here, and a tornado landed about three miles from my house a couple of years ago. I need to be prepared all of the time.

Are you? Prepared, that is? We always have nonperishable foods and jugs of water. My husband is a flashlight and lantern freak. But I’ll admit that I’m not always good at keeping a decent stock of prescription medications, aside from insulin. I do need to think seriously about putting together an emergency kit.

What would I put in it? What have those of you who are prepared put in yours? How do you handle keeping it stocked with things like insulin, which needs to be refrigerated when not being used? Or do you count on being able to grab some out of the fridge on your way to grab your emergency kit as you run out the door?

Ready.gov has a decent list of things needed in case of emergency. But it doesn’t tell you what to do about keeping the perishable items those of us with diabetes may need. But while I’m thinking about it, I think I will get a Frio Insulin Cooling Case or two. You soak it in water and, as the water evaporates, it cools the item(s) inside.

Please let us know if you have ideas about other ways to handle that or other items that people with diabetes need to have on hand in case of emergency. (Editor’s note: For more on preparing for emergencies, see the article “Disaster Preparedness.)

Aside from keeping an eye on the weather and worrying about family members — I also have a mother, another brother and sister-in-law, and a niece in the coastal South Carolina area (not to mention a brother who lives on an island on the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida), I…cooked.

Cali makes challah

Jan’s granddaughter kneads challah dough.

We had a photo-shooting session for the Sisterhood calendar, plus a “calendar tasting” event. I started my day at 6 AM grating beets. My kitchen looked like a mass murder had been committed. Baked six loaves of challah — with assistance from my granddaughter. Made up for a dearth of vegetables by roasting a big pan of eggplant, onions, zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, mushrooms, and I don’t remember what else. I do know I forgot to put in the turnips, but that’s OK. Turnips are good, and I can have them all now. Shot photos. Set up food on tables. It was a long day and I slept very well that night.

(For the curious, make your way through the produce department or farmer’s market and throw whatever looks good and takes about the same time to cook into your basket. Toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and roast in the oven or on the grill. For turnips by themselves, peel, cut in half or quarters depending on size, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake. Turnips are w-a-y low in carbohydrates and they’re yummy!)

One of the cats chewed my insulin pump tubing in two, which I didn’t find out about until my blood glucose had soared and I started checking around.

Hopefully, this weekend will be a little less stressful. All that I know I have is making French toast for my grandchildren and their friends from the leftover challah.

Hope the rest of your week is as dull as I hope mine will be. (As soon as I finish laying out the calendar and get it to the printer. Check with the fish market to see if my order is in. Clean out the fridge to make room for the fish. Goad my grandson into watering the garden…)

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