I keep my valuables in my refrigerator. Doesn't everybody?
It's not the valuables most of you are thinking of - money, jewelry, silver and gold. The valuable I keep in my refrigerator is more important. It really can be called liquid gold.
What is the valuable in my refrigerator? Insulin.
I know to many people insulin isn't a highly prized possession. But in my world insulin can mean the difference between life and death. In my world, insulin is one of the most important items in my home.
Due to the generosity of an endo, and the fact that my child requires only small amounts of insulin, we have been able to stockpile some insulin. Diabetics stockpile supplies whenever possible. The insurance companies and big pharma force us to become hoarders. We never know when we will be denied something. It may be insulin or test strips. Heck, they can even deny the continuous glucose monitor your endo has prescribed. I don't think they have any business denying what an endo orders. Your endo knows your needs more than some stranger at a far away company. (That is a rant for another day.)
But back to my stockpile.
We easily have $2000-$3000 worth of insulin in my refrigerator. I know that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. Depending on your insurance a month's worth of insulin can range from $25 to $1200 and beyond. And that can be for the same exact product. And we are held captive. We have to pay for it or someone we love could die. And sadly, that happens.
Today it is raining where I live. (You probably really don't care about that, but it is part of my story.) For some reason, I lost power. It has happened before during a rain storm. And I wasn't concerned. I was annoyed because I wanted to leave and my garage door was closed and I hate opening them manually.
Then I remembered what was in my refrigerator. Then I became concerned. How long would I be without power? More importantly, how long would the insulin be good since the refrigerator was not working??
I couldn't find the answer I needed on google. I asked my child if she knew. She didn't either but she googled it. She is better at those things than I am. I knew she would get an answer for me. But she couldn't find the answer either.
My ultimate plan was to wait a few hours and then put the insulin in a cooler. Which can be a risky thing to do. If the insulin gets too cold it can degrade and is no longer usable.
Insulin is a bit like keeping balanced blood glucose levels. We are given a range for our blood glucose and we need to stay in that range to be healthy. Too high or too low and we can have serious problems. Insulin needs to stay cold, but not to cold. Once is comes out of the refrigerator and warms to room temperature you have 28 days to use it in. But don't let it get too hot or it's garbage. Again, a narrow range where too high or too low causes problems.
I am thankful that my power came back on after 45 minutes. I am actually glad this happened. I was given a chance to realize I have no back-up plan for the valuables in my refrigerator. I know I need a plan and I need it now.
So I will be calling the manufacturers to see what they recommend as a time limit for insulin in a refrigerator without power. Once I know that I won't have to panic as quickly next time.
And you know there will be a next time.