Diabetics....Under the Dome

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2013-09-01 12:09:47 -0500
Started 2013-07-31 05:06:26 -0500

We have had a few discussions about Hollywood and their attempts to include diabetes in their shows. Some do it with success, while others you just want to reach through the TV and shake them. Well there is a new one on the scene. It's a Steven King based show of a town that is trapped under a dome, cut off from the outside world.

Trapped inside is a main character with type 1 (I am presuming from her requirement to have insulin) though it is a bit sketchy. This week's episode really concentrated on her character and the fact that inside the dome, the insulin is finite and running out. She had taken her last dose and of course is now in the local hospital after suffering a rather confusing episode.

Anyway, her daughter is on a mission to steal from other diabetics (who of course take the same insulin her mom uses…really) and get treatment for her mom. It is quite a dilemma she faces as she realizes the other diabetics are facing a certain death due to no insulin being available. Her moral character is challenged by this and she begins to understand the magnitude of the problem.

So for all the misrepresentation, that realization is still very poignant. It brought to mind how fragile we can be, for all the strength we have in our daily battle. I guess living in Hurricane country, I worry about this more than I some. While I am not insulin dependent, I do still take it and it works for me better than any pills. I try to keep some in stock at home, but it is a little scary to think of what could happen if I run out. Much less if someone with type 1 should run out.

What do you guys do to be prepared for something that might happen? Not that a dome is going to drop on your town, but what happens if a storm hits and you need your medicines. Are you able to take care of yourself when no one is able to help you out?

31 replies

lemkedoris@yahoo.com 2013-09-01 08:28:23 -0500 Report

we do not get to meny bad storms in ct. but the last few winters and spring we have had very bad one's.but like that show sounds like I would like to watch it seams they are faced with a lot we do not think of all the time in are lives lately..

lemkedoris@yahoo.com 2013-09-01 08:24:45 -0500 Report

I have a pack on hand to grab and go just put new med's in in case had to use it once when tree fell on my house and had to leave in a hurry.

GabbyPA 2013-09-01 12:09:47 -0500 Report

That's what I'm talking about. Sometimes we think that a disaster has to be a big thing. It doesn't have to be, and having things ready to go if we have to take off is so helpful. Time saving in a situation that happens in a hurry. Thanks for sharing that.

GabbyPA 2013-08-10 10:28:54 -0500 Report

Well, the diabetic character died of heart failure last episode, so I guess we will not have any play in it any longer. We will see if it comes up again. I did find it interesting that they killed her off that way, which is probably one of the more accurate things and not some huge diabetic coma or something. Like I said, it's Tee Vee....but it was a good stab at it.

Chief Scott
Chief Scott 2013-08-09 12:08:36 -0500 Report

I'm amazed at how this discussion has taken off. It's all very good info and things to think of. Before I retired from the Navy, I had the privilege of being transferred to Naval Air Station Key West, Fl. just before Hurricane Andrew struck south Florida in 1992. We saw Miami and other communities before and after Andrew and I've never ever forgotten those lessons learned. Though we didn't suffer direct damage from the Hurricane, we lived with no power, etc. for a few days. From that time on till I retired, I became a quasi Hurricane expert and conducted preparedness classes for the base at least once a month. You can never be too prepared.

GabbyPA 2013-08-10 10:30:44 -0500 Report

Yeah, I went through Andrew but I was on the north end of it, so our damage was very minimal compared to Miami. We went down though to help out, and it made an eternal impression on me as well. You just don't get certain images out of your head....ever.

Chief Scott
Chief Scott 2013-08-10 10:46:15 -0500 Report

I do believe that Andrew was one of the reasons We ended up in North Dakota after traveling all over the country. We're also at the northern end of Tornado alley so we don't get affected much by that even though we lived through a few blizzards and -35* F temps in February and March.

GabbyPA 2013-08-10 11:38:10 -0500 Report

Any place you live you have to choose your "natures challenges". I choose hurricanes over tornadoes any day. But being a native Minnesotan, the snow is still appealing to me and the heat of Florida about kills me in the summer, even after so many years.

Chief Scott
Chief Scott 2013-08-01 18:15:48 -0500 Report

My son and daughter in law were cast as back ground actors in one episode of that show. As I don't have regular TV, I hope to see it in the future on Netflixs.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-03 11:51:08 -0500 Report

Fantastic, being in the background is just as hard as being the actor with all the takes. I was an extra in a Lincoln documentary for the History Channel in 2006. Temp was 106 and high humidity and I had to wear a wool skirt. I ended up with a rash around my waist because I am allergic to wool. I was allowed to wear my own long black skirt the next day. I bet they enjoyed it as much s I do.

I do hope you get to see them. The show is much better than I thought it would be.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-01 12:19:38 -0500 Report

Gabby we can get a hurricane from time to time or a blizzard that can shut down the city for a few days or a week. Interestingly the City had a disaster preparedness meeting Tuesday, I didn't attend because I was at another meeting.

You simply have to be prepared. If you know about an impending hurricane, or blizzard you should order additional medication if possible This is what I did for Hurricane Sandy days before it hit. It also helps that I was in the Fire Department and we would give out preparedness information for sheltering at home.

1. My sister and I got our prescriptions refilled
2. Saved water and milk bottles and washed them and filled them with water and dropped them in the deep freezer. (they not only will help keep food frozen if the power goes out but you can pull out a bottle put it in a zip lock baggie for your meds that need to be kept cold.) These bottles came in handy when power went out for 12 hours two weeks ago because I now keep them in the freezer year round.
3. We bought batteries when we first heard the storm was headed our way and we have camping lanterns to carry around with us and flashlights in every room. We have moms Hurricane lamps filled with oil. We light them, remove the towels from the towel bar and put the lamps in the bath tubs in both bathrooms. We put the extra bottles of oil where we can get them if we need them.
4. We also put our medical information such as doctors names and numbers in our phones then typed a list with that and prescription numbers and names, addresses and phone numbers in a zip lock bag and put in purses so we could have them if we had to leave our house.
5. We have a charcol grill and we keep charcol, and lighter fluid year round. We store books of matches in the grill. Since the dog never used his dog house we keep charcol and lighter fluid in it in a plastic can with a lid to keep dry as well as keep a bag in the basement.
6. Depending on the size of your deep freezer and how full it is, you can fill plastic containers with water and freeze them so if you lose power you can put them in a cooler to keep perishable foods until you can eat it.
7. Buy a battery powered radio. Before cable and the change of the FCC system, I had a battery powered tv. Still have it but it won't work without a converter box.

It seems lately here in Maryland we have been having powerful storms that has been knocking down limbs, uprooting trees and knocking out power and we have lost power twice this summer. The last time was for 4 hours. When the power goes off, my house is the only house that isn't totally dark.

They now sell Solar Chargers these are great. I really want one. It will charge your cell and a laptop or tablet.

Great Post

GabbyPA 2013-08-02 05:52:13 -0500 Report

You sound like me in the prepared department. I went through 5 hurricanes in my lifetime...I'm good. I learned from each one, and I hope that the next one I go through I will be ready...to learn more. LOL

tabby9146 2013-08-03 11:59:36 -0500 Report

I've been through 3 major hurricanes, Cat 3&4 and numerous others, cat 1 &2 not sure how many at the moment. Fact of life where I am. Gabby, 5 sure is enough isn't it?! to last you a lifetime.

GabbyPA 2013-08-05 06:37:31 -0500 Report

You bet! I could go my whole life without another one, for sure. I have been blessed and always came out okay in them, but they are scary and the time after without power is often very painful.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-02 11:44:49 -0500 Report

Gabby I learned about the water bottles watching the news when people were preparing for Hurricane Sandy. A woman in a store said she did this. It never fails that you learn something new every day.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-08-01 05:44:47 -0500 Report

Something I wonder about, but not just from a natural disaster view point, Gabby. Over the years of working at various nursing homes and assisted living residences, is how to manage diabetes as you age and surrender your independence. I have worked with people who don't get it that the Resident with Diabetes may need more protein and less carb. In some cases throw in religious food restrictions ( i.e no pork products) and things can get a bit tricky. Some coworkers would not order alternative meal choices for Diabetic Alzheimer's residents. They might only have served cereal and a biscuit. Or waffles, or…
If you enter a long term care facility you should read very closely their dietary rules. Some clearly state we do not offer therapeutic menus. It is up to the individual to monitor their diet requirements.
OK so how would I chose if I have an advanced stage of dementia?
Where I currently work most of the diabetic residents are on oral meds only. Most of the residents have varying degrees of dementias. Makes for some interesting situations to say the least.
One night I spent between 2 to 3 hours with a couple of new independent residents who had only moved in that week. If they are independent residents we have no medical information on them and only go to their apartment if they call in an emergency for assistance. Had to play 20 questions to learn 1 has diabetes and figured out very fast the other one has fairly well advanced dementia The one with diabetes had a very low BG. But could only learn that by talking the dementia one through how to do a BG finger prick (same process of explaining how to do it every 15 minutes for 2 hours). We are not allowed to do finger pricks at my facility, only the resident or a family member can do it. As independent residents they also kept repeatedly refusing to let me call 911 or a family member. And neither really understood that 52 was a bit too low of a BG for safety. After a couple of glasses of "Orange juice" that were slowly drank and testing for the 1st hour, I checked the label on their OJ. It was the 50% less sugar variety. (lesson learned by me from that was use our OJ not a residents' that they poured unless I read the label). Still with added sugar and cheerios it barely made it to 72. So, I cheated and went and got 2 of my glucose tabs. Finally it jumped to 150. Then the diabetic resident become a bit more talkative. He said he had not eaten lunch, barely ate anything for supper, but had taken both doses of his oral meds.
Maybe not Hollywood, but a disaster waiting to happen.
I think when I make my living will it should include the importance of the diabetic aspects. I have already told all my family members that if I am in a hospice situation that under no circumstances should any and all normal pain meds be withheld. But that comes from a whole lot of other horror type movie moments in dealing with hospice residents' family members who do not comprehend their loved one is in pain.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-01 12:31:00 -0500 Report

Graylin, it is very difficult to care for people. I applaud you. This is good information because I thought when you went into an assisted living/independent living facility, the medical staff provided total medical care such as giving meds etc. Thankfully you were able to help them.

tabby9146 2013-08-03 12:05:50 -0500 Report

that is what I thought too! I care for my elderly mother, who is in a wheel chair and has another problem, been keeping her out of assisted living for years now, helping her to do what she wishes, which is to stay in the place she wants, on her own, it is getting harder. So I know what it is like to care for an elderly parent. I am glad she does not have diabetes or any other serious medical condition, it is stressful enough at times but I am blessed to stlll have her , I live close by and cherish the times I have with her.

tabby9146 2013-08-03 12:09:33 -0500 Report

my mother in law who is 66, has alzheimer's earlier stages, we have known for several years now. I can't help but worry about the future for her. IT is so hard already just in early stages, on the whole family and especially my father in law, husband, and his sister. Her father passed away from that too many years ago, and witnessed first hand, how incredibly hard this is on a family, just the worst thing.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-03 17:16:06 -0500 Report

Tabby it can be very hard to care for an elderly person espcially if they are ill. My cousin and I spent 6 months talking our aunt into putting her husband in a nursing home. He has alzhiemers and at times had no idea who she was. They are both in their 80's. His family lives within walking distance in the same town and yet none of them would help her. Neighbors not related to them looked out for both of them. His son and daughter and law only came when my cousin called and told them they had to come get him while my aunt was in the hospital. They complained but came and got him. When my aunt came home, she told them after 3 weeks that my aunt was home. When she got sick again we told her the toll of taking care of him was wearing her out and she had his doctor find a nursing home for him.

My aunt had started to faint. She has heart problems. She had to lock them both in the house so he wouldn't walk out, he put her shoes and clothing in the fridge thinking it was the closet. She had to remove all of the knobs off the stove and put all of her knives in a container in the closet where he could not reach them. He started getting violent and we thought he would hurt her. Thankfully, he is in a nursing home close by so she can visit and she is doing so much better.

Sometimes when the family gets to the point when they cannot care for their elderly loved one or when there is no support or help from the immediate family, I think it is time for them to consider placing them in a nursing facility.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-08-02 18:24:13 -0500 Report

Joyce, it will vary depending on the place. We have Independent, assisted and memory care and also do Hospice and palliative care. Residents can pick and chose the services we provide. We do only meds for some. Some have housekeeping help. Some use the dining room for every meal. Some only use it for 1 or 2 meals a day, or do all their one meals in their apartments. Then their are other services that can range form assisting with putting on and removing TED hose or compression stockings and/or washing them. We offer laundry services that can be only bedding and towels to all their personal laundry. Then their is pricing concerning how much assistance the resident needs. It can be only reminders for activities to escorting to and from activities, helping them dressing, assisting with showers, etc. The services are based on the level of independence they have. Some can totally dress themselves, some cannot bend to reach their feet to put on shoes or socks or underwear or pants. Some cannot dress themselves at all. Some are safe to manage their medications on their own. Some need reminders only about taking their meds. Some, we are responsible for getting all their meds to them and others take a few own their own and we provide others.
Like I posted above, we are required to know how to safely and competently take care of residents in the facility and must have knowledge of how to take care of them concerning their medical conditions. But, as you know, each person is different in how each disease. Since many people have more than one medical condition it just gets more and more complicated.
We have monthly inservices to teach us about taking care of our residents. Sometimes it can be frustrating, the people leading the training session can be like the Doctors who say test your BG and don't eat sugar. While what they say is helpful, it doesn't always cover a lot of what managing a condition needs
When I was in the hospital, while the Doctors weren't to certain they could save my legs, my hospital case worker was looking for a rehb facility to place me if my legs needed amputated. When it became more optimistic that I would not be facing amputation the facility they were thinking of releasing me to was no longer the best choice. So she began the search for were the best fit would be. This is what we should do when/if we are in the position of looking at either short or long term care for ourselves or another person.
Not all facilities have experience with all conditions.
Were I work their emphasis is more towards dementia and hospice is offered. We are all required to complete Alzheimer's Association training. We have had more Hospice inservices than any other single issue training after Dementia training. Families of residents are much more active in communicating with the owners and management than at places I have worked before. The owners seem very responsive to implement changes whenever needed. I think I would be reasonably content if my mother-in-law had been in this facility while she was alive. She had both Alzheimers' and diabetes. As a family member I would make an effort to address the Diabetes care during the monthly family conferences. As a staff member I do know that some staff just choose to ignore some of the food choice guidelines in assisting diabetic residents. However, this is an improving situation as staff education continues and as new staff is hired.
Long answer made short - research the facilities available and voice your needs and concerns.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-03 12:01:41 -0500 Report

OMG there is a lot to this. Training of the staff is very important. I know from having my dad in a nursing home that the family has to be vigilant and play a role in the kind of care the loved one recieves.

My last job was working with the Money Follows the Person Program which is a federal program that provides nursing home care for those who are capable of leaving a nursing facility and live on their own. I went into nursing homes that I would not let my dog walk in.

I totally agree with you when you said you have to research the facilities and ask questions BEFORE you put a loved one in such places.

The hospital called and told me they were putting my father in a place. I said only if Hell froze over 3 times. It was basically a dumping ground for people who they thought were going to die and it was not up to par. We networked with friends and family and we visited one place that was brand new, clean and staff was trained. We went on a tour and then admitted my father. The day he went in we were there and they served us the same lunch he had and the food was really delicious and healthy.

I also agree with you, if staff don't care enough about food choice guidelines regardles if the person is or isn't diabetic, the patient is the one who suffers.

Graylin there are a lot of people working in these kinds of facilities who view it as just a job and don't care. Thankfully you are a compassionate employee who cares about the patients well being.

GabbyPA 2013-08-01 07:39:25 -0500 Report

Wow, that is incredibly crazy. How can you be in a facility and not expect some sort of treatment. The fact that a dementia patient had to be responsible for the diabetic patient is a train wreck. It's far to complicated to deal with in that way. I'm amazed that you cannot help. Is it because they are still considered "independent"?

And I totally agree with your hospice comment. My dad was home in hospice care before he died. The pain meds ran freely because we certainly wanted him to be as comfortable in his last days. The diabetes meds at that point were pointless.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-08-01 08:45:17 -0500 Report

Policies vary from facility to facility.
At my current facility the requirements are their Doctors declare the Diabetes to be controlled, either by diet (they must be able to make their own choices with some guidance by caregiver staff, or oral meds, or self administer insulin. The memory care unit cannot accept any diabetic on insulin. Assisted living residents, who have milder dementia monitor their BG as their doctor directs, we can remind them to test, but not test them. If they need insulin and can not do it on their own an outside Nurse is hired by them or their legal guardian and they come and administer it. I have worked at assisted living facilities where caregivers were trained by the facility to do BG tests for the resident, but the resident was still responsible for injecting their insulin. We could hand them a dose, that had been prepared by a nurse, they had to give the shot themselves. At my previous place we did a few special diets. Where I currently work their are a few alternatives (i.e sugar free puddings, lower sugar yogurt, prepackaged sugar free cookies, oh, and the chefs will make sugar free pie and angel food cake). But the chefs and caregivers are only instructed to limit sweets. They do not limit carbs.
At a nursing home, or skilled facility, or long term care facility the diets might be more specialized. Of course, remember if you or someone you know has had a hospital serve a Diabetic meal, it can be a far cry from what you personally choose at home or eating out.
Where I used to work I would try to cut carbs in my meal prep, Didn't do as well as I thought I was doing once I started learning what Diabetes is all about since my diagnosis. Wish I had learned more sooner.
As caregivers at assisted living facilities we do have to remember who is allergic to what, who is lactose and/or glucose intolerant, who has Crohn's or Celliac, who can't have salt, who needs to follow a kidney disease diet, a heart disease diet. Makes my night shift seem easier since I only need to offer a few snacks during my shift, but frustrating when I suddenly am working during a mealtime.
Seems there would be a market for Assisted living and Memory care facilities that specialize in residents who also have Diabetes. I know of an area facility that specializes in hearing impaired residents. They even require their staff to learn sign language.
We have to have a certain amount of training for all conditions our residents have, but it does not always seem adequate IMHO at times. But after reading the horror stories of some on DC regarding their Doctors, we are probably better than average. I just like to preform at a higher level.
As to hospice, it just makes me want to scream when family can be right in the room with their loved one and not see the pain in their eyes and the way their body is clenched in pain, even the sound of their breathing. Again, I am glad I work at night because family is usually not around to say Daddy or Mommy isn't in pain, so don't give the PRN pain med the Doctor has ordered and the Nurse, my immediate supervisor have ordered me to administer. Don't get me wrong, I don't want them over medicated, but it is possible to have them at a lower level of pain. When you can hear their breathing return to a more normal sound and their body relax, or even have them move their tongue when you say "I have some medication here to put under your tongue to help ease your pain, you know they want to not hurt as much as they are. There is nothing else like the feeling of someone thanking you by squeezing your hand when the pain subsides, when earlier it was clenched rigidly in pain.

ANYSA728 2013-07-31 10:10:50 -0500 Report

I thought the whole diabetes thing was ludicrous. Is it just me?? I went online & looked up other thoughts but everyone is really just focused on the finite supply of insulin. In reality, what would happen if there was no insulin. But back to the show… The 'Mom' and daughter both have diabetes dont they? I thought at the beginning the 'daughter' had and "episode" like on the first show and they said she was diabetic. I could be wrong but either way, The other night when the 'mom' had her hot flash and bizarre behvior, they freaked out and said she needed her insulin. I screamed at the TV "NO SHE DOESN'T SHE NEEDS SOME SUGAR!" Only that little boy with diabetes was most believable. Even if she/they are diabetic, high blood sugars would only take their toll after years (maybe months) and you would get sick of other things, not diabetes (infections, osteoporosis, kidney failure…) I don't think the basics of diabetes is rocket science. King & Spielberg could have made it right but I guess it wouldn't be that dramatic & it would take time they dont have.
John Forschen wrote a book called One Second After that is really a great read (not so great for type1's). In it he tells the story of a small town surviving after an EMP takes out our country. No phones, no electricity, no vehicles, no nothing. And no way to get more food, water, or medical supplies. I read this before my diagnosis and it is really scary. Even what insulin you have has to stay cold and is only good for so long. Back in the 1800's and early 1900's didn't they try to feed people only protein & lettuce…anything without carbs and type1's still wouldn't survive. I don't know what we'd do. It IS scary! ~thanks for bringing it up btw!

Angie Type 1
Angie Type 1 2013-08-12 20:55:08 -0500 Report

Not just you! I watched it too and was saying…she needs some sugar too!!! They could have done a much better job.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-01 12:39:09 -0500 Report

If there wasn't any insulin, people would die. This is what happened long before there was the development of insulin and vaccines.

As you said back to the show. I love the show btw but what King and Spielberg did was for dramtic effect. It is Hollywood after all and it does not have to be exact. Think about it. I use to watch the soaps religiously and on one soap the person would be dead and be gone for a year then come back only to find out he was in a coma. The same person was in a plane crash and declared dead only to pop up a year later after wandering in the "wilderness" and found by hikers. It is for entertainment purposes only.

I was in a Lincoln documentary for the History Channel that was aired in 2008 and Lincoln went from boyhood to the Presidency to death in 3.5 hours.

GabbyPA 2013-08-01 07:31:41 -0500 Report

LOL,,, yes I had the same reaction to her "diabetic episode" That is why I found it incredibly confusing. If she had been without it for a while, I could see a high being the trouble and so on, but you are right...TeeVee is just that. Entertainment, But it does kind of suck when they mess it up so much.

The daughter is not diabetic, her seizures are due to the dome. So there, they can do whatever they want.

Actually, One Second After was a HUGE eye opener for me. I cried the whole last 3 chapters. And it brought to light this very same situation. It is scary, but you would think there might be something in our "progress" that helps us deal with it? Making an insulin that doesn't require refrigeration would be a huge plus.