Saturday, July 11, 2020

Up In Smoke

Up In Smoke...NOT the Cheech and Chong style. 

July 11, 2020

Holy cow!  I can't believe I haven't posted in over a year!  Time flies when you're having fun...I guess.
Frankly, working on a doctorate, working full-time, living in crazy pandemic times, and managing diabetes for two teenage boys leaves little time for extras.

Recently, we had a "household event" occur, and it got me thinking about the impact of Diabetes on our lives, even in states of crisis or emergency.

Two weeks ago, I lie in bed, contemplating my day as I cuddled my new grandson.  My husband was already awake and bustling about the house.  It smelled like he was using the self-clean feature on the oven again, and I couldn't figure out why he was doing that again since he'd done it the night before as he "seasoned" his mother's cast iron skillet. Before I could think too much about it, the smoke detectors alarmed.  I turned my head to look out my cracked bedroom door to see an orange glow coming down the hallway.  I sprang out of bed and noticed part of our kitchen completely engulfed in flames, from the stove top to the microwave and cabinets above.  I yelled for my husband (who was in our restroom), ran for the phone to call 9-1-1, and grabbed a diaper for the baby.  Jerry quickly let the dogs out while I ran to the bedroom, on the phone, and grabbed the baby.  Jerry yelled for our older son to evacuate out the front door, while we exited through the garage.  Upon exiting, Jerry realized the guinea pigs were still in the house, so I bolted under the layer of smoke to rescue our piggies.  (No time for judgment; just stating what happened).  We all stood in the front yard, waiting for the fire department, with messy hair wearing nothing but pajamas.

What had happened was... :  He wasn't using the self-clean feature on the stove.  He was heating oil in that cast iron skillet to "season" it.  He walked away to use the restroom, and for some reason, it ignited.  It only took a couple of minutes to do so much damage. 

I've sworn my whole life to NOT sleep naked with the rationale, "If a fire broke out, then I don't want to have to stop and get dressed.  I want to be able to run and at least have the clothes on my back!"  My husband is convinced I died in a house fire in a past life; I'm convinced he choked to death. I digress.   We all have our hauntings. I'd also always sworn that the first thing I'd grab in a house fire, once everyone was safe, were my pictures.

Diabetes changed that. Fortunately, my diabetic sons were not home at the time as they had spent the night with their grandmother and had a few days' worth of supplies with them. A smattering of supplies are housed in a kitchen cabinet, and more are housed in the adjoining dining room. The insulin is kept in an exterior refrigerator remote from the fire.  So, with everyone (and the dogs and piggies safe), my next thought was immediately towards those Diabetes supplies. I wanted to run in so bad and salvage the thousands of dollars worth of supplies, however I knew those were replaceable and that wasn't logical. How was I going to rapidly replace pumps, continuous glucose monitors, glucagon, all the little extras that make Diabetes life easier?  What hassle would it be for insurance to cover "duplicate" supplies?  How long would it all take?  How can I keep my boys alive and healthy in the meantime? It truly only takes 2-3 hours without insulin for their sugars to catapult into dangerously high levels.  

Next, I thought of the pictures and my laptop (with tons of pictures and doctoral work saved on it).  I fretted about the memorabilia I have displayed and stored in "The Bon Jovi room". The rest, in the grand scheme, was trivial.  It was a very hopeless and helpless feeling to stand outside, braless, not knowing the extent of the damage that was occurring inside. 

Fortunately, by the time the fire department arrived and took what felt like forever to gear up and go inside, the fire had self-contained and burned itself out.  However, the smoke damage permeated the entire house. In the grand scheme, we are incredibly blessed.  First, everyone is safe.  Second, all the diabetes supplies and insulin were safe. I had to wipe off the boxes but since all were sealed, all was ok. The smoke damage to the bedrooms was minimal, thus the Bon Jovi room was safe.

Due to the kitchen damage and smoke damage, we're displaced as our home is thoroughly cleaned and repaired.  And, I count my blessings.  Our boys, our grandbaby, our animals... we're all safe.  The rest is just a hassle!

Lesson:  Get a fire extinguisher.  Don't walk away from a pan on the stove, even for just a minute.

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