July 30, 2007

It is not a good idea to store your insulin in a Kenner Easy Bake oven.

It is not a good idea to store your insulin in a Kenner Easy Bake oven. If you do, keep some in a Frio pack too. Like Underdog, the Frio will save the day.

Even I am not stupid enough to intentionally store insulin in a hot place. It is amazing what you can do without intending it.

We love our Vacation Club (Disney speak for Time Share) Villa at Disney. So after the Friends For Life convention we headed over for some real Disney.

The Villas have lots of space, our own washer dryer so we can pack light, full size kitchen with a full size fridge so we can keep drinks, milk for breakfast and of course the backup insulin cool.

We travel with redundant diabetes supplies. Two bag each with enough stuff for the trip. That way if we were to misplace one, we have enough stuff to get by. Laugh if you want, we found on one trip we had two diabetic kids not just one and the extra meter, lancets and needles came in handy.

When we check, in all that redundant insulin gets put in the refrigerator. Most is in not expected to be used. To be honest Florida in the summer is hotter than the surface of the sun, so cool is good. I left a Frio pack with a half full bottle and a pen on the counter.

No, a Frio isn’t an empty Frito’s bag. It’s a clever little cooling pouch. We were given one checking to the CWD conference a few days earlier. One night I played with it and on park day I a stuck a half a bottle and a pen in the pouch.

Well it is really two pouches, one inside the other. The inside bag is made like a mini down jacket with quilted compartments. But instead of feathers its compartments have some water absorbing material in them. You know how disposable diapers swell up and hold “moisture?” Same general idea with the Frio but you use fresh water.

The water evaporates slowly over a few days. Evaporation is a cooling process. This keeps the little ski parka like pouch cool inside. The second, outside, pouch lets air through to facilitate evaporation and protects the ski parka like pouch inside, as well as, I think, keeping the moisture inside from getting stuff outside damp.
Sorry I digress, where was I?

Oh yes. Disney. The conference was over and we had moved to our Vacation Club Villa. We had a few gallons of milk and tons of water delivered and put it in the fridge. Milk up top, insulin in a bag on the top shelf of the door and water down low.
Few hours later, it didn’t seem to be cooling off. We called maintenance.

The guy said it was just too much stuff and it would cool off over night. Hmm don’t ever remember that before but OK. The next morning the milk was oddly not cool
The next evening, upon further investigation we found there was a strange glow along the seals of the fridge door. The light didn’t go off when the door closed. The lower hinge bracket was bent down and the door hung about an eighth of an inch too low to hit the little flapper switch that turns the light off.

Why did we do further investigations? Well the milk was so far from cool it had curdled.

What we had was a glorified toy oven. The heat from the light was countering the cool from the compressor. Heat rises. The milk was at the top, nearest the light already and it cooked.

The insulin was on the same level as the milk. How warm did it get? It may have been OK. It may have cooked. Delaney had changed a set that morning and ran high all day. Could be a bad set insertion, could have been excitement, and could be bad insulin.

Fortunately there was that Frio on the counter with insulin we knew hadn’t been cooked.

The next day, to their great credit, Disney refunded the cost of the curdled milk and without blinking all the insulin in the fridge.

If you didn’t go to the CWD conference and get a free Frio, look them up online and buy one. It can save the day.


  1. I have never heard of this frio bag. My son has been t1 since he is 2. He is now 12. We are planning another trip to Orlando in July. This may come in handy! (Although we have been very lucky to have never had a major issue during our trips)