I wonder if I sounded a bit "nerdy" to the teenage boarders and skaters and bikers? Joe took his bike, his Rollerblades, and his skateboard to our local Skate Park yesterday. He consumed about 45 grams of free-carbs just to keep his blood glucose in the 70s and 80s.
The ramps and jumps are a bit intimidating at this particular park. Joe flirts with them a bit as he rides and rolls over the lower portion of the ramps. He is slowly creeping higher and higher up the inclines. His confidence wanes when he is on ramps that are over 5 feet. He rides and skates up them without hesitation. It is the going down that seems to make him stop and take pause.
I was encouraged by his reserved caution, as I looked up and watched him struggle with going down a rather high ramp while he sat at the peak perched on his bike. I could see the desire, the want, of conquering the fear of going down. The internal pull of his fear was visible. The older boys were encouraging to him. I stood back and watched the conflict conveyed through his eyes, his face, and his body. After many minutes, Joe decided he wasn't ready. He slid down the ramp while supporting his bike. He did not seem disappointed in himself. He simply stated "I am just not ready for that ramp".
Which brings me to my post...
A staff member from the Tim Thomas Hockey Camp called me yesterday afternoon. The connection was static-y, which in part, added to my feeling of isolation as I tried briefly to explain Joe's situation with camp, Type 1, lows, exercise.
I started out with a "thank you" for calling me back...blah, blah, blah..."My son Joe is in your camp next week in Vermont ... blah" ... "He has Type 1 Diabetes...insulin pump...blah...blah...blahbitty"... "Do you have a trainer that travels with your staff?"
Static-y...wind-ily...connected staff member responds with "well we do have someone that is CPR certified."
How do I even go into anything about anything with this guy over the phone?
I found out that they divide up the campers by age and ability. The groups will consist of about 15 kids. A coach will be assigned to stay with the group throughout the day as the campers go through different stations. They will be on the ice for 3 hours and then they will be off the ice for 3 hours for outside play, hockey videos, lunch...etc. Joe's schedule will not be known to me until I drop him off Monday morning.
Upon conclusion of the phone call, the pleasant staff member did say that I could give Joe's coach my cell phone number when I drop Joe off on Monday. I almost choked on my spittle at that point, thinking "you bet your bippy he is gonna have my cell phone number and a crash course on lows."
Explaining to the general public that a low blood sugar is something that must be dealt with immediately is complicated. It is difficult to convey that Joe may become a bit "off", confused, or be totally "normal" with a dropping glucose level. The lows can come on suddenly and they must be tended to...and Joe may not be in his right mind to help himself in this situation as the only fuel source for brain cells is glucose. The lows are one thing. Then add in what must go into eating: the blood sugar check, the carb counting, the bolusing, the "he must eat everything" ... and ... the compensation of insulin doses for activity, well, it is too much to communicate in an abbreviated manner for a week long camp.
I am looking down the "ramp" much like Joe was yesterday.
Am I ready?
Here is what I have come up with:
- Joe and I talked about a basal reduction for the day of 35% (I said 30%, he said 40%, and then he compromised with 35% ~ fine).
- I tweaked the Play Date Cheat Sheet for camp, keeping it simple...1 page.
- I will briefly go over the Camp Day Cheat Sheet and emphasize the importance of treating a low blood sugar with Joe's coach. I will have my cell phone number highlighted at the bottom of the Cheat Sheet.
- I will have Joe carry Woodchuck everywhere with him. It houses his glucometer and sugar sources.
- I am going to only partially bolus for breakfast. My biggest concern is Joe skating with breakfast IOB circulating. He will drop over a 100 points in 30 minutes with breakfast IOB lurking in his system. I can always correct a high before I leave him if need be.
- I will pack separate bags for snacks and lunch. Each bag will contain a carb count to make it simple for Joe to bolus.
- Buying TracFone today or tomorrow so that Joe can "practice" calling me over the weekend.
- I think I will go in every hour or hour and a half on the first day and go from there.
I wanna make it down the ramp. I wanna have the courage to push off and go. However, I think I may need to slide down the "ramp" on my butt.
A day-in-the-life of a glimpse of what it takes to send Type 1 to camp or anywhere really. It takes courage.