Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ramp

"Joe, pull Dexter outta your pouch and eat your bunnies!"

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.


Joanne said...

If anyone can do this Reyna, it's you and Joe. That phone call would have scared the crap outta me! I can't wait to hear how it goes.

Amy@Diapeepees said...

It's one thing to send you kid off to school, a totally different thing to send him to a exercise- intense camp...can be even challenging for the pros to handle diabetes like that. Hope you have a pair of hockey skates that fit! Good Luck!

Penny said...

Oh honey, you CAN do this! You WILL do this. So you slide down the ramp, you get down anyway you need to! I believe in you and Joe to get through this!

Sysy said...

Roselady said it, and I agree, it would be challenging on the pros to do this. I went biking a few years ago, something outside of my normal routine. I dropped lantus by a good bit and was still low the entire time because of the 26 miles on bike. It's so hard to plan for. This post is AMAZING by the way. Your plan looks very good. Oh and Joe is compromising with you already! That is the highlight of this post for me :)

Wendy said...

I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!

I love your plan. LOVE. IT. TracFone could become my new BFF. Thanks for that tip.

I just know Joe is going to do AWESOME! And his Mama too.

This takes major balls, woman. If anyone has them, you do!!!!!

sky0138 said...

Perfect analogy! You will make it down that ramp Reyna! You can do it! Nothing wrong with sliding down on your bum before finding your way and really flying down. You have all the bases covered and I would do exactly what you are doing. Will be thinking of you guys and I hope that not only all goes well, but that Joe has a blast. I will be standing on the sidelines of this ramp cheering you guys on!!

Cindy said...

Oh my! I think the curse isn't nearly strong enough for the response you got. Scary stuff! I think I'd be tempted to pick up a pair of skates and skate along with Joe if I were you! Joe is an awesome kid though, Reyna, and he seems to be pretty responsible and aware with his diabetes. I know it's terrifying to let go even the littlest bit, but he just might surprise you!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Sounds like a plan. My biggest worry would also be that breakfast bolus. Bolus+exertion=inevitable low for Caleb. I think you've got it covered.

Don't forget the liquid breakfast on Monday too! Cheers!

Meagan said...

I love that Joe is negotiating his basal reduction with you!!! Way to compromise! :D

I hope all goes smoothly with camp. The phone, the cheat sheet for the coach and the reduced basal sound like great action plans. Hope he has a blast!!!

P.S. I enjoyed the way you spelled the "F" word in a "less offensive way"...Lol! You should totally trademark it. :)

Diane D said...

You and Joe are going to do this. If anyone can do it, it is you! And if you get there and you or Joe don't feel safe just know you aren't ready for that ramp yet.

Becky V said...

Your plan is sound. Checking in plan for the first day is good and then adjust from there. It is just like everything else with diabetes - scares the crap out of you at first, then you follow your plan, see the data, and go from there. (Like coming home after dx.)

Only thing I like to add if people are new to D care is that if John would ever faint or be non responsive - Call 911 FIRST. Then call me or do glucagon. I know that is a scary part to talk about, but needs to be covered.

He will do great and so will you Reyna, you already are!

WendyP said...

Holy crap. Josh wanted to do THEATER camp and I bailed. You are very brave. Scratch that. I don't think it's really about you being brave. It's just about you doing what you have to do. If you had a choice you'd have him home wrapped up in a blanket on your couch in bubble wrap. But what fun would that be? I know you can make it work. Good luck!

Emily B said...

You'll both do great! Camden has a backpack much like your woodchuck. I always tell the adult that if Camden & that backpack are apart, GET THEM TOGETHER. That's my strongest point. Camden knows what to do with the stuff in the bag, but could be lost if he couldn't find it.
It sounds like at the end of the week this will have been a totally freeing experience for both of you. Good for you giving him the opportunity!

shannon said...

you. can. do. this. your plan is comprehensive. you are giving him wings. tremendous.

Amy said...

I think you take 'balls to the walls' to a new level. Both you and Joe.

I love the ramp analogy for you, my friend. It is hard and it sucks to ket the reigns out a bit. Especially when you don't exactly know who you are handing them over to.

If you need a drinking buddy, give me a call and we can skype and sip at the same time ;)

Colleen said...

You CAN do this!
Joe WILL do this!

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

The spelling was absolutely perfect...sounded just the way it should be said when there's extreme exasperation behind it!
Love the ramp analogy...fits perfectly. Just as Joe has gained confidence to try the higher ramps, so each day (or hour!) of camp will bring confidence to you.
Looking forward to fabulous reports! :)

Hallie Addington said...

WOW! I am so proud of you for doing this! I know you're scared. But you guys are going to ROCK IT! Now go have some wine...

Alexis Nicole said...

You're my hero. Joe too. That's it.

I know if anyone can handle this...and do it well..its YOU.

Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Reyna, you can do it!!!!

Leigh said...

You guys really are going to ROCK IT! It totally sounds like you have it under control! But that is so frustrating! Aiden just started back to preschool some full days and an afternoon fill in who had allegedly been "trained" to watch him (not by me!!) Told me that he had told her that he wasn't feeling well and that he had been kind of draggy. "But I checked his pulse and it was fine!" Well, FFS! Then he freakin' must be fine! Seriously!?! :(

Leigh said...

Hey girl! Holly has her trip map on her sidebar and it looks like she is oh so close to Vermont!! I am sooo needing to hide in her suitcase! It would be so fun to meet you!! i hope it works out that you can!

Tracy1918 said...

Reyna....I admire you so much. You always say that diabetes doesn't stop Joe--he's thriving.

I could say the very same thing about you!

You're thinking it through. You have a great plan.

I think you both ROCK!

Sarah said...

somehow it will all work out, I just know it, and to me you sound cool as a cucumber - great planning, great gearing up - it's going to be awesome!

Anne said...

I have done hockey camps like this with Jeff. It's tough, put on your boots Mama! I never left the rink for the whole week. I followed him from inside to out, to locker room for lunch, and hanging over the boards yelling for the Coach to send him over to me. The coach running the camp had some high school kids helping him out, and they each had a tube of glucose tablets in their pockets. Everyone was helpful, and Jeff had a great week. We are doing the Bruins Camp this year! This will be Jeffs 4th year doing a Hockey camp. You can do it! It will be great and he will have a fabulous time. Just watch him close, especially at night when he gets home, he will be so tired, and the lag can be intense. You will do great!

Holly said...

Sweet Reyna. I remember my first snow skiing trip. I took ski school, skied the "bowl", then my boyfriend put me on the lift, and up we went. I was scared to death. At the first stop (or NOT as I had no idea!), he jumped off. I FREAKED-if I didn't get off then, I'd be ALONE on the next one. I just bailed-past the ski-away and fell from the lift-but I didn't break my leg (tiny yay!). I know how you feel-I feel it everytime I let Mary Claire go somewhere new-girl scout camp-ALL Day! I give her a phone, and we talk all day. It at least makes ME feel better! : ) ANd that is totally what counts. ; ) If you keep going up there, try to watch secretly, then call him and ask if he's checked himself lately. Does he think he can handle it? Could I just write a book? ; ) Love you, I'm thinking of you!!!! Ps-I am totally coming up to NJ-how far are you??