Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Overnight Camp

Okay, so earlier this evening I took my 2 1/2 -yr old daughter Evan out to the School Forest where Joseph is camping overnight with his classmates, teachers, and several parent chaperones. Ryan is, of course, among the chaperones. Evan and I were to join all of these kids in the woods for dinner and a campfire. I was glad for the invitation, as this field trip had me more than a little nervous.

Earlier in the day, when Ryan called on his cell phone during their nature walk, he had said simply, "Joseph just tanked."

"What? "

"His sugar." He paused. "It just tanked."

I could tell he didn't want to give me a number. It's really hard for him. I do so much of the day-to-day. For him to have to manage this under such unusual circumstances was rough. It would have been hard for me.

"He was 54." Holy shit. In the middle of a forest.

Then Ryan said, "But he came back up pretty fast."


"I think we over treated."

"What do you mean?" I felt my jaw begin to clench, and that awful, familiar sensation in the pit of my stomach. Like I'm riding a rollercoaster. Or just about to.

"Well, he was 266 about a half hour later."


"Yeah. I gave him three glucose tablets. Then a cup of Chex Mix."

Way too much Chex Mix. But man, this is so hard.

"It's all right. He'll be traipsing around in the woods all afternoon," I said, trying to keep myself from worrying too much about these fluctuations.

Sure enough, an hour after this high, and for the rest of the afternoon, his blood sugar stayed between 95 and 150-- until I arrived at dinnertime, that is. You see, his teacher took me aside as I walked into the campsite and told me that about a half hour earlier she had noticed Joseph eating potato chips.

A lot of potato chips.

When I asked her if she saw him bolus, she said "No, I didn't see him take out his pump at all."

I found Ryan shortly after this chat, and asked him about the chips. He said he hadn't seen him eating them, but he did see him eating M&Ms -- for which he didn't have Joseph bolus, since he was 95 at that time (an hour earlier).

So Joseph walks up-- and he is totally busted. Though, I don't get too heavy-handed with him-- despite the fact that he's now 234. I just remind him that he's got to bolus if he's gonna eat these things. It's fine to have treats, just cover them with insulin. To his credit, Joseph explains to me that because he was running around so much, he thought the snacks would be covered by the increased exercise. "Mom, I was really active," he told me. And, although it scares me to think that he just ate that stuff without bolusing -- how dangerous that could be -- I couldn't help but feel reassured by the fact that his reasoning was sound. Hell, the kid probably felt miserable when he was 54, and didn't want to risk going there again.

Before dinner Joseph gives himself a correction, and then boluses for his food. While sitting next to him at our picnic table, I begin to take in the surroundings for the first time since my arrival. Just beyond the picnic tables is a large, open, grassy field that seems to sit on a plateau. This is where the kids play ball, frisbee, tag. It's perfect. The field is flanked by 4 rustic cabins. And just behind the cabins, encircling the entire campsite, lies a thick, heavily-wooded forest that slopes steeply downward-- and then goes on for miles.
Pretty damn cool.

With the main course done, everyone heads to the other side of the field -- to the camp fire -- where marshmallows will be roasted, and S'mores devoured. That feeling in my stomach, you know, the one I mentioned earlier. Well, here we go again.

Joseph is way ahead of us. And before I can figure out the carbs for all of the components of a S'more, he's running back shouting "Mom, I know the carbs! It's six for the marshmallow, 11 for the chocolate [they were a bit stingy with the Hershey's], and 11 for the graham cracker." He's right.

Joseph runs back to the fire, triumphantly grabs a stick, firmly plants a marshmallow on the end of it, and joins his buddies around the fire. He's beaming.

And so am I.


Violet said...

Good for you for taking the ups and downs with such grace. It sounds as though the letting go is so hard, as i can imagine it must be: letting Joseph run around with other kids even though you know it will be hard on his BGs, letting his dad handle the management even though you know he lacks the experience you've acquired (honestly, that would be hardest for me, to not micromanage those decisions, but so crucial to pull back and let Dad be Dad). But you did. Also sounds like Joseph has learned SO much about how to take care of himself, which is magnificent. He's gonna be fine.

Jay said...

I'm impressed that he was pro-active on adjusting for his activity level. I fight with that all the time when I go to the gym. Different workouts effect my sugar differently, plus with a pump there are so many ways to adjust for it, you can lower your basel rate, you can take the pump off, you can eat a little, you can change your pre-workout meal bolus, etc. Over-correcting is still a problem for me, especially when I am low. My natural instinct is to eat till my sugar level comes up. That's usually 10-15 minutes. That can be a lot of eating. I can swing 250 points of sugar in that time. only eating 20g of carbs is tough when you are at 50....He's doing great. You should be very proud.

Kerri. said...

You really should be proud. Of Joseph and of yourself.