Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let's Not Forget Diabetes Camp

Taking a seat in the common room, opposite Joseph's cabin nurse -- a woman with wavy brown hair who looks to be about my age -- I'm not nervous at all.

Determined, is more like it.

We start out talking about basal rates and insulin-to-carb ratios; corrections and the timing of set changes.

And then, I take a deep breath.

"Now, I'm sure you're aware that Joseph needs to be checked at both midnight and 2am. I spoke with the camp director about this a couple of months ago. Also, Joseph's endocrinologist sent a letter outlining the reasons why he needs to be checked... "

Her head tilts to one side; her mouth opens slightly.

And then-- a look of confusion.

"Did you see the letter from his doctor?" I ask.

"No, I didn't... but we can see how he's doing," she says with a pleasant smile, "I'm sure the camp doctor will be able to- "

"I'm afraid that's not gonna work-- you see, each of the last three years
I was assured that Joseph would be checked. And each year that hasn't happened. When I asked about this last year, I was told that the camp doctor overrode my son's doctor's orders because Joseph's blood sugars were 'in range' before he went to bed."

"Well, that's a good indication of- "

"No, I'm afraid it's not. At Joseph's last office visit his endocrinologist said specifically that if Joseph isn't checked overnight at camp he will have a seizure."

"I'm sure he would wake up- "

"Two nights ago, my son went to bed with an 'in-range' BG-- four hours later he was 52. We fed him glucose tablets and a snack-- he slept through it all."

"Oh... well that's... unusual. But I'm sure it's something he'll outgrow-- I mean once he's through puberty."

"I hope you're right-- but in the meantime, he needs to be checked."

An awkward silence, and then...

"Maybe you should speak with the camp doctor about this."

"I would absolutely love to speak with the camp doctor."

Minutes later, the endocrinologist responsible for the camp steps into the cabin. And before I can say anything, he tells me that the camp director spoke with him about Joseph earlier this morning.

"That's great," I say. And then I proceed to reiterate exactly why Joseph needs these overnight checks.

"We can certainly check him." he says. "A lot of parents make this request and it's just not necessary."


"Can you tell me-- did you receive a letter from Joseph's doctor?" I ask him.

"No, I don't recall seeing one."


"But testing his blood sugar shouldn't be a problem," the doc continues, "our people will be doing rounds at midnight and 2am anyway."

And with those words -- finally -- I know that Joseph will be okay.

Before leaving the room, I shake the doctor's hand-- and thank him and the nurse for helping to keep our son safe, emphasizing how much coming to this camp means to him.

I then make my way down down the hall to the next room-- where Ryan stands watching Joseph unpack his duffel.

Already the kid is yuckin' it up with his counselor and some of the other boys-- every once in a while looking over at the door to see if Tommy has arrived.

"Well-- he's all set," I tell Ryan.

He turns and gives me a questioning look-- to which I respond with a smile and a nod.

"Hey Bud," I call out, "we're leaving-- is that all right?"

"Yeah, sure-- I'll see you Friday," he calls back without looking up.

But immediately after we leave the room, Joseph leaps out into the hallway and gives us both a huge hug.

"Thanks, Bud," I say.

"Mom, this year's gonna be great, I just know it," he says with a grin that slays me.

"Oh yes, I know it too."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting Caught Up

So yes, I really am back.


I'm just trying to figure out where to start.

You see, part of me feels that by writing about the present, I'm giving short shrift to the best summer we've had in years.

I never wrote about all the summer baseball-- or those 15 amazing days out east bonding with my siblings and their kids.

Or the swimming, fishing, and quirky fun we had in northern Wisconsin with friends.

I never even mentioned the wonderful (but way too short) visit from Zachary.

Soooo... in an effort to clear the deck, here's a three minute taste of what you missed:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gone So Long


I am so sorry to have left you all hanging-- we're here, and we're fine.

I think.

So much has happened since my last post, I don't quite know where to start.

I guess an explanation for the silence might be the best place.

Now, I could just say I haven't posted because we've been busy -- DANG busy -- with multiple trips out of town, beautiful weather, preparations for school...

All true.

But that's not the only thing that's kept me away.

Bottom line, I just couldn't bring myself to write.

And for a a while now, I didn't know why.

Until this morning -- after walking Evan to school (yes, you read that right-- Evan. To school.) -- I started thinking about the blog, and the word "fear" came to mind.


Because I haven't kept Joseph's blood sugars remotely stable all summer.

Because, as a result, his A1c jumped back up-- this time to its highest since diagnosis.


And finally, because I haven't had the strength to talk about it here.

It's ironic, really.

For despite a somewhat rocky start, this was probably the best summer we've had since Joseph's diagnosis: countless baseball games; trips to see family, friends; an amazing week of diabetes camp for Joseph, "Gramma" camp for Evan, and "Parent" camp for me and Ryan.

And through it all, Joseph grew. A lot.

(Criminy, he's almost as tall as me!)

But the fear, that all this fun was coming at a cost, also grew.

Don't get me wrong-- we didn't ignore the diabetes. No. We tried to get some semblance of control.

But it was impossible.

You see, it wasn't that we weren't logging, it was that so much changed so fast -- virtually day-to-day -- that we couldn't make sense of the data.

Well, summer's over.

Time to get back to work.

(And hopefully, back to the blog as well.)