Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Camper

The short short summary: Camp was great and I fully expect we'll go back next year.

The short summary: Despite some minor hardships and mishaps, we had a lot of fun. Penny made new friends, tried new activities (and did quite well), and spent two days running and screaming and giggling and bouncing with excitement, and was quite disappointed when we had to come home Sunday morning. She's already begging to call and write to her "diabetes friends". For my part, it was nice to hang out with other diabetes caregivers and swap stories and frustrations and tricks and triumphs, and it was wonderful to watch Penny's enthusiasm. Lessons learned: next year, I'll take Penny out of school about an hour early, because we ran into traffic and barely made it in time for dinner; and I'll also plan to take the Monday after off from work, because I am flat-out exhausted today. To the point that I'm feeling vertiginous and dizzy (which is making me also feel slightly nauseous).

High points of the weekend include:

Penny's been wanting to try fishing for over a year, but this was her first attempt. She managed to catch the biggest fish of our three-cabin (about 15 kid) grouping -- a catfish nearly as long as her forearm. She was kind of ticked when she found out we had to throw all the fish back in the pond instead of eating them for lunch.

Penny waffled a lot on whether she wanted to try this. At first she was excited, and then when she saw the wall, she was disappointed it wasn't made of real rock. And then she was a little frightened by its sheer size. But I talked her into it, and the instructor stood with her and helped her place her feet (but didn't hold her up at all) and suddenly she'd made it up over his head. It was her first attempt at anything like this, and I was unbelievably proud of her.

Despite the fact that the kids didn't really talk about their diabetes with each other much at all (other than to compare pump colors and cool bags) they seemed to really get a lot out of being together and knowing that they weren't alone with this condition. Every time we turned around, someone was testing blood sugar or getting a hit of insulin or having a "low" snack. All the parents were counting carbs and doing calculations and weighing options. And it was all very... normal. Because everyone was doing it, but it wasn't the focus of anything. The focus was on canoeing and pony rides and fishing and crafts and trying to practice skits while keeping them a secret. (The teenagers re-wrote the lyrics to Cee Lo Green's "F*ck You" so that it was about diabetes: "I see you drivin' round town / with your blood sugar down / and that's / not cool!" It was awesome.)

It was a family diabetes camp, so there were families all around, and it was relaxing to know that everyone there had at least some idea of what was going on. No one was going to offer my child a snack without asking her to check her blood sugar first -- but everyone was keeping an eye on everyone else's kids for signs of lows... But aside from a couple of parent support group sessions, diabetes wasn't the point. The point was to have fun and make friends. Mission accomplished.

The "Cow Poke" girls are already looking forward to next year!

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