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On the Eve of Camp


The piles of folded clothes that covered the dining room table are packed tightly into Joseph's large blue duffel-- along with sunscreen, bug spray, goggles, sneakers, flip flops...

Everything my boy will need for a week at camp.

And next to that duffel is a medium-sized black suitcase packed neatly with dresses, shirts, skirts and "skorts" -- along with no less than six "buddies" from Evan's vast collection of stuffed creatures. Everything she'll need for "Gramma" camp.

Yep, they're both ready.

It's not that late -- only quarter til nine -- but I'm beat. So much traveling lately, and Joseph's baseball games, and work...

I just want to sit down and breathe.

"Kids, why don't you get ready for bed? It's gonna be a long drive tomorrow and we all have to get up early."

Joseph and Evan head upstairs to change, chatting away about what they'll be doing "this time tomorrow."

That's when the phone rings.

I don't recognize the number on caller id and there's no name, so I decide not to answer it. But then, since I'm standing right there I pick it up anyway.

"Hello-- Sandy?" a woman's voice says on the other end.

"Yes... " I say, fully expecting a telemarketer-- who else would call me "Sandy"?

"I'm the program director at Joseph's diabetes camp."

My stomach drops.

And, I'm confused, because this isn't N-- the program director who has been running the camp since before Joseph started going.


"We were looking over Joseph's camp forms and saw that you requested his blood glucose be checked at midnight and 2am... I wanted to clarify our protocol for putting children on the night rounds. We only check those children whose blood glucose is 80 or less before bed time."

"What? Hold on, this isn't what was done last year. I included a letter from Joseph's diabetes physician, it explains why he needs to be checked- "

"Yes, we saw the letter. That's why we're calling. With so many children coming to camp, we can't possibly do anything outside of our protocol."

I start to shake.

This can't be happening. Not the night before.

"But I spoke with the camp doctor last year. Joseph was checked every night... wait, your calling me on a Saturday night -- the NIGHT before camp -- to tell me this! This is insane!"

"I'm sorry, but- "

"I need to speak with the camp doctor."

"All right, I'll go get him."

For two long minutes, I wait-- the phone pressed so hard against my ear it hurts.

When the camp doc finally comes to the phone, he repeats almost verbatim what the program director just said.

"I don't understand-- you agreed last year. He was checked- "

"No, I think you must be mistaken. I probably had him checked the first night, but then we followed our protocol."

"But I have the logs- he was checked!" Suddenly I'm wishing I could find the logs right now, but I can't even think straight. "You met with me in his cabin. You agreed- "

"I'm sorry, but it sounds like your son might be too fragile for camp."

"What?! He is not fragile-- not at all! What are you talking about?"

"The letter from his physician states that he has 'a history of extreme glucose fluctuations overnight' and 'unexpected overnight hypoglycemia which must be detected to prevent seizure activity.'"

"But he's never had a seizure!"

"The letter asks that we treat glucoses less than 100 at midnight and 2am. I'm afraid that isn't our protocol."

"Are you saying that you don't want my son to come to camp because of something he can't help? That even though you have people doing night rounds anyway, you won't let them check my son? And you're telling me this the NIGHT BEFORE camp?"

Then, through tears I tell him what this camp means to Joseph and plead with him to reconsider-- reminding him several times that this wasn't a problem last year.

"If you can agree to follow our protocol, then there won't be a problem."

There's nothing I can do-- not this late! He has to go...

"All right," I say, wanting to fight -- but knowing that if I do, they might not let him come.

"We'll pull back his basal rates, insulin-to-carb ratios and his sensitivity factor even further. We'll make it work," I say, half to myself, as a new plan begins formulating in my brain.

Then, after nearly an hour on the phone, I hang up-- feeling more drained than I have in a very long time.

Moments later I'm leaning back against the kitchen counter, explaining everything to Ryan. "Joseph needs to know about this," I say, torn -- because camp is a place where my son has always felt safe. I don't want to take that away from him.

But he has to know.

"Bud," I say, sitting down with him on the couch, "when you go to camp, they may not check you overnight."

"What do you mean?" he asks looking confused.

"Only if your sugar is 80 or less before bed."

"But that's stupid! What if I have insulin on board and I'm falling fast?"

"Listen, we're pulling everything back. Basals, insulin-to-carb ratios... and you'll eat a snack before bed with no bolus, all right? We need to be careful about stacking... "

I pause a moment to look at his face, to make sure he's with me.

He looks calm. Confident, even.

" ... now, you're probably gonna run high overnight, and will likely wake up on the high side as well, but it's just a week... Bud, I want you to have fun and not worry, okay?"

Suddenly, he takes hold of my shoulders and looks straight into my eyes.

"Mom, it's gonna be fine. We can do this."

So the next morning we bring my boy to diabetes camp for the fifth time.

to be continued...

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