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Tension, Twizzlers, Trips, Tape and Timing

May 11, 2011
Diabetes Bloopers: You probably realize that things can (and will) go wrong.  But sometimes the things that go wrong aren’t stressful – instead sometimes they are downright funny!  Go ahead and share your Diabetes Bloopers!
This blooper is about working as a camp counselor at family camp.  First of all, families who have been to family camp: let me tell you this.  Family Camp is amazing.  But they put it at the end of the summer, when we’ve been working with other children all summer.  We’re tired, and we’re exhausted, and most of the time getting ready to go back to college and wondering about parties with our friends.  We’re learning from you, but we’re also trying to teach you, even if you’re not receptive to it.  As a kid, I never did family camp (I don’t think it was an option).  But, I was a kid, and now I’m a successful adult.  I am proof that while you should worry a little, it doesn’t need to consume you.
At GCC, families stay in the cabins, and the CWD are often on the top bunks.  It’s also the only time of year I had boys in my cabin (not to mention you dads).  We have to be “properly dressed” at all times and we need to be aware at all times, and we need to follow our protocol at all times, even/especially if it is different from what you are used to at home.  I was on duty during one of the night checks, meaning I’m awake from about 12-4.  And if I didn’t nap before, I’ve been up all day.  I tested one little boy, and he was low.  I gave him his juice and then in 15 minutes I went back to test again.  At this point he was okay.  So now he needs to have PB crackers.  He was crying  because he doesn’t like peanut butter.  But at the end of the summer, we don’t have other food options, we’re running on what’s left.  After 5-10 minutes (I had to wake up other counselors to test the other children), he still has not eaten anything.  And then I hear “I’m allergic, I can’t eat that.”  I know that he’s not, because I don’t have any PB allergies in my cabin.  So I tell him that I know he doesn’t like it, but I know you’re not allergic, because I would know.  One of his parents was awake, which was awkward enough, but they weren’t interfering (thank you thank you thank you!)  Finally, the child ate the PB crackers, and that took about another 15 minutes.  (At most, we like this to take 5 minutes.)  Since this midnight check took so long, and I only have a few days left with my friends, we decide to stay up talking.  Keep in mind we’re in the staff section of the cabin, with notes from the guys, pictures from Cosmo, and tampons all on the counter.  And all of a sudden the father of said PB child comes flying through the curtain.  With his child.  And the child has red blotches all over his body.  I get one of my co-counselors to go get the nurse on call, and guess what, PB child is in fact allergic.  It was not life-threatening.  But the child hated PB so much that they never forced him to eat it.  And here I come along and “discover” this.  He was given Benadryl and he was fine.  But that took about another hour (I’m not exaggerating).  This was hard, embarassing, and life-learning.  When I went back on duty at noon, I sought out those parents to see how this child was doing; I apologized for causing this to be found out, and I asked how he was doing.  Unless you knew what had happened the night before, it was not clear which child this happened to.  THAT is what I call success.
If by some chance you are those parents, thank you for being you.  You were kind, non-judgemental and understanding.  Not all of the family camp parents would have been that way.  I am sorry though.  I hated every minute of trying to get your child to eat the PB, but it was just my job.  And I’m sorry of the outcome.  Now when children tell me they are allergic to something, it strikes a nerve in me and I make sure that whatever that is is nowhere near them.  And then I find proof later.

Now I have my funny bloopers!  I’m going to start off with a story of my mother’s.  Mom stayed home with me when I was a kid, and then when I was school aged became a substitute teacher.  She would generally be in the same school that I was in at the time.  When I was in middle school, there was a day she was the in-school-suspension teacher.  And as she was watching these kids, one of the boys (scary eighth grader!) pulled out a packet of Twizzlers.  Being in suspension, these kids weren’t allowed to have anything really.  So my mom went over to take it away.  “I need this, I have diabetes.”  Instead of the “no you don’t, the nurse didn’t tell me” route, mom took a better one.  “Oh, what was your reading?  Can you show me on your meter?  What insulins do you use?”  From what I understand, the kid sat there dumbfounded, his friends snickered at him, and the Twizzlers ended up in the trash.

As a kid, my mom went on every field trip.  Whether because I was shy, had diabetes, or she stayed at home with me, I don’t know the reason.  But I always loved having her there.  The first field trip she didn’t go on was when I went to Florida in sixth grade.  There were about 10-15 of us who went.  And it was the first field trip my mother did not go on.  One of my best friends was there, and her mother was one of the chaperones, along with the Principle of the school.  Clearly I was going to be well taken care of.  We got to go to a bunch of different Disney parks, and got to go behind the scenes to see how different things were made/produced, etc.  (If I could remember, I’d share those details with you.)  For some reason, it was decided that while in the hotel, my diabetes supplies would go in the safe.  And me and my friends mom would know the combination or have the key or however it was that it opened.  And as a kid, we had a poke bag.  It was always stocked and you picked it up and went.  When it was time to head back to the airport, I picked up all my things and went.  And as I was sitting on the airplane about ready to eat my lunch, I went to get my meter and couldn’t find it anywhere.  I asked my friend.  Neither of us could find it.  Well that’s because it was still in the safe in the hotel room.  I ate my lunch, and I made it home safely and my meter arrived in the mail later that week.  But oh man, that mom was so nervous!

In Eighth Grade, the class took a trip to Washington D.C.  We got to see all the sights and yadda yadda yadda.  It was a rainy week and I didn’t quite enjoy myself, but not the point of the story.  One of the parent chaperones was a nurse, and so myself and the other CWD were in her group.  She would ask us what our BGs were in the morning, watch us take our shots, and make sure we were taking care of ourselves.  Every morning she would knock on the hotel door, come in, check my meter (or watch me test if I hadn’t gotten to that yet), and then make sure I took my shot.  Also, being in eighth grade, and being on a co-ed hotel floor, there was tape across every single door to make sure there was no silly buisness happening at night.  So after the nurse left our room, we walked out of the door.  Well, the teachers hadn’t checked the tape yet, and ours made a nice loud rip.  Put four thirteen year old girls in a room, who are goody-two shoes, and they’re the ones who rip the tape?  Shrieks filled our room with thoughts of “what are we going to do?”  The goody-two shoes bit helped us, and we frantically told the teachers what happened, and whether they believed us or checked with the nurse, we were not in trouble.  But our stress level for that day certainly started higher than anticipated.

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but Independence Day is a big deal for me. 😛  So one year when I was in college, I had some of my friends join me at my aunt and uncle’s lake house for the festivities and then on to Six Flags the next day.  This included swimming, tubing and water skiing.  I’ve been water skiing since I was nine, and I love it every single time.  I’m very unassuming, and one of my friends was really impressed.  Because, real life people don’t water ski, that’s just far-away people.  And as I climbed out of the water “Hey, I thought you were supposed to take that off in the water.”  And I tried to play it cool since all the adults were there, but inside I was FREAKING OUT!  I dis-connected, dried it off as best I could, and went on with the rest of my day.  And the day after that, and the day after that, etc.  Until a few weeks later when I was working as a counselor at Camp Carefree and it died on me.  Boo Lantus.  And everyone said “what a horrible time to lose your pump!”  And I said, are you crazy?  I’m surrounded by diabetes experts everywhere I turn.  There is no BETTER place for a pump to die! (Besides, getting it to the camp in the middle of nowhere).

And This. 

Thank you to Karen for hosting the 2nd DBlog Week!
If you want to see others’ bloopers, go here

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2011 4:24 PM

    Wow for the PB story. Great post I love reading your stories

  2. May 12, 2011 1:10 AM

    Camp sounds so fun! I wish I could have gone! I have gotten my pump wet before too and thankfully it was fine!

  3. May 12, 2011 5:56 PM

    My school took an 8th grade trip to DC too, and we had the same tape on the doors 😀

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