Things got pretty heavy around here yesterday, and I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who read, responded to, emailed about, or retweeted that post. I don't think I realized how badly I needed to get that story "out" until today, when my steps and disposition were a bit lighter and brighter than normal.
The process of writing yesterday's post got me thinking about the two years I attended diabetes camp. I went to Camp Floyd Rogers in '93 and '94, and I don't think it's possible for me to overdo expressing how positive the experiences were for me, as a child with diabetes (also known as a "CWD"). It was one of the first times I had been surrounded by a bunch of people who "got it". It was also one of the few times as a child that I felt "normal" about all of the diabetes parts of my life.
I can remember us all trudging to the food hall, standing in line to have our blood tests, and then meeting with the staff endo to figure out our doses for the day. I can remember not having to worry about exchanges (this was in the dark ages, before carb counting), because they had it all figured out. You were assigned a calorie group, and what group you were in determined where you sat. Each table ate the same exact meal, and everyone knew what that meal would be as a result of a projector, transparency, and marker presentation before each meal. (Old school - no PowerPoint!)
I also remember eating cheese, bread and butter sandwiches in the middle of the night to treat lows. The camp counselors were tasked with checking all of our blood sugars at 2am, and anyone who tested under a certain threshold had to eat a sandwich, and maybe eat some glucose tabs, too. (This was were I learned to over-treat lows, apparently.)
During my second year there, on the last night of camp, I remember having a big bonfire party. All of the "older kids" sat around the fire, and everyone shared what the week had meant to them. The one speech I remember was from a counselor who recited a poem he wrote about us campers. His poem expressed how he felt so helpless when he saw one of us with a low BG level. His words said something to the effect of "And all I can do is sit there, watching the energy drain from their faces. I want to make it better right away, and I can't. I have to suffer right along side of them."
I remember shaving the back of a girl's head, because she wanted me to (she was away from her parents, so obviously this was a good decision), and wondering if she realized that I had never even held a pair of clippers until right at that moment. I kept my mouth shut and shaved.
The building with the showers was a long walk from our sleeping cabin, and the shower stalls were covered in spiders. You couldn't kill them all, so you just had to shower with them hanging out on the walls. This may help to explain my irrational fear of spiders.
My last year there, we "older kids" put on a carnival for the "younger kids". We had face painting, an obstacle course, a kissing booth (on the cheek!), and a lot of other things I don't remember at the moment. What I do remember is how much fun we had, and how I never wanted it to end.
In fact, I'd like to keep that party going. I'd like a d-camp for adults - or maybe a d-prom? Someone, please make this happen. We can all wear our insulin pumps as corsages, and party mints will be replaced with glucose tabs. Diet Cokes would be on the house, naturally.