Our son Hank was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the fall of 2008 at the age of 6. As a result of his diagnosis there have been many firsts (including this attempt for me to blog). Some bad, lots good and the many unexpected firsts that come with a T1D diagnosis.
One of our biggest first was Camp Needlepoint. As the oldest child in our family, we had yet to send a child to overnight camp much less a child with diabetes. As we drove across the MN/WI border to camp, I was silently second guessing our decision to send him. Another state! It seemed way too far.
We arrived at Camp Needlepoint and began unloading his suitcase and saw many other families doing the same. We headed for the checkout line and it seemed really long because I knew everyone had to go over carb counts, insulin amounts etc., with the camp staff. About 5 minutes into the line it was our turn. I was armed with all of the information needed to manage Hank’s diabetes care. I was prepared for this to take a while and to my great surprise it only took a few minutes. The staff spoke the diabetes lingo and the got all the information they needed in about a minute. My doubts about sending him were calmed. Not only was the staff efficient and knowledgeable, they were also very excited about the upcoming week. Looking around at all of the other kids and families that were in our situation was comforting. As we walked to his cabin my fears were eased more as we met his counselor and some new friends. It was going to be a great week. As we drove home without Hank (first time he had been away from us since his diagnosis) I began to think that Hank is probably going to get better care at camp than at home as he was surrounded by everyone that was going through was he was.
One of the biggest milestones at camp was Hank giving himself his first shot. This was one of those firsts I never thought I would be excited about until his diagnosis!
Hank is going back for his 4th year to Camp Needlepoint this August. He was a little shy about writing his own blog but was willing to let me share some highlights with you. Here is his unedited list in no particular order.
#1 You wake up at 7:00am
#2 You go horseback riding
#3 You get desserts every night
#4 You can recommend people in your cabin (bunk with friends)
#5 You do 90 minutes of games
#6 You get to go swimming
My favorite part of his list is there is no mention of diabetes. His camp experience was about having fun and how to incorporate his care into his fun rather than trying to manage fun around his diabetes. We are extremely grateful for Camp Needlepoint and the staff who showed us kids with diabetes can have fun at camp!
-Sara, Hank’s Mom