Diabetes Camp Part 1: A Parent's Concerns

Kim Benjet Health Guide
  • Expert Diabetes Patient Kim Benjet shares her experience with sending her 8-year-old son, Josh, to diabetes sleepover camp for a week. In this Part I installment, she feels relief leaving him in the hands of experienced counselors and emptiness walking by his empty room.

    Drop off

    I didn’t cry as we pulled away from camp.  Josh gave us a quick hug and then continued to discuss the Harry Potter books with his counselors.  Great young, enthusiastic guys greeted us in his cabin.  These counselors immediately made Josh feel welcomed, got him talking about what he liked and then assured us that he would be fine by whipping out their insulin pumps and comparing theirs to Josh’s.  One counselor has been going the camp since he was Josh’s age. Another wants to be a pediatric endocrinologist.  These guys rocked!  And as predicted, the camp endocrinologist had me turn down Josh’s basal rate by 20 percent.  She said they will slowly increase it if needed but they expect the increased activity to result in lower insulin needs.

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    Night 1

    Walking by Josh’s empty bedroom left a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. I woke up at 3 a.m. and realized I didn’t need to check his blood sugar, but I couldn’t fall back to sleep quickly. Instead I thought about what he might be doing over the next few days.  I obviously need to find some outlets for myself!  Clearly, our 9-month-old puppy was having the hardest time this a.m.  She burst into his room when she was let out of her crate, then sat in the hallway in front of his room and cried.  I imagine (and hope) that Josh is having so much fun that he doesn’t even miss us. 

    Thank You Donovan McNabb!

    I stayed up late last night to watch the local sports news to see if they would report Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb’s visit to the camp.  (I admit I was hoping to see my son on TV but no luck there. )  I was delighted to see the report on two stations and I even admire McNabb more now.  Accompanied by his young daughter, McNabb spoke to the campers, played some beach volley ball and signed autographs.  His  message focused on not limiting yourself , not letting diabetes stop you.  I applaud McNabb’s generous donations to the American Diabetes Association and his support for the diabetes camping program.  Sports heroes who take the time to really be mentors, to really talk to kids can have an amazing impact.  Thank you Donovan.  Check out how his commitment goes beyond press and photo ops. He puts real money toward his goal of raising awareness about diabetes and supporting research efforts -- see www.mcnabbfoundation.org

Published On: July 02, 2007