Allowing Diabetic Children to Treat Diabetes on Own as they Gain Understanding

Kim Benjet Health Guide
  • As the recap of her 8-year-old's experience at diabetes camp wraps up, Kim Benjet deals with the aftermath: “I really don’t need you, Mom.  I’ve been at camp for a week.” 

    Josh had a fabulous time at camp and he came home with greater confidence and a new air of independence.  His remark came when I was getting ready to go out to dinner and was doting over him and the childcare arrangement.   His response brought tears to my eyes for a few reasons. First, ouch!  What does my baby mean he doesn’t need me?  Secondly, pride, we’ve tried to create a sense of competence and independence with both of our children and doing this presents a special challenge when diabetes is involved.  He is almost 9 years old, and we are clearly entering a new developmental stage even where diabetes is involved.  We are entering a new partnership in managing this chronic disease, a partnership with me no longer the strong lead but more of an equal partner in the dance to control the disease.

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    Here are a few things I learned from Josh about his camp experience. .

    What do you mean he had ketones and threw up?

    Yes, Josh did get large ketones from an infusion set failure one night and woke up vomiting.  He didn’t tell me right away; the counselor and another child did, but to Josh it was no biggie!  They treated it effectively, he spent some time in the infirmary, he gained a greater understanding of how to treat this diabetes problem and he let other people help him.  Mommy does not have to be the one to solve all the diabetes problems.  I think that realization is invaluable to both of us.  Mommy won’t always be there and Josh will still be alright.  Now, this episode does give me caution in considering sending Josh to a non-diabetes camp where there might not be adequate medical attention, but it will not stop Josh from returning to diabetes camp next year.

    And now Comments about Camp dictated by Josh (He’s pleased to contribute to his first blog, and I’m giving him the last word):

    “Here are some things we did at camp. We played soccer, volleyball, low rope course and high rope course, basketball and went swimming every day.  We played a really fun game called ga ga. We went to nature activities and held turtles, lizards, a python and an alligator.

    We ate in a dining hall.  They brought food to the table and we could choose from that.  We used a sheet with the carb counts to figure out the carbs.  The nurse helped us give shots or do our boluses.  She said I was good at carb counting. We got to eat as much as we wanted and we got to pick out what we wanted to eat.  The food was okay. My favorite food was the barbeque on the first night.  I didn’t like the barbeque chicken wings.  There was always peanut butter and jelly if you didn’t like the other food.  For breakfast one morning I ate 102 carbs all on cereal!

    We slept in bunk beds in cabins.  I slept on the top bunk. I liked the friends and the counselors in my cabin.  It was quiet when we slept and we didn’t get wet when it rained one night.  The bathroom was in the cabin so we didn’t have to go outside if we needed it.

  • We met some famous people.  Donovan McNabb played volleyball with us.  He was okay at that.  I forgot what he said but it was nice. I met Chris Freeman and he said keep on trying no matter what and you can always do it. Bob Kelly (former Philadelphia Flyer) taught us all to play hockey and he gave us hockey sticks.  The Phantoms Mascot came too.  Some of the Eagle cheerleaders came too.

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    I don’t have a lot to say about the diabetes stuff. It didn’t stop me from doing anything except when I had ketones but that didn’t last too long. I didn’t cry when I threw up and they took care of me.  That’s all I have to say.

    I think the stuff my Mom wrote was okay.  She didn’t need to worry about me when I was at camp.”


Published On: July 02, 2007