Friday, June 12, 2009

Camp AZDA

On the last day of school Maddison and I were invited by our school nurse to attend a VIP bus tour of Camp AzDa, the children's Diabetes camp provided by the ADA here in northern AZ. Thursday was finally the day of the tour! Maddison and I packed up our backpacks for the "luxury" bus trip (1.5hrs up north) and headed off to meet our school nurse at the local ADA chapter before boarding the bus for the long drive. The fun part is that Diabetes camp started last week, so we hoped to see a few of our local support group friends during the tour! And we sure did!

Our first hope was to see Nurse "Katie" who was Maddison's RN when she spent the first 3 days in the hospital after her diagnosis. Just like Maddison, Katie was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 6. We have been fortunate to see Katie several times since Maddison's diagnosis at the JDRF walks and such. Katie (now 20ish) is very active with JDRF and the ADA, and we know that she still goes to camp every year! Of course now Ms Katie is at camp as medical staff! How cool is that? Guess the first person we saw as we arrived at camp? Ms Katie!! YAY! That just made Maddison's day!

To this day I hold a very special place in my heart for nurse Katie. With Katie being our RN that first night in the hospital, I was able to talk to her and know she completely understood ALL of my concerns. That first night I was the "non-compliant" mom, but Katie understood why. The first RN on day shift refused to listen to my request to call the Endo when I disagreed on Maddison's first Lantus dose. So when Katie came in for the night shift (and I saw her insulin pump!) I explained to Katie how Maddison's blood sugar was 497 in the Peds office 8 hours prior, and that after being in the ER on JUST IV fluids for hours, Maddison's blood sugar had gone down to 82. No insulin given. Maddison's blood sugar went down after being re hydrated!! All on its own!! Katie understood my concern when the Endo ordered 3 units of Lantus as Maddison's first dose of insulin. Unlike the first RN of the day, Katie knew I wasn't being a crazy non-compliant mom. Katie validated my concern and agreed 3 units of Lantus may not be the best starting dose for Maddison. If Maddison was given those 3 units of Lantus that night I'm sure she would have had a seizure. After her dinner (no fast acting yet) Maddison was 493. Being entirely freaked out on this first night in the hospital, I slept in Maddison's hospital bed with my hand on her neck to feel her pulse. (a bit crazy I know) I was freaked out about the new possibility of Maddison having a low as she slept! By the time I finally dozed off, I jumped from bed as I felt Maddison's heart pounding. I fumbled for my meter, juice and the nurse call button. Maddison's blood sugar was 42. From 493 to 42....no fast acting, just 1 unit of Lantus as we requested. Thank you Nurse Katie for backing me up! Imagine if Maddison had 3 units of Lantus on board! After Maddie's low was corrected and she fell back to sleep, nurse Katie came back to check on ME. Katie knew 42 wasn't just a number to treat with juice. Because Katie KNOWS all about this crazy disease!!

ANYWAY...thats why I LOVE Katie, now back to the tour.....Maddison being 8, could have gone to camp this year. I would trust the camp staff 150% to be on top of numbers, night time checks, corrections....anything that involves Diabetes. Afterall, every staff person and volunteer at camp has some type of Diabetes knowledge and expertise. Whether they are an RN, CDE, Endo, EMT, Nutritionist, PCP or Counselor.....they know. Most of the medical staff at this camp once attended this same Diabetes camp as a child with Diabetes and have now come back as medical staff! How heart warming is THAT!!?? On the tour I learned that the camp meets a 1:3 ratio. YES, 1:3.....for every three kids there is one medical professional!! HOLY COW! I would have thought around 1:20!!! So, my point is...Maddison didn't skip camp this year because I'm too worried or fearful to send her. (well maybe a little) Maddison just isn't ready.

Maddison is really excited and talking alot about going to camp next year....but I just dont know! If camp was just a weekend thing I wouldn't be so hesitant to send Maddison off. But camp is 7 days long!!!! I don't even like to be away on vacation for 7 days!!! Maddison is just the same. Maddison likes her own time in her room. Maddison likes her own bed (or MINE) and Maddison is happiest doing her own thing most of the time. Maddison gets over stimulated easily. She doesn't tolerate alot of loud noise or commotion. Countless times Maddison has gone to movies or music concerts and has had to leave because the noise is too much. She'll even cry sometimes, then she wants to hide out in her nice quiet room and have some alone time. She'll climb into a pile of stuffed animals and blankets and emerge from her room an hour or so later feeling just fine again. Maddison is an INTROVERT by every single definition of the word. I just don't know how she would be able to tolerate 7 days of constant chaos with 200 other kids. I know right now she is incapable anyway. Seriously.

On the AzDa tour we got to have dinner with the teen campers! Of course all the young girls thought Maddison was so "cute" and many couldn't believe they were her age when diagnosed. Many girls said they all felt so "bad" for her....and couldn't imagine being so young with Diabetes. We talked to several amazing young kids during dinner, they all had lots of questions for Maddison and wanted her to know they LOVE coming to camp every year. I must say, it was really strange to see so many people with Diabetes! I'm used to feeling like the outsider with my pump attached at my hip. Every where we looked you could see pump tubing hanging out of someones pocket. Meters beeped from every direction. Juice boxes, glucose tabs and syringe disposal containers were around every corner...Some were even just attached to emergency boxes hanging on the trees! You would think I would feel safe and confident, but I only felt saddened to see that there are so many young kids that deal with Diabetes!!

Later on at the evening "carnival" all the camp kids gathered together. The tour guides arranged for us VIP's to have some fun at the carnival too. I couldn't help but think how Maddison wasn't that 1 in 300 anymore. Sure, we have support group meetings where we spend time with other kids with Diabetes....but here...EVERY kid has Diabetes! We were SURROUNDED by adults and kids that live just like we do!!

Camp AzDa, I think it is remarkable. I'm impressed with the organization, the staff, the knowledge, the activities...every aspect of this camp is remarkable. Maybe in the next year Maddison will prove to be ready for camp. Maybe not. Kids can change alot in just a years time. Camp AzDa in 2010? Ohhhhhh I'm glad **I** have another year to prepare as well!

4 comments:

mom2wendy said...

Camp MDDA is just as cool. I am so happy that you liked Camp AZDA. Maddison will too....when she is ready. I am pleased that you had a good expierence.

Wendy said...

I'm so happy to hear you had fun! One day I'd like to make that trip too...but...with all these **little ones** it's hard. Anyway, I have 3 years to prepare...Addy has a July bday so she'll miss the chance in 2 years. Oh, DARN!

(((HUGS))) You know your baby better than anyone. You'll send her when the time is right -- for both of you ;)

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I read your blog about camp and was very pleased to see that you enjoyed your time there. Even made me tear up a little. I just wanted to tell you that some of the diabetic staff have started an online forum at www.betic-army.com The web site is fairly new so we are still working out the kinks. It will be a good place for you and your daughter to discuss diabetes with other campers and people with diabetes. Thanks for your kind words. Swayzee

Cammie said...

Hi, I was on that bus trip also with my son, Kyle. Like you, we found the camp very exciting! Kyle can't wait to go next year. Kyle is 7 and this gave us an opportunity to check it out and now he knows what to expect. I will have no problems sending him to the camp, after hearing and seeing what a great time the kids were having and in such capable hands. I love your blog too! I will have to come back to it!

Cammie Kryka