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On a sugar high

I received so much response from my last column, that I have to expound on it.

First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed all the hugs I received, as well as the jokes and ribbing. I'm glad everyone is enjoying it so much (I think). And I try to be understanding with everyone who expresses concern. Trust me, I know all too well how serious the situation could have been.

As more people became aware of my Type I diabetes, I had a lot of questions to answer. My two sons returned home this week from camp, and their camp-stories combined with my diabetic stories took me back to my childhood when I spent two weeks every summer at an Easter Seals camp for diabetics.

Let's face it - no matter the theme - camp is camp. That means pranks, bad food, bugs, late night raids, contests, swimming and canoeing then canoeing and swimming.

Back in those days - before new types of insulin had been created - low blood sugar reactions were probable between midnight and 3 a.m. Because it is a stipulation that only children with diabetes could attend diabetic camp, every camper had the probability of experiencing blood sugar reactions. As a preventive measure, the camp doctors and nurses would make nightly rounds to every cabin and check every camper. Since most of the children were "groggy" at that time of night, it was difficult to tell quickly if there was a health problem.

Rather than awaken each child and try to decipher if the slurred speech was from sleep or low blood sugar, the medical professionals skipped the wakening and questioning altogether. Instead, they took their gloved fingers and pried open our eyelids, then shined a flashlight into the eye to see if the pupil was dilated. This happened every night at 3 a.m., which as you know, is right about when adolescent campers have just concluded their ghost-story and joke-telling sessions and have fallen asleep.

Needless to say, the medical professionals were not the campers' favorite staff members.

We turned our prank-pulling efforts on them in full-force. I'm sure they can't count the times they opened a cabin door and were doused with a bucket of water, pulled back a blanket only to find a frog or a snake instead of a sleeping camper, found the cabin empty and heard muffled snickers as the cabin door was locked behind them from the outside, or had flashlights suddenly shined into their eyes.

I'm sure it was not the life they envisioned when they pledged their medical oath. But I'm sure they were thankful because that meant we were healthy. After all, it sure beats getting pushed, kicked and scratched.

Just ask the EMTs.

Web posted on Thursday, July 23, 2009

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