I know…it’s not a very nice surprise. I was looking forward to coming home from camp with at least two weeks of blog-worthy material to share. But alas, it is not to be.
The reasons? Interestingly enough they have nothing to do with diabetes.
Incredibly, I am a human being with other issues, needs, idiosyncrasies, and decisions to make completely unrelated to diabetes. As hard as it was, the decision to come home after only one day and night at camp was one of those “other” issues.
The last three weeks of my life have been crazy emotional, physical, and mental stress. I was entering finals when my family was evacuated and my community threatened by the worst fire in Colorado history. I returned home, but watched so many of my neighbors as they struggled with the reality of never being able to do that. The next week I walked into the Red Cross headquarters to offer my services as a EMT. They promptly deployed me for ten hours days with Staff Health. While physically this job was by no means demanding, the mental toll was incredible and each day left me mentally and thereby physically drained. On Friday, my family experienced the passing of our fifteen year-old dog…BAM emotional drainage. Five days of Red Cross, combined with drinking gallons of water (and just water) a day, and the death of a friend produced a wasted girl on her way to camp Saturday morning.
This problem was highlighted the first night at camp with seven hours of nausea (and ensuing exhaustion) and only two hours of sleep. Bad idea when for the next two nights there is no guarantee of getting to bed before 0300.
Then came the decision. I am used to camp environments and the pressures they present, but usually I can work my way through most jobs and keep the kids safe and happy. At a diabetic camp, you cannot do that. For good reason too! Faced with this knowledge and kids coming in less than six hours, I approached my PA medical director and explained the situation and my concern of not being 100% and why that wasn’t good for the kids. Now, my PA is a wonderful woman who could make Hitler feel loved (if Hitler had diabetes and was her patient). She is the best PA I have ever had and someone I feel completely comfortable coming to with my concerns. After listening, she thanked me for coming to her early instead of later in the week when I had completely collapsed from exhaustion. She assured me that my health, mental and otherwise was the first priority.
And I came home. It was a difficult decision. But as I sit here, I am so thankful for that decision.
It is okay for me to not be there. There are wonderful people there who are more than capable of taking care of the 264 diabetics under their care. My presence is not essential to success. And as a diabetic, sometimes I have to make the hard decisions even if they seem to ‘betray’ my own kind. I have said before and I will say again — I am a diabetic, and while it defines me to a certain extent I cannot let it guilt or force me into actions that I should not be doing.
I made that decision, surprisingly, with almost no thought to my diabetes. Funny how that works.
I might have only been there less than thirty-six hours, but I definitely got some blog-worthy observations! Didn’t think I’d let you off that easy, eh? My thoughts on a day at a diabetic camp — up next!