We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a public service announcement about Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 is not the same as Type 2, the one where I often hear people say, “Oh my grandmother/cat/dog had that. We had to give him/her/it a shot every day.” Or, “I thought you only get that from eating too much sugar.” This is the type where your immune system mistakenly identifies insulin as an invader, tracks it down to the beta cells in your pancreas, and destroys them. Your body can no longer produce insulin and will literally die unless you inject or infuse it 24/7/365. This is the type that can strike when you are a baby. It is the type formerly known as “Juvenile Diabetes,” that we personally knew nothing about until our daughter nearly died at diagnosis at the age of seven. This week was all about diabetes for me, so I need to depart from campground reviews for a moment.
My school was all set to send students to 5th grade camp this week and somewhere along the way, I volunteered to go and support a child with diabetes. I knew full well what that entailed, having attended the week our daughter went. People have questioned why kids who have technology, like insulin pumps or glucose monitors, would need this support. Here’s how I’ve tried to explain diabetes to people who don’t live it:
Picture living in a two story house filled with delicate, temperature sensitive orchids. Then picture having to maintain the exact proper temperature range of that house by alternately running the oven or freezer with their doors left open. Sure, you can get a high tech, extremely programmable oven. You can even set the temperature to the hundredth of a degree, running on an elaborate timer system. But see, the weather outside keeps changing, and, oh yeah, the house seems to move through entirely different climate zones from day to day. You can separately have a highly accurate thermometer that tells you precisely how badly you are screwing up from minute to minute. It can even graph your inadequacy for you. But it doesn’t control the oven, let alone the weather. Things can get way too hot, despite your best predictive calculations. So you panic, quickly turn down the oven, and open the freezer, hoping it doesn’t get so cold that everything inside dies. This is cutting edge diabetes management, and it does not sleep or take holidays off.
Now, our daughter is 20, and she has been 100% managing her own care for several years. It has been a very long time since I have done night checks. But, back in the day, I set alarms for every single night at 12am and 3am, at the very least. Once my body became so sleep deprived that I no longer woke up to the alarms, I bought an alarm clock made for deaf people that vibrates your skull violently when you place it under your pillow. I still cannot fathom how I held down a job during those years. This past week, I was back on night check duty, except now it involved getting out of bed, going outside Dory in the cold, driving the car a short distance into camp, walking up to the kid’s cabin, and making rational medical decisions. As the fatigue steadily increased, all kinds of post traumatic flashbacks surfaced, mostly in the form of emotional fragility. By the end of the week, I was fully fried.
Daytime at camp was mostly pleasant, as we had the entire campground to ourselves and it is a beautiful park. Richard was able to use the wifi at the rangers’ office and worked the whole week. I needed to do meal time checks and be on call by walkie talkie during the day, so I didn’t venture out much until beach day. That was great fun and I got to hang out with two of the world’s best fifth grade teachers. Teachers work very hard at camp, much harder than parents ever know or appreciate. Go hug a teacher please.
There is no cell service whatsoever in that area, so I spent a lot of time WiFinding. I discovered that I could hit the county park office as I drove out, and hit the teachers’ cabin WiFi on my way back. Mostly though, I was incommunicado and was only scanning for urgent messages.
I’m happy to say the week went well for the student, and I survived it too. Sort of. I’m tired. This was not your typical camping trip and we would like to go back some time to enjoy the many hikes around that area. Some of the sites that are listed as “Small Trailer” are quite unlevel, but the “Large Trailer” ones seemed pretty good. There are no hookups and the dump was not open yet. We made reluctant use of our portable grey water tank and did our best to minimize grossness using the campground shower drains (we got permission first). This is a deep redwoods forest area, so there was very little solar. We ran the generator a little bit daily and had no power problems.
One last thing to report: I twice spotted a Grey Fox during the 3am drives. 🙂
That was a week. I’m over 50. It will take some time to reboot.
Total miles from Half Moon Bay: 27, 13.7 mpg, 58 min. Site Azalea 33. They say site 37 can hit the WiFi, but we found it to be very weak unless you’re standing in the road.