By Erin Schovel Turnham
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Countdown : Part 2 of 7
I woke up to Grasshopper’s face half an inch from my own.“Mama.”
“Don’t forget! You have to drop me off at camp today. Wake up! It’s 7:55.”
“Yaaaaawn. Ok. We have to change your infusion site and Dexcom this morning.”
I dozed off again.
“MOM! Now it’s 7:57!”
This is going to be a long day. Drop off is at 2 P.M.
I had better get ready. Good thing I have waterproof mascara!
I have checked this list in Microsoft One Note at least 326,455 times this morning. Yep. Still all there. It’s packed. Really ready. Wait… surely I forgot something. I should check again…
As we packed the car I snapped a picture of this sign that Grasshopper wrote after our first Camp Seale Harris family weekend in 2018. He loved that weekend so much that he pretended to be the director of his own camp. The sign reads, in kid print creative spelling, “Cap typ wun iz 5 uv cloc efrre day.” For adult eyes that is, “Camp Type One is 5 o’clock every day.” He and Sunshine made up their own camp activities. Here you go, buddy, you’re about to live the real thing!
During our drive Grasshopper was very quiet. He intently watched every turn. I’m pretty sure he was mapping it in his head. We listened to our Sugar Rush Survivors playlist on the way. Some of the songs had me misty eyed and some of them, like “The Final Countdown” had us fist pumping as we drove.
This extra long train really made him squirm because we were just SITTING there instead of making forward progress!
Finally we arrived. Grasshopper was SO excited to get to camp today! We got him checked in through an impressive and efficient eight station process.
Optometry students from the University of Alabama were on hand to check each camper’s eyesight. We are fortunate to have regular eye exams for Grasshopper, but for some campers this is the only eye exam they might receive in a year. High and fluctuating blood sugar can cause damage to eyes, so regular exams are important. I am so grateful for these and all the volunteers who come help children at Camp Seale Harris!
Each camper’s insulin dosages are painstakingly written down by staff and volunteers. An endocrinologist reviews each one and talks with parents about potential changes to be made for the week. Let me say, this is not a small undertaking. There were around 150 children at junior camp this week. There is such a variety of insulin therapies. When it comes to type 1 diabetes there is no “one size fits all” management. The work, attention, and dedication poured into Camp Seale Harris is staggering. And they’ve been doing it for 70 years.
After all the stations we went to his cabin, #1, where they had already set his luggage outside the door. His friend and baseball team mate W is in the same cabin. I made Grasshopper’s bed and arranged a few things. I had to stop myself from finding more to fuss about.
The kids in his cabin were all getting their suits on for a swim test, so I suggested he go change too. He grabbed his swimsuit and ran to the restroom. I chatted with Wesley, his cabin counselor, for a bit. Suddenly I was standing in a cabin full of 7 year old boys. I needed to go! I went to the door of the restroom and called for him to come take a picture. He hadn’t changed yet, so Mr. Mister took this picture.
We all hugged. He went to the door of the cabin and said cheerfully, “I’ll miss you!” I said, “We’ll miss you too but I know you are going to have a great time!” And that was that. He went inside to get ready for the pool with other boys. Some wore pumps with tubes like his Medtronic 670g. Some wore tubeless OmniPod pumps. Some had Dexcom or Libre glucose monitors. Some who manage T1D with multiple daily injections (MDI) were without any visible type 1 diabetes hardware. But all of them are boys ready to have fun!
Thank you all SO MUCH for your love and support to help him get to Camp Seale Harris this year. He has been counting down the days! We are excited for him to experience camp in a way that builds his confidence in himself and in his abilities to manage type 1 diabetes. Camp Seale Harris has soul!
Mr. Mister, Sunshine, and I continued our journey south. We left Sunshine at her Aunt’s house. She was THRILLED with the prospect of staying with cousins without us. No tears, even though this was also her first time staying anywhere without parents.
We got to the beach around 10 P.M. Sunday night. Just the two of us. Amazing. We hadn’t been together without children for days at a time since Grasshopper was born seven years ago.
Cold drink. Snack. Moonlight. SLEEP.