Opportunities to Learn and to Teach

June 4th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

My friend and webmaster made this comment on a post earlier this week.  It is such a great story I wanted to set it center stage.


I cry when I think about camp too! Bearskin Meadow Camp does have a certain magic. The summer I was there and had packs of kids teaching me how it is to live with diabetes. They got a huge kick out of doing a blood check with me (non-diabetic) and then discussing with the doc how much snack I should get if any!

One of many completely and unbelievably awesome memories:

I have a fear of needles (one might question the logic of me working at this particular camp, but let’s set THAT aside). I have a SUPER big fear of needles. I tremble, I breathe fast, just when I’m around them wrapped up in their sterile packages.

First day of camp, it’s time for everyone to check their blood before dinner. A camper asks a simple question, “Why are you not checking?” I say, “I don’t have diabetes.” He says, “So?” Excellent point.

So I stand in line with him, we check together, we tell our results to the doc who draws up insulin for him and the same amount of saline for me. My little Blood Buddy (our names for the next weeks) pinched some skin on his tummy, took his insulin and looked at me…. standing there holding a syringe of saline. It’s one of those moments in life when you have to step up, but I was having trouble not shaking.

“It’s not that bad. You will barely feel it” he said. He stood close, explained where he takes his shots, why some places were better for him than others, but really it’s best not to think about it too much and just do it, etc.

I took that shot. And it was no big deal. And neither were all the other shots we took together that session. It would have been a much bigger deal to not check and not take the shots. I would have stuck out like a sore injection site.


I have been thinking about that kid all week.  Can you imagine what it must have done for his confidence to get to tell a camp counselor how to take a shot?? 

I highlight this story for another reason:  I know many of you whose children and loved ones have diabetes may not know how you can really support them.  It really doesn’t take much.

Be there, be willing, learn from them, and let them lead the way sometimes.  Your caring will come through.

We are in this together.

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