Off the Dial

JDRF Family Day

Big thanks to the Charlotte Checkers hockey for hosting their annual JDRF day. It’s always a fun time and it’s also the official kickoff to walk season. The JDRF walks are major fundraisers for the chapters and the family teams raise most of the money.

I’m the family team chair this year, so Benny and I were asked to speak.  Announcer Jason Shaya tapes a “Community Spotlight” segment that airs on the big screen during the hockey game.  I tried to prep Benny, but he wanted to wing it. Then we found out it was only 30 seconds long, so he decided I’d do the talking.


Also have to say a big thank you to NASCAR driver Ryan Reed.  Ryan was diagnosed with type 1 in 2011 and was told he’d never race again. Instead, he decided he’d never see that doctor again. With a new medical team, Ryan had a very successful first year on the ARCA circuit in 2012. He’s got a big announcement coming up next week about his racing future. Can’t wait!


Ryan brought his car, tricked out with a simulator for the kids. He also very patiently answered all of Benny’s questions about how to become a race car driver.  I’m trying to get Benny to see that wisdom of a front office job at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Wish me luck.

(Lots more to come on the Charlotte area JDRF walks. Please visit the chapter website for more information)




Party Low

What’s a birthday party without a little bit of diabetes crazy?

Benny turned 8 in late December, but because of winter break and vacations we always have his party in January. This year it was Great Wolf Lodge.

If you haven’t been, GWL is a hotel and conference center with a huge indoor water park and tons of other fun for kids. Our group was having a soaking-wet blast until Benny started feeling tired and lousy. Of course he was low (67) and of course I’d accidentally sent the bag with the juice boxes up to our room.  I did have some fruit gushers (with liquid centers) but Benny said he didn’t want them. Uh-oh. This kid doesn’t turn down candy.

I ran over to the snack bar and cut a pretty big line (sorry!) to explain the situation. “My son has type 1 diabetes and he’s having a dangerous low. Can you please give me a cup of regular soda or a bottle of juice?”  I wish I’d asked for that young woman’s name, because she didn’t skip a beat. She quickly handed me a big cup of regular Coke and said, “Don’t worry about paying, just take care of your son.”

gwlcokemeterSince Coke is one of Benny’s favorite things and he’s so rarely allowed to have one, I was sure he’d gulp it down. But he didn’t want it!  Now I was nervous. He wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t drink. He just sat there, in his bathing suit, shaking his head at me. “I’m full,” he said. “I don’t want anything.”

I’m sure only a few minutes went by, but it felt like forever.  Please, please drink the stupid Coke! Finally, I got him to take a sip. Then another. He held it with shaking hands and asked, “Can I have this AND the Gushers?” Whew.  That’s when I knew it was going to be okay.

The kids went back to the wave pool and water slide. The only other glitch happened when the inset came out just before we were ready to go up to our room for pizza. But Benny decided it would be cool to show his friends how it works.  It was great; the kids couldn’t believe how big the needle  is and that Benny didn’t scream when it went in. Tough guy.

Then it was back to talking about what 8, 9 and ten year old boys like. Football, pizza, Gangnum style (yes, still) and Minecraft. They ran around like maniacs at the arcade and we went over-time at the waterpark.

The next day I asked Benny what he was thinking when he wouldn’t drink the Coke. He said he felt like his blood sugar was actually really high and that he didn’t need to eat; he felt full.  I must have looked confused, because he just shook his head and said it was hard to explain. I didn’t push. He’s a year older, but he’s still only eight. And after six years of type 1, we’re still figuring some things out.

cupcakesbowling(Quick note about Great Wolf Lodge. We’ve always had fun there, but Slade and I both noticed even better customer service than usual. Not just the super nice lady who gave me the Coke; it felt like everyone was very friendly, happy to see us and went out of their way to make sure we were having a good time. And they kept our homemade cupcakes safe until our room was ready!)

A Building!

This month marked a great milestone for my family and for the Lake Norman Jewish community. Our first day of religious school in our very own building.

That may not sound like much in a city where new churches seem to open almost every month.  But do you know how many temples have opened between Charlotte and Statesville in the last decade? The last century?  Zero. Not one.

Until now.

It’s a bit of a long story, of course, and I’m not going to tell it here. We’re saving that for the book we joke about writing (“So You Want To Build a Temple…”).  Here’s part of how it came together. Six years ago, six families in Lake Norman decided it was time to break away from a satellite program offered up here by a Charlotte temple.  That temple was wonderful and generous but we needed something of our own.

Those six families quickly found other Jewish families north of Charlotte and grew into the Lake Norman Jewish Congregation. Then, last year,  we merged with that still on-going satellite program (which had become Beth Shalom of Lake Norman) and became Temple Kol Tikvah.  We now number  more than 170 families.

Temple Kol Tikvah bought a building, fixed it up, cleaned it up and opened last Sunday.  My husband, Slade, is co-president of our congregation and he spent most of last week with a mop and a check list, making sure the building was ready for school. If anyone has a picture of him with cleaning gloves on, let me know!

(l-r) A few 6th graders study together, Rabbi Michael Shields and Slade, there are 120+ students in the school

(These great pictures courtesy of my friend, Gayle Shomer. Btw, she’s offering a photography class w/limited enrollment (click here for info). It’s a great opportunity – she’s a former NC Photographer of the Year.)


When I get ready for a trip, I usually lay everything out and then put about half of it back. I still end up over-packing.

But I never feel like I can take too much of Benny’s diabetes supplies. We just got home from ten days of travel, including a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean. That’s a lot of stuff:

About two weeks before our trip, I requested a refrigerator in our cabin, for the extra insulin. The cruise line treated it like a big deal and gave me information about who to contact if it wasn’t there when we arrived. I was pretty proud of myself for remembering to make this “special” request, until we got on board. Every room on the ship had a fridge!

I’m sure Benny’s A1c will be higher this time around. We did the best we could, but there was food everywhere. I miss the frozen yogurt   machines by the pool, but it’s good to be back to our routine.

Here’s everything we brought:

Insulin (4 vials)

Backup pump (on loan from Animas)

Insets (2 boxes of ten)

Lancets (1 box)

Test strips (4 vials)


Alcohol wipes

Lithium batteries (2)


Glucogon pen

Cartridges (5)

Backup meter

Lidocaine cream

Extra pump case/belt

Juice boxes (10)

I just realized we forget to pack syringes! Can’t remember the last time I had to give Benny an actual insulin shot, but if something happened to the pump (and the back up pump) we’d need those needles.

The packing list for next time just got longer!