Interesting lesson in trade-offs last weekend at Carowinds. We always have fun there, but taking a child with type 1 diabetes to an amusement park – with a water park – means you have to plan a little bit more.
It also means more supplies. In addition to the backup stuff I always bring, I threw extra insets, shots and insulin into another bag, along with a frio (sort of an ice pack). Gotta keep the insulin cool in this hot weather.
Not very practical to go on rides and schlep all that, along with Benny's pump and meter, so I rented a locker. I hadn't done that before at Carowinds and it was terrific. Very easy, well worth the rental fee and it was great to walk around carrying nothing but the key holder around my wrist.
Our problem is that Benny's inset often comes out after a long time in the water. The inset is how his insulin pump connects to his body, so it's a big deal. There are a few ways to help keep it on – move it off his backside (where it rubs on water slides) or put IV tape over or under it for example - but so far he's refused to try them. Benny is a very compliant kid with a great attitude, so if he says no, when possible, I let it go.
Of course the darn thing came out after an hour in the park. He got off the slide, reached into his bathing suit and just handed it to me. I knew we were far from finished with the water rides so I decided to just leave it off. No sense putting on a new inset only to have it come right out, but it also meant no insulin.
Meantime, we had a blast. Here's my favorite ride of the day – Down Under Thunder:
I thought I'd hate this ride, especially after climbing up four stories to get to the top, but it was terrific. As we stepped into the raft the staffer asked "Who's riding backwards?" Benny yelled, "My Mom!"
(I don't recommend an online image search for "Down Under Thunder," especially if you're at work. Those Aussies have sort of a different idea of what that term might mean!)
All told, we left out the inset for about 3 1/2 hours, during which we splashed on more rides, ate lunch and braved a few roller coasters. When I finally got the pump back on Benny on our way out of the park, his BG was almost 500. Of course he wasn't feeling great just then but by the time we got home he was much improved and back in range.
We traded a day of fun for several hours of high blood sugar. Was it the right thing to do? Obviously I think so, but I'm sure some of you are outraged, thinking absolutely not.
One thing I've learned after four and a half years of raising a very young child with diabetes (dx'd at 23 months) is that things change. I'm confident that soon this won't be as much as an issue. Benny will move his inset to his stomach or his leg, he'll be more willing to use IV tape to secure it. He'll grow up and get more mature, he'll grow up and get more involved in his diabetes.
He'll grow up. Fast. We won't get another chance to make these memories. Kid first, diabetes second when possible.