Thursday, February 21, 2013

Survival

A recent school trip involved a variety of outdoor activities and team building exercises.  As a parent chaperone on this overnight adventure, I had the opportunity to reflect on some of the programs while trying to keep my feet warm in the great outdoors.

One of the classes was called 'survival.'  The activity was to build a make-shift shelter from branches, insulating it with snow and leaves, but first a conversation took place.  What do we need to survive?  How would we obtain the basic necessities if lost in the woods and needing to camp overnight?  What should we keep with us when hiking; 'just in case?'  The kids learned about water purification tablets and foraging for food.  They learned about the rule of threes, which states that (loosely speaking) one can go without air for 3 minutes, without water for 3 days and without food for 3 weeks. 

There I ironically stood, weighted down by the backpack I had been carrying since we'd arrived.  It contained 2 juice boxes, 2 packs of cheese and crackers, 2 water bottles, 2 tubes of glucose tabs and whatever candy happened to remain in the meter case when we left home. It also contained the meter, 2 vials of test strips, a lancet, spare batteries, and glucagon.  There was a large stash in our cabin from which to restock.

For this particular class within sight of the dining hall, this collection of things might have been excessive.  For the 2 hour, 3 mile hike up the mountain, it could have been life saving.

For my daughter, no matter where she is, every hour is a survival challenge.  Insulin, food, water, exercise and more must be carefully coordinated.  Our goal is to balance these for her optimal health, long life, and sense of well being.  Yet without constant focus, things can get out of kilter quickly, providing a real threat to her survival. 

Without insulin, she will not survive.

Given too much insulin, she will not survive.

If she spends years with consistently high blood sugars, she will not survive as long as her peers.

Imagining an unlikely night lost in the woods is not a prerequisite to considering what my daughter needs in order to survive.  We must consider those needs every day and every night of her life.

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