Last Field Day!!!
This week marked our 9th and final field day. I never much liked it as a kid. As a parent of a kid with diabetes, I like it less because:
It's always hot. Dehydration and diabetes don't mix well. Insulin and heat don't mix well. And the whole 'am sweaty and weak because I've just run a relay in the sun or because I'm low' question is on replay all day.
Everyone is in constant motion. The obvious risk of this for my child is exercise-induced low blood sugar, but there are other risks to her from the chaos. Teachers are just barely keeping their groups together and the events going, let alone keeping an extra eye on my kid to potentially notice symptoms of low blood sugar. My kid is encouraged to keep up with the group and less likely to have a moment to assess how she feels and use her glucometer or drink water as needed. The nurse is busy because constant motion means constant bandaids and ice packs, which means my kid may find a line at the nurse's tent if she shows up there needing help.
The distractions are endless. When she was little it was worse, but even today my daughter is still less likely to notice an approaching or full-blown low blood sugar when there are lots of other things going on. The constant sensory input from the events, the people, and the novel outdoor setting could easily cause her to miss the sensation of dropping blood sugar.
Field day often includes a treat. This week, for example, she played volleyball, did some activities on the track and then ate a popsicle at 11 a.m. For the first 3 years of elementary school there was a pizza lunch between the morning circuit of games and the end-of-day tug of war and popsicle event. Managing unusual and unusually timed exercise is challenging. Managing unusual and unusually timed treats is too. Putting the two together adds yet more variables to an already very complicated equation.
Field day got easier over the years as my daughter became more aware of and responsible for keeping an eye on her blood sugar. Once she started middle school I no longer felt compelled to send extensive communications to the staff imploring them to look out for her. And I've felt decreasingly anxious over the years that something truly disastrous would occur. But this year, like most years past, she ended up in the nurse with a low blood sugar by the time it was over, and the following hours provided a line of peaks and valleys on her Dexcom graph.
At least her team won the day.