My daughter is currently in a city 4 hours from here without a parent.
This is it: the moment I thought would never come. No way. No how. She would NEVER grow up. At least not diabetes-wise.
I'm stunned that it's happening and even more stunned that I'm completely okay with it.
I was welcome to go on this trip- a service trip with the church's youth group. But this seemed, for several reasons, like the ideal opportunity for her to spread her wings.
-She's as ready as she'll ever be. She proves it every day. She especially proved it on the high school's spring music department trip which I, of my own free will, volunteered to chaperone so that I could be there 'just in case.' There was no 'just in case.' She did it all by herself while I shared a room with a (as it turned out, perfectly nice) stranger and worried endlessly about the whereabouts and safety of the rest of the kids.
-This trip is relatively close, just a four hour drive should I need to get there. And it's in the middle of a major city so there are hospitals, ambulances and pharmacies readily available should she need them.
-It's a small group: 6 kids and 2 adults. One of the kids is one of my daughter's closest friends. These kids genuinely like and care about each other. The chaperone to kid ratio is pretty great too.
-Speaking of chaperones, if I had to pick two people to send my kid away with for the first time, these two adults would be at the top of my list. Their willingness to take this on was, of course, one of the essential criteria. They're also responsible, concerned, and willing to learn everything necessary to support my daughter. And, probably most importantly, my daughter trusts them and likes them and will therefore include them in any issues she's having- diabetes-wise, and otherwise too.
-Lastly, and probably most importantly, my daughter was willing to go without me. That's been the bottom line for every big step towards diabetes independence we've made thus far. This decision was no different.
So far so good, considering the fact that diabetes does not travel well. One HIGH with double up arrows on the Dexcom required an emergency site change. An 82 at bedtime required some thinking about what to eat in order to make it until morning (a cherry Nutrigrain bar with no insulin- and yes, she made to morning). Otherwise she's guessing carbs as well as I could, remembering to carry her sack of dia-stuff, and keeping an eye on the Dexcom. I'm grateful to have the Dexcom share so I can check in when I'm worried, but I'm checking less than I thought I might.
Meanwhile she's having a huge adventure, both with the volunteer projects they're doing and with the sightseeing opportunities they're squeezing in whenever they can.
It's hard to wrap my head around how we got from a teeny, tiny person with diabetes who was totally dependent on me for every aspect of her care to this particular moment. It wasn't one giant step. It was a million teeny, tiny steps and suddenly, stunningly, here I sit over 200 miles away. And, inexplicably, I'm really pretty okay with it.
"The lady with the Omnipod is still at the pool with her kids most days," my daughter reported the other night.
"And there was another woman there. She had a pump clipped to her bikini top but the tubing was connected to her hip. It would make sense if the site was in her arm maybe. It looked uncomfortable to me. Or like you could accidentally yank it out with your own arm somehow- but whatever I guess...it's up to her."
It's summer again, which is prime pump-sighting season, especially at the pool and the beach.
Last years' beach vacation tally was 2 dexcoms and an Omnipod. Our town pool tally was 2 omnipods and a tubed pump a little too far way to identify the brand of. Walking around various cities and towns added 3 more pumps that I can remember.
We've never spoken to any of these people about their devices.
But we always speak to each other about them. "That guy has something on his stomach...over there by the purple striped umbrella...is it a Dexcom or an Omnipod?" Or "That lady's making me nervous standing knee deep in the water- over there near the jetty- I think that's a Medtronic pump, right- those aren't waterproof are they? The tide's coming in fast." We discuss where the devices are worn, attempts to disguise them or not, and how far down the beach the people with diabetes walk without bringing a meter or a container of glucose tabs with them.
It's fascinating to watch other people with diabetes in the wild. It's also comforting since every sighting-spurred conversation boils down to this: "Hey- look- there's another person with diabetes just living life," and especially at the beach or the pool, "and having fun."