This post is written by guest writer and MEPN student,Caleb Kuo
Caleb Kuo drawing up insulin for administration
I had the opportunity to participate as a nursing volunteer at Camp Wana Kura, which is a summer camp dedicated to helping children with type 1 diabetes learn about diabetes management and provide them a safe space to be a kid. I was assigned to work with a group of 9-10 year old campers and was amazed to find how self-sufficient they were. We started the day by checking in with the parents and taking report of their child’s blood glucose level. I was a little nervous working with the children because they knew so much about their own management. It was only after I started joking around with them that they became comfortable with me and let me help with checking blood glucose levels and administering insulin. There was a big emphasis on carb counting and it was a little tricky determining how much insulin to give because the children would say that they were going to eat a certain number of carbs and then decide not to. Dr. Marsh guided me through calculating each individual’s insulin according to their own scale and it surprised me how different everyone’s insulin regimen was. She also led a few education games and we watched the campers put together a skit about safe administration of glucagon.
In reflecting on the day, I realized that despite all the adversity that children with type 1 diabetes face I could see their strength as they refused to let the diabetes prevent them from doing what they loved. I could imagine how difficult it would be for a child with type 1 to go to a friend’s house for a party and have to be careful about what they ate. Eating lunches at school can also present difficulty because you often cannot share food unless you know how many carbs it has. I learned that there are so many variables that influence your blood sugar level including activity level and weather. I can understand why parents would worry because their children are forced to grow up and learn to manage their disease process. However, this experience taught me that outside of all the stressors and challenges there can be so much joy in living in the moment and enjoying our youth. Thank you to all the kids and staff at Camp Wana Kura for showing me what it is like to live a life that is not defined by diabetes. May we never forget our child-like excitement and live not in fear of what could happen in the future but appreciate the blessings we have now.
on the left-Thalia Quezada administering insulin via insulin pen, to a camper. Group photo of MEPNs at camp
Monica Colavita administering an injection to a camper