Summer is a time for camp. Luke has been to church camps off and on since he was in Kindergarten, but they lasted no more than three days long. However, this is his first year at Camp John Warvel. Camp John Warvel is a week-long (as in SEVEN DAYS!) camp put on by the American Diabetes Association at Camp Crosley in North Webster, Indiana. The camp is staffed by a multitude of volunteers from Riley Children’s Hospital and IU Health, as well as teens and adults who have Type 1 Diabetes themselves.
We arrived at the camp on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. for registration. We were guessing there would be 50-75 campers altogether. Boy, were we wrong! The line for our registration time was SO long… and we were the 2nd half of the registration! Later on, I heard there are 180 campers there this week, kids with both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
It was evident from the time we hopped out of the car that Luke is going to feel right at home here. Kids and staff both walking around with insulin pumps clipped to their shorts and tubing hanging out, connecting their bellies to their pockets. The girl in line in front of us looked like she was 9 or 10, but was wearing a camp shirt from 2014. She must have been an old pro at this camp thing.
While we were waiting in line, we realized Luke forgot to grab his Flip Belt, which he stores his pump in when he doesn’t have pockets. This was pretty crucial because 1. most of his shorts I packed for this week don’t have pockets and 2. even the shorts that do have pockets aren’t very secure for holding a pump, especially for running and playing. The plan was to mail him one first thing in the morning.
Once we checked Luke’s extra pump supplies in and made it through the registration line, we visited several vendors and picked up all kinds of things- an insulated backpack and water bottle from Novalog, an insulin rep… a reusable bag with samples of lotion, a deck of cards, a cup, & a pen from Walgreen’s… we skipped the vendors for Omnipod & Medtronic (two insulin pump vendors), as well as a D.A.D. (Diabetic Alert Dog) vendor. Next was a table for Kroger and Meijer pharmacies- we picked up a water bottle and some toothpaste from Meijer. Then, we got to the Dexcom vendor. And what did the Dexcom vendor have at his booth? A BELT TO HOLD THE DEXCOM RECEIVER! (Or a pump!) We told him he saved the day. Ha ha! Of course, we also told him how much a Dexcom has been a godsend for us.
Once we got through those vendors, there were a couple more tables. One was for TrialNet. They were doing free TrialNet screenings for immediate family right there at the camp. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I think it’s a blood test to see if you carry a certain gene that may cause Type 1 Diabetes. Siblings also do the test to see if they have a chance at developing T1 later in life. We skipped it. I may do it at some point, but it was so crowded at that time. The next table was a table for Lilly. Luke received another backpack filled with another water bottle, a calculator, and several brochures to help with carb counting. Parents got a plastic envelope filled with information about Type 1 and the glucagon.
The next table was Project Linus. Luke received a book, as well as another blanket from Project Linus. I say “another” because he received a warm, fuzzy baseball fleece blanket from this organization during his hospital stay almost a year ago. He loves that blanket. It brought him a lot of comfort while he was in the PICU recovering from DKA. He still sleeps with it. This company is amazing. This time Luke picked a fleece blanket in kind of a Native American print- fitting since all of the cabins are Native American names. Of course, he kept his blanket on his bunk, so I didn’t get a picture of it.
The last table was where he picked up his camp shirt and then we were off to his cabin to meet his roommates, his counselors, his dietician and his med staff.
To be continued…