Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Different, Yet the Same

The very first day of baseball practice Michael and I were sitting in the bleachers. He leaned over and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, I think that girl was wearing a pump. She just took something off and handed it to her dad.”

“It was probably just a cell phone,” I said.

“No, I think I saw tubing.” He whispered like he was telling me a secret.

I didn’t think much of it. I mean, really? What are the odds that in our small little town that Riley would get on a team with another kid with Type 1 diabetes?

About half way through the practice I heard her dad say, “Are you OK?” And then I saw him hand her a piece of candy.

Hmmmmm, maybe it was a pump.

After practice I went over to get Riley. Michael went to talk to the coach to let him know about Riley’s diabetes and to let him know that if Riley says he feels low that he has to come out of the game immediately and cannot wait for the inning to be over.

I heard the coach say, “J has it too.”

I turned. The little girl’s dad said, “Yeah, she wears a pump.”

So, somehow, Riley ended up on a team with another little girl with diabetes. She looks to be about 8 or so. I don’t know how long she’s had D, but by the T-shirts her mom wears I’m thinking it’s been a while. Pretty much every time I see her mom she’s wearing a diabetes walk T-shirt, a different one every time.

We met J about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Since then, her mom and I have never spoken of diabetes. I’ve felt no need to bring it up. I know that she knows what it’s like. She knows that I know too.

J wears a Minimed pump, Riley, an Animas. But, the differences don’t end there. I found out through my blog that everyone with diabetes is different and everyone does things differently.

I’ve never seen J check her sugar in the dugout. Riley’s had to stick his little finger through the fence a few times for some checks. This is mainly because baseball is new to us. Checking him is the only way we know what to do with his basals. The first few games his sugars would soar, but the last couple of games they’ve been OK. I’m thinking maybe he was nervous the first few games and that caused the highs? Who knows? But, my point is we have to check to see what we need to do. J is a couple of years older than Riley; her parents probably figured all of this out a while back.

J wears her pump in a clip on her waist. When it’s time to start playing she disconnects. Riley wears his pump in an inner pocket and wears it throughout the whole game. (After seeing J a few times Riley decided that he wanted to wear his pump like she wore hers. His has always been neatly concealed in a pocket. He wore it in a clip on his waist for a couple of days until he decided it just wasn’t for him and started wearing it in his pockets again.)

J drinks sips of Gatorade throughout the game. Riley settles for Powerade Zero (0g carbs) because he doesn’t need the extra sugar.

But, with all those differences they are still very much alike.

Sometimes parents bring snacks for after the game. After the last game a mother passed out pre-packaged baseball cupcakes. Michael went over and asked to look at the box. He turned it over to see the carb content. He looked at me and said, “32 grams.”

“32 grams, really? That’s a lot.”

Riley said, “Can I have it now?

I told him to wait until he got in the car and we checked his sugar first and then maybe because of the amount of carbs he could have half of it.

I turned just in time to see J lifting up the box of cupcakes and peeking at the bottom. She turned to her dad and said, “32”.

He said, “Wow, that’s a lot of carbs for a snack.”

“My thoughts, exactly, “I said. “I’m thinking maybe he can have half.”

J’s mom said, “Yeah, maybe half of one.”

We went to the car and got in. I don’t remember what Riley’s sugar was, but when he looked at me and said, “Do I have to eat half of it?” I told him he could have the whole thing.

A huge grin spread over his face and he started devouring the cupcake.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I glanced over and saw J devouring her cupcake with the same grin on her face.

They may do things differently when it comes to their diabetes, but deep down they are really the same. They’re kids.


Carey said...

Great Post, Penny.

The "can I have it now?" and the "wait until we get to the car" describes every conversation I have with Charlie after every baseball game.

I know I would be pretty stunned to see another kid with diabetes on Charlie's team.

Thanks for the Powerade Zero tip. I have to go out and find that.

Jill said...

Wowww! How cool to have someone else on the team with D :D

It is really weird when you get a chance to watch other D kids in action and see how they handle themselves and also how the parents handle it. We've always been very open with Kacey's D and we don't conceal anything but another parent I spoke with recently told me that they aren't as open and her son has had D for almost 6 years and he still doesn't count carbs or do his own shots (he'll be 13) and of course that made me wonder if we pushed Kacey too hard since she's only 9? But then I knew we hadn't because of the kind of kid she is. I know each child is different and they take D on in their own way but I was shocked after 6 years that he didn't know how to care for himself. Kacey was more than ready to learn carb counting and she was determined to meet the goals her Endo set for her so I guess it was ok to push her along. (LOL...I think she gets the head strong personality from me)

We did the same thing you did with the finger thru the fence when Kacey played softball last summer. I didn't know about the Powerade either :) Thanks! We always do Crystal Light.