If you read Arden's Day with any frequency you know that we manage Arden's Bgs with text messages while she is in school, at a friend's house and every other time that she isn't in our physical space. I've written how the process has eliminated so many issues, lowered her A1c and making us all to feel more independent are but two. I am genuinely excited to tell you that we have recently added, "Go to a concert" to that list! Now you may be thinking that there is a world of difference between managing type I from across town and being an hour away in a stadium singing along with the former Wizard of Waverly Place, but you know what - not so much. It turns out that the biggest hurdle when considering the difference between the two situations is realizing that there aren't any.
I have two main concerns when Arden isn't with me. Loss of communication and An unexpected low BG. All that remains is manageable with pre planning. Supplies, food, and juice is no issue to pack and have at the ready. A well thought out testing schedule eliminates most surprise BGs and Arden's DexCom G4 finds the ones that slip through the cracks. Of course no one can plan for a significant BG drop that defies logic, that possibility is the diabetes equivalent of having a car accident - you wear your seatbelt, drive safely and hope for the best.
I received a call asking if Arden could go to the Selena Gomez concert with one of her best friends, I didn't hesitate to say, "Yes!". One year ago the mom on the other end of the phone wouldn't have been able to finish her sentence before I said, "Thank you but no". But so much has changed in the last year. Now when a person that I trust calls and asks for Arden to accompany them for an evening, I can say yes with less trepidation and that makes me very happy for Arden.
Here's how I handled Arden going to the concert...
First, the mother and I had a nice lunch together the week before the event. Even though Arden goes to their house for play dates, we still manage through texts while she is there so the mom doesn't have a lot of interaction with diabetes. She understood the basics and knows how to react in an emergency but the concert was going to require me to advance her understanding of type I diabetes.
We spoke about all emergency possibilities in very, very real terms. I explained that I needed her to understand all that could happen, even though the likelihood of it happening was extremely remote.
I said thank you for her willingness to except the extra responsibility and went about the seemingly impossible task of preparing a person for an evening with type I without overwhelming or causing them to obsess during the event. The last thing I wanted was for the extra considerations to take away from the experience that she was going to have with her own daughter.
We spoke about supplies, testing times, CGM check ins and how to talk to the security guys in a way that makes bringing food and drinks into the venue easy. We talked about panic situations, CGM arrows and how to use glucose gel. I explained low blood glucose seizures and that I was going to discreetly slip her the glucose gel because the sight of it makes Arden anxious.
I couldn't have been prouder of Arden and her friend's mother when they pulled out of our driveway for the concert. The conversations that we had and the topics that they had to consider, just to go to a concert, were more than a nine year old and her friend's mom should be asked to think about - but they did it. When Arden got into the car with her friends she was smiling just as a little girl on her way to a concert should. Thankfully, her BG's were rather uneventful during the evening, she required two maintenance boluses during the show (Adrenaline I imagine) and a juice box on the ride home (No more Adrenaline) but other than that, easy sailing. When she walked through the door at almost eleven, her BG was 104 (DexCom had the BG at 74). Success!
Never once that night did I have to speak with the adult who accompanied Arden about anything related to diabetes. Actually, at one point she sent me a text and asked, "Is there anything I need to be doing?".
The bag of supplies I sent was returned to us unopened. Arden didn't need the extra OmniPods, insulin, needles or food. In fact, she would have been just fine had I not sent any extra supplies, all she needed was the juice box that she always carries in her bag.
I want this story to illustrate that everything is possible with type I, but what I don't want is to make you feel like planning ahead isn't necessary. This trip included a number of conversations, pre planning, a well packed bag and a little luck. Actually, to show you how much luck - Arden's OmniPod experienced an error the morning after the concert and I had to go to school and change it around 8:30 am. Can you imagine if the pod would have shut down during the concert? I could, and that's why we had a plan for how to handle that situation, should it arise. We planned for every conceivable possibility and talked about each ahead of time so that if they did occur, no one would be caught off guard or be unprepared for what to do next.
Arden popped out of bed for school the next day and put on her concert t-shirt still smiling from the evening before -- suddenly, the effort that it took to get to that moment felt like no effort at all.