Amusement park rides.

Type 1 diabetes and amusement park rides are not so amusing when put together. Even less so when the person riding them is a child living with Type 1 Diabetes. They are not so fun for the person who is patiently waiting in the wings for the ride to be over either.

As many of you know Type 1 diabetes is nothing if not unpredictable. Stress, excitement, hormones, illness, the weather, and the tides apparently can affect the blood sugar of a person with Type 1 diabetes. This also holds true when amusement park rides are thrown in the mix.

Each time my 7 year old son stepped on line to enjoy a ride my heart started to beat faster. I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be the ride that would cause his sugar to drop too low. I wonder what he will do if he is mid-way through a scary ride and he starts to feel ‘shaky’, his terminology for going low. Would he have the sense of self, while on a scary ride, while trying to hold on,  to go in his pocket to take out the candy that we have in there in case of  low?

Would you?

Yes, we test his sugar as we make our way through the rides, but it is not possible and I believe downright mean to check my son’s sugar before every single ride. I just won’t do that to him. Talk about sucking the fun right out of the air. And quite honestly it wouldn’t tell me much. Yes, his number could be perfectly in range before going on the ride, but if there is a line before the actual ride, and if there is a wait for the ride to start, there is more distance put between the last number I have on his meter and the level where his body actually is.

I watch his face closely as he waits for the ride to start. I try to analyze the look on his face. Smiling and happy are easy ones to interpret, he is feeling good in both body and spirit. It’s the more serene faces that make me nervous. I have to wonder from the sideline if his face is telling me he is a bit scared of the ride he has chosen, or his body is not feeling right. I never know what the face is telling me. I have taken to giving my son the thumbs up signal in hopes that he will reply in a similar manner, thumbs up, to let me know that all is ok, at least diabetes wise. He may be scared of the ride, but that is a rite of passage to growing up. To go low on a ride is not. Going low is not a rite of passage to anything, going low just stinks.

I could live my whole life without ever going to an amusement park again, but I don’t think my son would appreciate that. And so it goes. We will go to amusement parks, although I am not amused, and we will pack our gummy lifesavers, glucose drinks, Starburst, extra test strips, and Glucagon. And despite all this preparation and worry, we will have fun. Diabetes is tough, but rest assured, we are tougher. Six Flags here we come!!