Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Tale of a DD: Diabetic Diver (not designated driver, at least not this time)

Eleven years ago I was barely a teenager and eagerly anticipating the upcoming summer break. I had finally saved up enough money (through generous donations from family) to go to Space Camp; in my mind it was the Mecca of all summer camps. I sent away for the program brochure and wasted no time when it arrived, reading every page line by line. Back then it was a magazine, full of program dates, descriptions, prices, and pictures. Pretty soon I knew every program they offered and registered for my age category.

Even before my Space Camp adventure I dreamed of going back...I just knew that it was going to be even better than anything I could imagine. I was right about it topping my wildest imaginations, but I was unfortunately wrong about going back. And something stuck in my mind from the first time I read through the Space Camp magazine: SCUBA diving. It was only available during Advanced Space Academy and only in the Huntsville location (I went to Space Camp in California before it was closed). The reason it stuck in that noggin of mine was because I couldn't do it. Yup, it stated right there in that brochure "no divers with Type 1 Diabetes are allowed." To be honest, I had never even considered learning to SCUBA dive before, but there was just something about being told you couldn't do it that made me want to do it even more. To prove them wrong, to maybe get that little taste of weightlessness I had been wanting my entire life.

Time went by and I got more involved with other activities: handbells, marching band, internships, editor-in-chief duties, etc. I never got back to Space Camp and I never made it out to Huntsville. And I never pursued SCUBA diving because I was not strong enough back then to fight with certifying organizations about the Type 1 issue.

But then I did go to Huntsville....

I met the BF....

I worked at Space Camp (ok, so it was Aviation Challenge, close enough)...

I moved to Huntsville....

I helped the BF give his SCUBA briefings to the kids (many times lugging all the gear under the space shuttle and into Hab 1)....

And now...

I'm learning to SCUBA dive. This Saturday will be my second class. And I couldn't be happier. Thanks to the BF and DiveMastaaa Dana, I am doing something I was told I couldn't, and I'm doing it at the place I dreamed about.


I have to be extra vigilant about my blood sugars since I can't dive with the pump on. This requires waking up extra early on Saturdays to make sure my blood sugars are not only in line, but also steady. Last week my pre-dive number was 160 (I was ok with this since I didn't know how much activity we would be doing). My post-dive blood sugar was 192 (a little high, but we didn't swim as much as I thought, I will be adjusting this week). Of course, I have my glucose tabs and test kit just a few feet from the pool at all times, and I have a built-in safety net: the BF! He is helping to teach the class, so he checks up on me to make sure everything is A-OK. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity....even if it sorta feels like this:

What SCUBA really stands for: Somuch Clutta Underda Bad Assdiabetic