Sunday, November 11, 2007

Going Underground

Last year and the year before Daniel belonged to a youth group at our church. The kids took lots of excellent field trips, including outdoor education retreats, movie nights, packing food for shelters, whitewater rafting, and caving. Daniel's first time caving was with this group. Whereas I have a fear of climbing down under millions of pounds of earth into the dark, he found that he just loved wiggling through small muddy underground passages. He came home smelling like the bowels of the earth (there's a good reason for that term) and striped with mud, sweat, and joy. The team leader (an experienced caver) used Daniel's smaller frame to their advantage, sending him ahead into various passages. If Daniel couldn't fit through, nobody could.

His high school youth group has not taken the caving field trip. But today we saw the Jr. High group leader, who invited Daniel to come along on next year's Jr. High trip in an camp counselor type role. It's a two-day trip, and the overnight is spent in very rustic conditions. You're in shelter, and off the ground, but that's about as good as it gets. Daniel said that as dirty as they were, no one wanted to use the shower facilities. Ugh.

I explained to the group leader that we would have to do a lot of planning to make it possible for Daniel to go next year. He'd have to go into the caves carrying a small extra pack with bg monitor, quick sugar, insulin, etc. He'd have to have some way to clean off a finger in order to test his blood sugar. Because of his celiac, he couldn't rely on fast food stops along the way; we'd have to carry all his food with him.

I'd have to go with him.

Truly, the thought of crawling through caves pushes a severe claustrophobia button in me. However, the thought of Daniel going through caves without someone qualified to help him if he should have a diabetic catastrophe trumps that fear. I hope I have it in me. As always, he is my champion. He faces his disease everyday with equanimity and grace. I want to go underground for him with the same bearing.


in search of balance said...

You guys are so cool. I love that you're doing that for him, and I love that he's been invited to do that for others. Hope it's fun! I've done a bit of spelunking but I think I'm more like you than Daniel in my opinion of it....

Penny said...


I know you have it in you.

You are a great mom and I know that you will face your fears with the same grace that your son has when dealing with his diabetes and celiacs.

Naomi said...

We're probably not going until next summer, so I have a while to plan and build up to it. But believe me -- if/when it happens, there will be a digital record!