Sunday, November 11, 2007
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.