Full story here:
Sometimes you give unintended advice. If you watch the Utube video there is a moment around 2:50 where I demonstrate the art of licking the blood off your finger after you poke yourself. The kids instantly pick up on it, and it's a funny reminder of the first time I realized you don't have to use a cotton ball every time you prick your finger (no one i know does except nurses in a hospital) or that you can inject needles through your pants. I hope this serves them well, saves them time and countless cotton balls.
Mission Completed! We joined forces with Will from Team DiaBeetle (www.DiaBeetle.com) and visited the diabetic children's camp operated by the non-profit organization Operation Mercy (www.Mercy.se). The camp is located 1 hour east from Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
The camp is a camp for diabetic children and their parents from remote area of Tajikistan. Some of them lived 100 km away from the closest endocrinology doctor.
Both Will and I have had type-1 diabetes since adolescence and during the session we gave some advice to the children and parents.
I've worked with Diabetic youth before when I was a camp counsellor for kids with Diabetes after my freshman year in college. What stuck out most to me about the the QA session in this mission was the simultaneous differences and similarities that instantly pop out between type 1 diabetes in the U.S. and Tajikistan.
For instance, all young kids seem to feel a little bit like an outcast when they come down with Diabetes.... which is why a gathering place like a camp can be such a positive experience for them to connection with others in a similar situation.
But the differences were more severe and really threw me for a loop when a mother asks, "what do you do when you can't get insulin FOR A MONTH because the pharmacy is all out". I would have a very very tough time functioning a month without insulin!!!!
There were also some very interesting questions and a couple of penetrating questions I'd like to share.
Questions like "I'm worried about giving my child insulin because I'm afraid they'll get addicted to it" can be brushed off as a need for more diabetic awareness
But the skepticism reflected in basic questions like, "Before we had no (or very little) type-1 diabetes in Tajikistan, now there is much . What causes this increase", reminded me how little we actually know about this autoimmune disorder, and how hard it would be to accept treatment from around the world.
(some scientist say the rapid increase in type-1 diabetes an epidemic that cannot be explained by genetics alone http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21844707)"
A HUGE THANK YOU to Team DiaBeetle for setting this all up! Nice work Will; so nice to meet and hang with you. Thanks to Operation Mercy for their great work!