Summer has arrived! School is out, the days get longer and it’s a great time to be outside. For kids all across the country, it’s also time to head to camp!
There are lots of different camps for kids. There are sports camps for swimming or golf. Or you can go to a creative arts camp to learn to dance, play an instrument or draw. There are also camps that teach you more about a subject at school, like math or science.
There are even camps for kids with bleeding disorders! You can find a bleeding disorders camp near you. Just like at other camps, you can swim, canoe, hike and do arts and crafts or drama when you’re away at bleeding disorders camp. Meeting new friends and having a good time with your counselors make camp fun. And at a bleeding disorders camp, you might learn how to infuse— putting medicine right into your veins—on your own, too!
[Steps for Living: All About Camps]
Learning how to self-infuse factor is a big deal. It can be really hard to think about doing it on your own. And if your mom and dad always do it for you, you might wonder why you should learn to do it yourself. But knowing how to give yourself factor can open up lots of doors to trying new things.
Infusing at camp is different from infusing at home. Your parents won’t be there with you, but you’ll have friends, counselors and nurses to cheer you on. Most of the counselors also have bleeding disorders, so they’ll know how it feels to infuse for the first time. And some of your new friends at camp will be learning right along with you!
There are a lot of steps you’ll take before you can infuse on your own. Working with a nurse at camp, you’ll first talk about bleeding disorders. Make sure you know your “diagnosis,” which means exactly what type of bleeding disorder you have. You’ll also need to know what kind of factor product you use. That’s step one!
Next, you’ll learn how to prepare the area for the infusion. Everyone who self-infuses needs to be careful so that infection or diseases don’t get into your blood. That means washing your hands, getting your supplies ready and making sure they’re clean. You’ll need to wear gloves and make sure your infusion area is also clean before you start. You’ll also begin to mix your own factor.
The next step is the biggest: the poke, and doing the whole infusion from start to finish. It can be hard, but you’ll have lots of help nearby. After you give yourself the poke and do a full infusion on your own, it’s time to celebrate! Your camp will have a special awards ceremony for you and all your friends who’ve learned how to self-infuse.
The last step is learning how to clean up and log in your infusion. Then you’re done. You will have given yourself your first infusion—all on your own!
Most bleeding disorders camps are a week long, so you’ll have all week to learn how to infuse. There’s no rush to learn, and there’s plenty of time to practice and get better during the week. Even if you’re not sure you want to try it, you can go to camp, see what your friends are doing and then make a decision once you get there. You should also talk to your parents about self-infusing before you go to camp. It’s supposed to be an exciting time—not scary! So don’t feel pressured to learn. It’s all up to you. And if you don’t get it the first year you go to camp, don’t worry. You can always try again next year!
Just remember: If you do learn to self-infuse at camp, it’s important to check in with your local treatment center when you get home. You want to make sure that what you learned about infusion at camp is OK with your regular nurses. It’s also OK if you need to ask questions later from your nurses at the treatment center or your parents about self-infusing. If they give you the green light to keep infusing on your own, then you’re all set!