- advertisement -

My Conversation with Fran Stephenson from Seaworld

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Brensdad, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Rachel

    Rachel Approved members

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Messages:
    834
    So sorry to hear what's going on, Amy. Sending you well wishes from MN for a speedy diagnosis of and recovery from whatever Emma has.

    About pre-school ... during my son's first year last year I stayed on site for most all the time. (It is a U lab school so there was an observation booth I could hang in and a parent/student/teacher lounge.) Maybe for now, given all you have going on, it might be a more realistic goal not to leave her in their care completely, but for you to stay on site and disappear to a corner out of her room for blocks of time, then pop in for snack or whenever testing is needed. It might seem a little hover-y to some but for us it worked well, especially during pump start in the fall and then CGM start in the spring when things were so new for all of us. Then when things settle down a bit you could pass over more of the care to the staff ... just a thought to take at least one thing off your plate.

    Hang in there.
     
  2. Lizzy731

    Lizzy731 Approved members

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,509

    I think that's the best request yet!!!
     
  3. franstep

    franstep New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Reply from SeaWorld

    Thank you to the members of this forum for your patience as we work through these issues. Your concerns are important to us and we take them very seriously.

    I spoke to Nicholas Holmes (brensdad) by phone about his family’s experience at our park earlier this month. We had a productive conversation about their visit and how we can work to better accommodate families working through diabetic challenges. The Holmes family received a letter today in which we apologized for their bad experience. We included a full refund, and an invitation to return as our guests.

    Here are some things we are still working on:
    • The issue of leaving medical bags or personal items in a ride loading zone, as I discussed with Mr. Holmes, is a particularly sensitive safety issue. Since we recognize the need to have critical medical supplies at hand, we are looking at alternatives.

    • Until this week, we were unaware of the critical need to give a diabetic child liquids with a straw. Small juice box-sized straws are a potentially deadly danger to our animals. They are transparent in water and can lodge in their airways. We are working on an alternative, most likely cups with integrated straws that we will give free to our diabetic guests.

    • This weekend, our Operations team members will participate in a training session to educate them on recognizing and assisting guests with special needs. Special focus will be given to our guests with diabetes.

    • Next week, key members of our leadership team will meet with the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association to work together to devise alternative strategies to address needs of our diabetic guests.

    We are interested in hearing your ideas on how we can improve the experience of children with diabetes in our parks, either through this forum or directly through me.

    Thank you.


    Fran Stephenson
    Director of Communications
    SeaWorld San Antonio
     
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    8,240
    Fran, thank you for trying. My one concern is that ADA may not be the appropriate organization to educate you on young children with diabetes. Perhaps a certified diabetes educator from a local pediatric endocrinologist's office, and some parents of young children with diabetes would be more appropriate. Please keep us updated on what you learn.
     
  5. mmc51264

    mmc51264 Approved members

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    298
    I find it hard to believe that as common as diabetes is becoming (unfortunately), that no one in the SeaWorld organization has any direct contact with a Type 1 diabetic. I really hope they make good on their promises. I would like to take my children there someday.
     
  6. badshoe

    badshoe Approved members

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Thanks for the U turn Fran, good first steps steps towards recovery. Nobody is questioning your commitment to your animals lives. We appreciate the steps you are taking towards learn that straws can be, unfortunately, critical to our children's lives.

    I agree with Ellen. (When in doubt, I think we all do) You may want to talk to a certified diabetes educator, you local Children's Hospital could be a good resource.

    ADA is a very good organization. Their legal advocate Crystal Jackson in particular is an outstanding advocate of T1 kids who face discrimination.

    However unless Sea World makes the effort to learn the difference's between T1 and T2 ADA's type 2 focus is potentially source of misunderstanding of the issues that brought this matter to such a heightened level of attention.
     
  7. Brensdad

    Brensdad Approved members

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,383
    Jeff, can you give this its own thread beginning with Fran's response? It will be easier for everyone to leave suggestions and comments. Thanks!
     
  8. Flutterby

    Flutterby Approved members

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Messages:
    14,623
    Fran, I think you are headed in the right direction. and I appreciate you coming back here to let us know what is going on. I agree with the others that the ADA is probably not the best source just because they do so much with type 2 as well.. you want someone that knows the ins and outs of the Type 1 in children.. a certified diabetes educator is an excellent idea..

    We all know that these straws are very dangerous for the sea animals (for all animals.. ) and I am glad to you are realizing just how important they are to our children. I'm glad you came back here to let us know the changes that you'll be making.. please come back and let us know how these changes are continuing..

    But, this isn't all about the straws either. I see no mention anywhere about training staff on being there to help customers.. we are all costumers when we pay so much to get into the park.. I think some serious BASIC costumer service training and guidlines need to be done and followed. Obviously this is a huge problem, since it wasn't just 'kid helper' that gave such an attitude, but they encountered it THROUGHOUT the park.. In your next update I'd like to know what disiplinary action was taken against such 'kid helper' to ensure that this will never happen to another family, diabetes or no diabetes. She was completely rude in so many different ways. I've worked in Customer service for over 10 years. If I ever even THOUGHT about speaking to a customer that way, I'd fire myself! I do hope that some disiplinary action was taken against 'Kid Helper' and if she is to remain her position (I'd find it hard to believe that anyone would be left in this position after what they've done.) she is to take some sort of sensitivity class and a load of customer service classes. I just don't understand how someone so rude and disrespectful can be in that kind of position! Maybe as part of her training she should follow Emma's family around all day, so she can see what its really like. To just hear people discribe it isn't enough, she needs to LIVE it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2007
  9. EmmasMom

    EmmasMom Approved members

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    2,689
    Thank you for keeping us up to date here at CWD, and for the letter my family received today. We sincerely appreciate the apology and are very glad to hear that some important changes are in the works at Sea World.
    Few people truly understand what is involved in caring for a young child who’s life depends on careful insulin regulation, and how delicate that balance can be. Our children look and seem perfectly normal, so to many it doesn't appear to be a "serious" disability. When you add that misconception to the rampant confusion between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the lack of understanding becomes a constant source of frustration for those of us who “live” this disease everyday.

    I recently wrote out some of the basic information and facts about type 1 diabetes for my daughter's preschool, and a small portion of what is involved in her daily care. I'd like to share them with you, and hopefully you will share them with some of the people you'll be meeting with in the next few days. I hope it will help educate and enlighten them about the seriousness of this disease and what these kids face everyday.

    We look forward to enjoying a safer, friendlier Sea World in the near future!

    Amy Holmes



    Type 1 Diabetes Basics

    Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that impairs the body’s ability to use food. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, allows the body to convert food into energy. In people with type 1 diabetes the pancreas has been permanently damaged and can not make insulin. Without insulin, the body’s main energy source—glucose—cannot be used as fuel. Instead, glucose builds up in the blood while the body’s cells starve.
    The majority of children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin and must receive insulin through either frequent injections or an insulin pump to survive. Insulin taken in this manner does not cure diabetes and can cause the blood glucose level to become dangerously low. All people with type 1 diabetes must carefully balance food, insulin and activity level to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Frequent blood sugar testing is imperative for control of type 1 diabetes.
    Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) is the most common immediate health problem for children on insulin. It occurs when the body gets too much insulin, too little food, a delayed meal, or more than the usual amount of exercise. Symptoms of mild to moderate hypoglycemia include hunger, shaking, sweating, light-headedness, irritability, confusion, and drowsiness, (some children may not have any obvious symptoms). A child with this degree of hypoglycemia will need to ingest carbohydrates immediately and may require assistance. Severe hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness and convulsions and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
    High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) occurs when the body has too little insulin; or too much food, or it may be caused by stress or an illness such as a cold. The most common symptoms of hyperglycemia are thirst, frequent urination, and blurry vision. If untreated over a period of days, hyperglycemia can cause a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and a high level of ketones in the blood and urine. For children using insulin pumps, lack of insulin supply may lead to DKA rapidly. DKA can be life-threatening and thus requires immediate medical attention.


    A Few Type 1 Diabetes Facts

    • It is caused by an auto-immune attack that destroys insulin producing cells
    • It can not be prevented or reversed, and will never be outgrown.
    • Insulin is the only treatment and it is required for life, there is no cure.
    • “A carb is a carb” All carbohydrates are converted to glucose in your body, so they all require insulin. 15 grams of carbs will require the same amount of insulin whether it comes from fruits & vegetables, bread and pasta or candy and cookies.
    • Sugar is not prohibited, and is not “bad” for people with type 1 diabetes. It is simply a carbohydrate that must be matched with insulin to be used by their body.
    • Modern medicine and technology allow people with type 1 diabetes to live long, healthy, normal lives! They can do anything, it just requires some extra planning!
    Emma’s Diabetes Management Plan



    Emma has type 1 diabetes and wears an insulin pump that gives her insulin 24 hours a day, as well as a CGMS, (continuous glucose monitoring sensor), that sends constant readings of the glucose level in her body to her pump. These are great tools to help her live as normally as possible, but they are not always perfect, and they do not replace the need for careful monitoring and finger stick testing.

    She is not able to tell us when her blood sugar is low, so she will need to be watched closely for possible symptoms, and have her CGMS readings double checked with a finger stick anytime she exhibits symptoms, (no matter what the CGMS says). Anytime the unit alarms with a low blood glucose value she will need a finger stick immediately. Low blood sugar is the most critical, immediate danger she faces and it must be identified and treated promptly to keep her safe.
    Her testing kit and fast acting sugar must be easily accessible at all times, and should go everywhere she goes. (Extra glucose and juice boxes will always be available in her classroom.) There must also be someone available at all times who is willing to administer an injection of glucagon in an emergency situation. Glucagon will be kept in her classroom at all times with detailed instructions.

    She will also need a finger stick to check her blood sugar prior to eating her snack, and her carbohydrates need to be counted and entered into her pump. This will allow her pump to calculate the amount of insulin she needs for her snack. She can normally eat anything other children eat, and nothing is completely off limits, but it must be matched with insulin for her body to process it. Please alert me about any “special” class snacks so I can figure out the carbs for you.

    If her blood sugar is over 200 prior to snack time she will need additional water to drink, and possibly an alternative low carb snack. I will provide carb count information, a scale and measuring spoons/cups, and alternate food items to make the process as easy as possible for everyone. It is normal for her blood sugar to spike after she eats, and this is not reason for concern as long as it returns to a normal range within two hours. If her CGMS alarms once with a high blood glucose value after her snack it just needs to be silenced.

    Blood sugar balance is affected by many things other than food, and there are many possible causes for high blood sugar, including stress, excitement, illness, vigorous activity, medications, and even pain. There is little immediate danger in moderately elevated blood sugar during the short amount of time she’ll be at school, but if her blood sugar stays high, or rises to unsafe levels, (anything above 300 on the CGMS), she will need to have a finger stick to confirm the actual blood glucose level and current blood ketone level.
    High blood sugar levels combined with high blood ketone levels, (anything above 0.6), may mean she’s not getting insulin through her pump, this is a serious problem that can cause her to become seriously ill in a short amount of time. Please alert me immediately if her insulin pump site is ever accidentally dislodged so I can replace it quickly.


    ...it goes on, but it wont fit on one post. I'm sure you get the idea!;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2007
  10. susan

    susan Approved members

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,101
    I just find it amazing that a group of strangers brought together by a common cause can have such an impact..
     
  11. badshoe

    badshoe Approved members

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    A few weeks back I emailed Auggie Busch the 4th.

    My letter and the reply from Sea World are on http://YDMV.net
     
  12. Momof4gr8kids

    Momof4gr8kids Approved members

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Messages:
    4,143
    One thing that drives me batty is that they (Sea world) published the personal info when responding in this forum. Bennet edited it in his post which is how it should be IMO.
     
  13. Brensdad

    Brensdad Approved members

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,383
    What's encouraging about that letter is that the news seems to have travelled throughout the company. That's the kind of penetration we need as advocates. I can assure you I will not let up.

    Again, I couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks especially to Bennet.
     
  14. badshoe

    badshoe Approved members

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    OK so now we have SeaWorld & NYTimes

    Who next?
     
  15. frizzyrazzy

    frizzyrazzy Approved members

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    14,141
    (not to make fun of this very serious situation) But this sounds like the making of a great superhero - diabetes crusaders, roaming the country, righting the wrongs wherever they can be found!
     
  16. badshoe

    badshoe Approved members

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    What's wrong with making fun? We maybe serious about D care but that doesn't mean we have to be solemn about it too. Jeez one is hard enough I ain't even trying for both.
     
  17. frizzyrazzy

    frizzyrazzy Approved members

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Messages:
    14,141
    hehee, well that's why it didn't stop me from actually making fun of the situation....notice how people do that? they say "not to be rude" and then they are rude or "not to make fun" and then they do lol.

    have you seen LOLdiabetes yet?? I know you'd love it - and would probably add a few.... http://loldiabetes.wordpress.com/
    I agree - wayyyyyyy too much other crap in the world to be serious about - and yeah, being serious about diabetes is fine, but it's ok to laugh at it too. I just didn't want them to think I was making light of their particular struggle which was not funny at all.

    Oh so you haven't answered what was actually a challenge - do you have the cape? are you guys the diabetes superheros??
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  18. tjirvin314

    tjirvin314 Approved members

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    65
    Wow D and Lupus??

    I am shocked to find your post that they think Emma might have JRA or Lupus, I have not heard of a child so young being diagnosed with either.
    My 2 year old has diabetes and I have Lupus (i was diagnosed at 16 and am now 26), so you can see my concern for a child who might have both. If I can be of any help please feel free to email or message me via the board. Also, my old ped rheumatologist from Chicago, is now in Denver I think, her name was Dr. Rabinovich. Wouldnt it be coincidental if you saw her?? Anyhow please let me know if I can offer any help or support.
    -Trisha
     

Share This Page

- advertisement -

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice