LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Long-time, regular readers of this column already know that I, along with son Christopher and 5-year-old grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) are diabetics. I’m Type 2, which means I get by with oral medication, paying close attention to what I eat and as much physical exercise as I can muster. Both Chris and TKO are insulin dependent but Tyler gets the short end of that stick. Chris usually only has to do blood tests and injections twice a day.
TKO has an insulin pump that has to be taken out and reinserted every two or three days, but he has to have a minimum of 6 blood tests daily and count every carbohydrate he ingests so that he can regulate his insulin intake. He has had the disease since just before his third birthday but already he can pretty well manage it with minimal assistance. Tyler can administer his own blood tests and count carbs with the best of ‘em. I’ve never once heard him complain or expect special treatment because he’s diabetic.
Regular readers also know that Tyler’s parents, Kevin and our daughter, Jennifer Ochs, his big brother Braden, his grandparents and a host of other relatives and close friends are very active in The American Diabetes Association, most particularly in that organization’s annual “Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes.”
You also know that, about this time every year, I call on Points East readers to help sponsor Team TKO’s participation in that event, scheduled, this year, for May 31, 2014 at Keeneland.
Sometime I think that Tyler ought to be the poster boy for juvenile diabetes. He is as active and onery as most other 5-year-olds and if you saw him in his tee-ball, baseball uniform, up to bat, or running the base paths, you would never guess that he has an insulin pump taped to his belly and a needle poked into his abdomen. But you would see grandpa, both his grandmas and his mom cringe every time he slides into home plate or any other base, for that matter.