By Brian Unterborn, age 14, Kendall, New York
On April 21st to the 25th, 1997, I went on an eighth grade class trip to Washington D.C. This took a lot of planning with my PKU.
First I had to take care of my formula. My mom and I decided to buy a portable battery operated mixer to mix my formula with. Our next decision was when I would drink the formula. We decided I would drink some in the hotel room before breakfast. I would drink some after lunch on the bus. For dinner I would drink it when we got back to the hotel.
I took extra food just in case. We packed foods that didnít have a high phe count so I could eat them if I got hungry. I brought fruit snacks, fun size cereal boxes, and fruit.
Before the trip I talked to the trip advisor, Mrs. Crowe. She understood about my PKU and she also arranged for me to have a refrigerator in my room for my formula and foods. My mom and I also e-mailed Virginia Schuett for advice on travelling.
On the morning of April 21st my eighth grade class set out for Washington D.C. I was all packed and ready.
In Washington I got to see almost everything. I saw the White House but we could only see it from the outside. My class also took tours of the Capital building and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I saw the Wall and the Korean War Memorial. We also went to the zoo and the National Cathedral.
For breakfast, I would usually have hash browns. Breakfast was served at the hotel. For lunch we would go to a restaurant. I would usually have a salad. Dinner was also at a restaurant. I would have either French fries or another salad.
At the end of each meal I would write down what I ate and how many equivalents it was. So, at the end of the day I would see how much I would need to make up with the foods from home.
All in all it was a pretty successful trip. I had a lot of fun and it helped me be able to keep my diet on track by myself with no one to refer to. If any of you kids have the opportunity to take a class trip away from home, take it.
By Helen Unterborn, Kendall, NY
From a momís point of view the trip was a great opportunity but also Brianís first real challenge of maintaining his diet on his own. I was nervous but in looking back I think we did a pretty good job of preparing him for this challenge.
Since Brian has been in 9 or 10 we have gradually been transferring the responsibility of his diet to him. We began by teaching him and then making him responsible for his formula preparation. When he was very comfortable with that we gave him the task of planning and preparing his lunches for school.
By the time Brian was 12 he was responsible for his food choices and ensuring he met his phe requirements for the day. On our own vacations and while dining out we began discussing choices he could make from the menu and which were best for each particular situation.
Today Brian is 14 and totally responsible for all aspects of his diet. He even makes a better loaf of bread than I do! All of this gradually developed independence made the trip a possibility for Brian. More importantly maintaining his diet is a way of life for Brian and when he is on his own, I have confidence he will do well.