Mid-spread of the peanut butter on Joe's sandwich...
I stopped dead in my tracks...and did an about face to Joe.
I had been busily preparing breakfasts, lunches, Joe's Daily Diabetes Log, and micromanaging my trolls (my children, I can call them that) hygienic needs prior to our departure for school. Amidst the scuttlebutt, I was discussing next year with Joe. I was lamenting our "good-bye" to his current School Nurse. I was planning out our "care-plan" for next year. I said something like "...and next year we will run it the same...all your care in the classroom...except for lunch."
Shifting his weight, Joe seemed to struggle with the information he was going to share with me.
"Ahhhhhhh...Mom, none of my care is being done in my classroom."
"What? ... For how long Joe?"
*a disheartened ----*
As many of you know, I had worked diligently at the beginning of the school year to get more of Joe's care transitioned to the classroom. We had a plan in place. I thought it was being followed. I was under the impression Joe was not missing as much classroom time and I was under the impression that his days seemed more "normal" and "acceptable" to him. In fostering this plan, I had really backed off on my presence in the school. I drop off The Woodchuck to his classroom daily, but that is it. I had not met with the School regarding Joe's care in quite awhile. Things seemed to be going smoothly; I had become complacent.
Perhaps this issue doesn't seem like a big deal to many of you. Perhaps it seems trivial. It's not. It takes knowing the day-in-and-out of diabetes management intimately to truly "get it". During the school day, Joe requires a minimum of three blood sugar checks a day. On a Physical Education day, he requires four blood sugar checks. If he is experiencing lows, he could need many more checks. Each of these checks requires him to go to the Health Office. Many of these checks requires some sort of action: insulin dosing or sugar administration. If Joe is low he must stay in the Health Office for 15 minutes until his blood sugar is re-checked to ensure it is in a safe range. The long and the short of the previously written is that he misses a ton of classroom time.
Let's look at the psycho-social-emotional aspect of this. He misses instruction. He has been made fun of by his peers for not knowing what to do on assignments due to his missing key directions. He misses socializing during snack time. He may arrive to the lunch room late and have to socially navigate his seating arrangement after his peers have settled into their spots. This has been his arrangement for Kindergarten, for First Grade, for Second Grade, and now...apparently...for Third Grade too.
I discussed my concerns with the Principal and the School Nurse. I stated we can continue with the current arrangement as there is only 9 weeks of school left. I did impart this message upon them: I explained that Joe is more than "diabetes", much more. He is a bright, eager student. I would hate for his school day routine to be based solely on his health needs. He was ready for more independence. I wanted to nurture this. I wanted to foster it. I wanted to facilitate a learning environment that wasn't dictated by his diabetes care. My hope is that in the future the psycho-social-emotional aspect of a student's care is considered. Joe is oh,oh so much more than "diabetes".
Joe is an intelligent, independent child. He has an excellent grasp of his diabetes care and I was hoping to foster his growth and development by stream-lining his care in the school this year. I am not unhappy with the school. I feel that Joe is safe there. I feel he is cared for: the blood sugars are checked, the boluses for snack and lunch and highs are given, the lows are treated. I guess I was just hoping for a bit more.
Joe's day-in-the-life managing Type 1 in School.