Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Thank You" ... It Is Not Quite Enough.

A little over a week ago...On Joe's last day of Third Grade and his last day at Hiawatha Elementary School...

Written and folded into a paper airplane by Joe's School Nurse:

A 4 YEAR JOURNEY...

NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN.

A SPECIAL STUDENT WHO TOUCHED MY LIFE!

A SPECIAL FAMILY WHO MOVED ME!

SOME OF THE LESSONS LEARNED:  HOW TO BE BRAVE, SMARTER, PATIENT, KIND, HARD WORKING, FLEXIBLE, SAFE, A BETTER PERSON, A BETTER FRIEND, GOOD WITH NUMBERS, A BETTER READER, A BETTER NURSE AND A BETTER HUMAN BEING IN HAVING MY LIFE TOUCHED BY YOU JOE MAHER AND FAMILY!

THE LIST COULD GO ON...BUT I WANT THE PLANE TO FLY AND I WANT YOU TO FLY JOE, FLY ON IN LIFE AND COME BACK AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU BECOME SOMEDAY!


Kindergarten Joe

I would search the building for her.  I would.  My eyes would have to meet hers before I would leave him there; before I would leave Joe for his full days of Kindergarten.  It was an unspoken thing.  It was a security thing.  It was a "I need to know my kid is gonna make it through the day alive" thing.  The School Nurse was Joe's life-line, which in turn made her mine.

As many of you know, Joe was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was three years old.  I had attended preschool with him for weeks, while the staff learned how to check blood sugars and to treat lows.  I was present for daily snack times to dose Joe with Insulin, as the school ... and I ... were not ready for that responsibility shift.  I had been Joe's pancreatic~shadow for two years prior to his Kindergarten year.  I was not comfortable leaving him with many people, not even Dave.  In hindsight, yes, I realize that this was not a "healthy choice" for myself, for Joe, or for my family.  But, it was how it went down.

After reading the above, you can only begin to imagine the anxiety I experienced when sending Joe "away" for full day Kindergarten.  To experience 7 hours away from Joe, from the numbers, from the "micromanaging", from the tweaking was a bit of a shock.  Frankly, I cried for the first few days of school.  Not sure if the tears were out of happiness, sadness, or fear ... or what.  Perhaps they, the tears, were out of relief.  It was a relief to have a break.  It was a relief to not clock watch.  It was a relief to not carb count.  It was a relief to not bolus, to not worry about activity, to not throw test strips away, to not tote sugar sources.  More importantly ... most importantly ... obviously ... It was a relief to know that he was in safe, capable, and in the most caring of hands.

As Joe matured and traversed the First, Second, and Third Grades he was supported in his growing independence in regards to his diabetes care in the school.  I did not hover.  I did not need to see the School Nurse before I was able to leave Joe at school.  Eventually, I would just drop Joe and "Woodchuck" off at the curb.  The School Nurse and the staff knew Joe; they knew diabetes.  They cared for and nurtured Joe as a growing boy, student, and pancreas.

The School Nurse was integral in facilitating Joe's independence in a safe manner.  She got it.  She shifted and followed Joe's lead.  For Joe to "fly" he needs to learn to manage diabetes safely and independently.  He is well on his way thanks to you Mrs. C. 

A day-in-the-life of "Thank You" just not seeming like quite enough.

18 comments:

NikDuck said...

Well, it's always good to start the day with a good cry huh? Thanks for that Reyna this morning!! Ha...love this post! LOVE the paper airplane note the nurse wrote to Joe! I do believe our d-kids have such an impact on those who care for them and others in their life.

I think Natalie making me walk her in each morning this year was for my own benefit too so I could see Mrs. Gray each day and know all would be okay. The tears the first few days...yep I can relate. I had the same feeling. I appreciated the break from all the d-care and having someone who cared share the burden with me.

Thanks for sharing!

Sherry said...

Wow. What a lovely post. I can relate to so much of this.

Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

That letter just hits to the core. What a wonderful blessing she was!

Stephanie said...

Awww!!! It is so wonderful and comforting to have that kind of relationship with the school nurse. We are lucky enough to have that too...even though I am still at the stage where I walk Adam into the health office EVERY SINGLE DAY to drop off his kit and let them know how is night was...I know that someday soon I'll be able to just drop Adam off and trust that all will be well. :)

Kelly said...

Fly Joe, Fly! I just love everything about this one...from the airplane tribute to how Joe has been able to use his wings slowly through the wonderful support of others! xoxo

Colleen said...

I know! Promote the fabulous, wonderful, loving nurse to the 4th grade!
Seriously, Joe was fortunate to have such great support at school.
Made me cry, too.

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

Chills and tears and smiles!
So wonderful when our kids become like family to those with whom we trust their lives during the school day! Such a comfort for us, too, know they are loved and cared for while out of our reach.

sky0138 said...

ahh that is amazing. I am truly greatful that there are people like her out there in the world. LOVE!

Barb Wagstaff (Diabetes Advocacy) said...

What an amazing nurse! I too love the fact that she used an airplane and told him to fly. I completely understand the fear of letting go. I went to preschool with my son and eventually got kicked out of kindergarten by his teacher (who is also a friend). We never had a nurse but the special people in their lives that "get it" are so amazing and wonderful. Going to wipe the tears now! Thanks for sharing!!

shannon said...

beautiful words from both you and the nurse.

my kid's school nurse was let go at the end of this year due to budgetary reasons. so the one person i've come to trust in the care of L over the last 3 years is gone. i had a hard time saying goodbye to her.

onward.

LuvMyElyssa said...

OMG what a wonderful letter. I pray everyday that when it's time for my daughter to go to school I hope we are blessed with a wonderful nurse.

Tracy1918 said...

What a great post and a great nurse!

Shannon@ The New Normal Life said...

this was an amazing post. It gives me hope that Joshua's nurse will be as good and care as much for him. Sending you love and hugs!

Sarah said...

aww man this made me cry. I am such a sap. I have to be honest, I am so unprepared for Isaac leaving to go to school full time...I am so glad we have another year. You are truly lucky to have such an incredible experience, I can only hope ours will be the same :)

katy said...

what a nurse! i love her.

Jules said...

Oh, the anxiety at leaving joe for 7 hours. Totally relate.

Anonymous said...

Dear Reyna,
i think i am in love.
Love Joe. Love your writing. Love your FAMILY.
...and yet, we've never met.

Inspiration can come from the most interesting places.
i am so happy to have visited...and i thank YOU!

Joe WILL fly of course!

Godspeed!

muffinmoon said...

I feel like crying because I still don't feel right leaving Frank with nayine. Even my husband, who is so good at it all. Fear is such a huge factor in all this. Thanks for this post, Reyna, I am so glad you had this amazing woman in Joe's and your life.x