March 22, 2010

Wake Up Call!

Ally started first grade 7 months ago. I was a nervous wreck about sending her on the a new, very large school....where she would be away from me for a total of 8 hours and 20 minutes! I'm sure that I received the label of "Crazy Mom" before school even started. I called the school almost every other day for several weeks before school started. I wanted a meeting with the teacher, the nurse, anyone and everyone who would be responsible for Ally's care during those 8 hours and 20 minutes. This meeting did happen. Not soon enough for me, but it did happen and I was a tiny bit relieved. The nurse seemed very organized and capable. She had a total of 5 children with Type 1 Diabetes in the school. The first grade teacher also seemed comfortable with the situation, she had a student last year who had Type 1 Diabetes. Great! We were off to a good start!

My initial impressions of both the school nurse and Ally's first grade teacher were correct. I feel so blessed to have both of them looking after Ally during the school day. They both communicate with me on a regular basis. In fact, they usually think of things before I do! When the H1N1 flu was running rampant in the school, they moved the cart with all of the T1 kids' supplies out of the clinic. I was impressed that they were making an attempt to keep them from being exposed to all of the germs of the "sick" kids coming into the clinic. I was even more impressed when I found out that the supplies were moved right into the principal's office. I realized what a sacrifice she was making. Imagine...5 diabetic children, times at least 3 BG checks per day...that's at least 15 interruptions per day. I was truly grateful that they had gone above and beyond to protect my daughter!

But Friday I had a wake up call! I was at school in the morning, volunteering in my daughter's classroom for an hour. As I was leaving, the teacher mentioned to me that they had received an email that Ms. Nurse was out today and there was no sub. NO SUB! WHAT?!??! I went straight to the office and asked what their plan was? She told me that the nurse from the high school would come down during the lunch period. Fine. But what about the rest of the day? Ally checks her BG before lunch, before afternoon snack, before getting on the bus at dismissal, and, some days, an extra time when she has PE. Well, they hadn't figured it out yet. Huh? I told her that Ally was capable of checking her own BG, but that I wanted someone there making the decisions about what to do with the information. After all, she is only 6! She said that someone would be in the clinic with her. Then I said, what if there is an emergency? She said that they would call me if there were any problems. Again, huh? Would they even know there was a problem? Obviously, it was not this poor secretary's fault that the nurse was out sick, nor was it her fault that they were unable to find a sub. And it was also apparent that SHE had no idea about T1 diabetes or she wouldn't have given me those answers. I convinced myself that it would be alright and that it was only one day. Then I went home and worried myself sick until I saw Ally step off that school bus at 4:20.

I had a lot of time to think about it that afternoon. In fact, I didn't think of anything else. If I had it to do over again, I don't think I would have left Ally at school that day. I should have just taken her home with me! As it turns out, everything was ok. But just ok. She came home with her slip - the one that lists all of her BG numbers, carbs, boluses, etc for the day. It was all in HER handwriting. Now, I am all about including her and giving her responsibility, but she is 6 years old! I noticed that the slip said her BG was 95 just before getting on the bus. I made a comment about how it should be over 100 before riding on the bus for 40 minutes. Ally said, "Oh, its ok. I gave myself 2 glucose tablets." After asking a few questions, I figured out that she made this decison on her own and "the lady" (as Ally called her) that watched her check her BG didn't even know that she had taken them. I realized at that point that someone truly was in the clinic with her when she checked her BG - JUST WATCHING! I told Ally that I was proud of her for understanding that she needed a fast acting carb at this time of day, even though she was not "low". And then I asked her how she decided that 2 was a good number of glucose tablets to eat. She answered that she only had 2 left! GREAT! What if there were 10 left, would she have eaten all of them? Or what if she didn't have any? What if she hadn't even thought to take any, would she have dropped low on the bus ride home?

It was a wake up call for me! I can never let my guard down. I was becoming too comfortable that someone else was taking care of my baby, making sure that her safety was number one. In reality, I am the only one that will ensure that her safety is always the number one priority. I am not mad at the nurse, or the secretary (who was probably the one "watching" her in the clinic). But I am going to make sure that the next time there is NO SUB, there is a better plan for Ally's safety!


  1. WOW Misty we have been on the same page for a few blogs now!! However I feel this way ever day Cara is at school, in Canada the nurses only come into the schools just to check and do injections and then the kids are on their own for the day....ridiculous, I know! I feel like I'm holding my breath every time Cara leaves for school and I can breath until she is home from school. It's not a good feeling!!

    BTW your little Ally was dx the same time my Cara was :( and Ally sounds like a very mature six year old, way to go Ally for taking care of yourself!!

  2. Wow- sounds like Ally is pretty responsible for a 6 year old. I know just what you mean. I can't believe they'd allow a 6 year old that much responsibility. How scary.

    We are just transitioning over to Liam's preschool assuming some of his basic care while he's there, and I'm a bit of a wreck over that.

    I can't even wrap my brain around elementary school!

  3. Misti, I love your new blog! Nicki got me started and it's replaced my scrapbooking (although I still wish I had toime to scrapbook!) It's a wonderful chance to reflect on your day, and since my husband travels so much, he loves that he can get on anytime and recapture special moments. I'm proud of you for taking the time to do this... yeah!
    Mine is - Nothing as fancy as yours,looking forward to hearing more from you!!!

  4. Misty, how scary is that..."By the way, we have no one to check your kid, but we'll keep our eye on her!" At least you have a nurse, we have one come in one morning a week, so my kids call me 3 times a day and tell me the info, and I tell them what to do.

    I would make up a "cheat sheet" to hang in the clinic for when the regular nurse isn't there. Something that says what to do for each bracket of blood sugars, like 60-80 eat this, 81-100 eat that...and so forth. I have them in my boys classes hanging on the wall, just in case they call and my cell died or something.

    I kinda have to laugh, because I would have done the same thing. I would have taken the leap of faith that all would be well...and then worried myself sick all the day long! I'm glad it all worked out!

  5. Way to go, Ally! I'm so impressed with her responsibility! But that's scary. I agree- no nurse is a big deal. You whip 'em into shape over the next couple of years so they're ready for us when we start first grade! :)

  6. We are very fortunate to have a school nurse. We were building in a house in a different district and pulled out (lost our deposit) when we discovered that district didn't have school nurses.

    But...there are days that the nurse is off....and...EEK!!!!!!! I feel your pain!

    Addy is 6 too and she just started figuring out how to treat herself too...I still don't feel comfortable letting her loose, but it's good to see them being proactive for themselves!

    BTW....LOVE LOVE LOVE Ally's little book :) That was so sweet!!!!!!

    Let us know how you work it out.

  7. I went through the SAME THING this past Friday. No school nurse! No "real" sub! The nurse took a vacation day, and a cafeteria aide covered her office for the day. Jack is also six, and I worried all day. His teachers are trained and have cheat sheets, but still, I worried. I went in at lunch time to administer his insulin. But as much as my visit was about giving him a shot, it was also about just seeing for myself that he was fine. Our nurse brings me peace. I am beyond grateful that we have a full-time nurse who takes good care of my little guy.

  8. Well I just read Nicole's post and put a long comment over there. We too went through the same thing last year...but the school would not even allow another staff member besides the school nurse to do ANY of Joe's care...not help with a blood sugar check, treat a low, etc. So I had to go in a literally sit at the school on the days that there was no sub-nurse. This only happened for like to afternoons before I remedied the situation. I went to the district and since they would NOT delegate, they decided to bump up the school nurse sub pay to get a pool of sub nurses. This has worked out well for sure. I usually need to go over Joe's care when I drop him off and they call me with each blood sugar number etc...but it has worked out well.

    I eventually got the "delegation" issue situated as well with a doctor's order. I felt it was just too unsafe to only have one adult in the building that was allowed and trained to help we have like 4 adults at the school trained on type 1 in general, checking blood sugars, treating lows, and glucagon administration.

    Best of luck to you. I think you definitely need to schedule a meeting with your school nurse and have a "plan" for when she is absent.



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