Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Tricky Balance

Before the first day of school, we had our annual visit with the nurse and this year's teachers.  There is a stipulation for this meeting in my daughter's 504 plan.  The purpose is to make sure the teachers understand what Type 1 Diabetes is, and how it affects my daughter's daily routine.  We review her low blood sugar symptoms, show everyone her pump, and discuss her need to pop down to the nurse's office on occasion.

It's a tricky balance, this meeting. 

On the one hand, the purpose is to make clear that diabetes is a serious thing to contend with.  Untreated low blood sugars could lead to confusion or even fainting.  High blood sugar during an important test could result in poor grades. Skipping morning snack can throw her out of whack for the rest of the day. Forgetting to bring the little bag with meter and glucose tabs outside during a fire drill or real emergency could, unnecessarily, result in an even bigger emergency.

On the other hand, we're trying to convey that my daughter is a regular kid and wants to be treated as such.  This is something she lives with every day, and if we were in a constant state of alarm or anxiety about it, we'd never survive. Once she gets the hang of the weekly routine, she wants to slip in and out of the classroom unnoticed.  If she raises her hand and says she feels low, a buddy needs to be assigned to quietly escort her downstairs, but there need not be a sense of panic throughout the classroom.  Her teachers should be concerned about her, but not asking her if she's o.k. every 15 minutes.  On a regular basis, she needs no special treatment or accomodation.

The essential message is this: "This diabetes thing is a really big deal.  Please don't make a really big deal about it." 

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