Back to School
For the first time, diabetes wasn't a big back to school issue here.
All of the forms from the endocrinologist were filled out, signed and turned in to the nurse in June.
There were no treatment or equipment changes over the summer to educate the school staff about.
We packed up the bag of supplies and checked it twice.
It's been our tradition to drop off the supplies a day or two before school starts. This visit has always included at least a quick check-in with the nurse and until 6th grade with teachers as well. We go over any changes from the previous year and answer any questions.
This year we had only one free morning during the two days when staff were in the building for meetings and setting up. We learned the nurse might not be available when we arrived. She was not. We left the well-labeled bag in the office. We missed saying 'hello' and exchanging pleasantries about the summer. Otherwise we had no concerns about not meeting face to face.
The nurse has not yet needed to call home.
Reports are good about lunch. She's sitting with friends of her choice, and she's finishing in time to go outside with everyone else.
There have been no classroom-related diabetes concerns.
This appears to be a non-story until it's put in perspective.
Seven years ago this same girl started Kindergarten. The preparation was extensive. We spent hours in the nurse's office reviewing every detail of the care she needed. We met with every teacher who would come in contact with my daughter. The nurse, my daughter and I took turns quelling each other's anxieties. My daughter was tiny and needed help with every aspect of her care. She needed staff to watch for signs of low blood sugars, and to make sure she was eating all of her food, and that she wasn't accepting food from others. The other elementary school years were progressively easier, but we still had an annual meeting with the primary teacher and the nurse.
Two years ago we spent time settling in to the middle school. There was a new nurse. My daughter encountered a minimum of seven teachers every day. There was a new lunchroom to navigate and a new schedule to adapt to. It took time and energy develop a good diabetes routine and a good working relationship with the new set of staff. Last year was certainly simpler, but a few things had changed and we spent a little time in the health office making sure we were on the same page.
It's amazing to look back and realize how much my daughter has learned to do for herself in the past seven years. She needs significantly less hands-on help from the school nurse or her teachers. It's reassuring to see how our hard work building relationships with and communicating with the schools has paid off. We have a thorough 504 plan, an excellent nurse, and a staff who has been well-educated by that nurse.
We don't know what next year will bring; and I'm sure the high school transition will bring its own collection of tasks and challenges. Right now, I'm just going to be grateful that this year's start was easy.