The e-mail from the principal was an unpleasant surprise. It informed us that "Mrs. Nurse You Have Now" will soon move on to a new opportunity and that "Mrs. Nurse You Don't Know" will be taking her place.
We've done this before. In third grade, the "Best School Nurse Ever" retired. We spent 4th grade with a professional and well-meaning person who could never have filled her shoes no matter how hard she tried. At the end of that year, we met the middle school nurse and decided we really liked her, only to receive a letter in July saying that she'd been replaced.
It turned out that this new nurse, currently referred to as "Mrs. Nurse You Have Now" has been wonderful. We have specific expectations of a school nurse, and she's met them all:
First and foremost, of course, is to know what to do in a real emergency. Know how to use glucagon. Be willing to shove a glob of glucose gel into my child's cheek if needed. Know when she's low enough that she needs to sit in the office for a little while longer.
Train the staff. Provide enough information to my child's teachers so that they know what to do when she is experiencing a high or low blood sugar. Make sure the lunchroom staff isn't going to interrogate her about taking her last 2 pretzels out to recess.
Trust us. We will provide the physician's school forms every year. Once they're in the folder, please listen to my child, and to me. If we're having a week of low blood sugars, please let her shave a few tenths of a unit off of her lunch bolus. If something bizarre happens with the pump, call me. If she's 105 but still claims she feels low before gym, let her eat something.
Last, but of utmost importance, be cool. My child has to spend an extraordinary amount of time in the nurse's office. She's there every day at lunch. She has to hang out there whenever she's low. She needs good company. She needs someone who will a tell her a funny story, who will ask what she did over the weekend, who might even offer a hug if she's having a tough day.
So we'll spend the next week on 2 projects. We'll try to accelerate our progress on eliminating this fall's round of low blood sugars, so that my daughter doesn't get roped into providing a full-scale orientation to this new employee while spending hours on end in her office. And we'll think up a lovely parting gift for "Mrs. Nurse You Have Now," to thank her for 2+ years of helping diabetes interfere as little as possible in my daughter's day but for being there-and being cool-when it did.