He's Number One
We met with the guidance counselor and the school nurse in a tiny, cluttered room. 2 v 2 like a doubles ping pong match.
"So, tell us about Charlie," the guidance counselor says.
Where do we begin. Once we got rolling, Susanne and I were throwing everything at them. Over three and a half years of observation of what diabetes can do a small child to be summarized in about an hour. We were finishing each other's sentences and we were a bit all over the place, but we stayed on the same page.
The two ladies tried to keep up with us, scribbling feverishly in their notepads.
Rub cake icing on inside of his cheeks
There was some heavy gasping at times from the guidance counselor, who we happen to like a lot. They tried to play it somewhat cool, saying they've been through emergency situations at school before, but their body language was more like, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. I've said this before. That's OK with me if they're scared. I want them to be on heightened alert. And to be fair, we were throwing some frightening possible situations at them and talking in a language of blood sugar numbers and boluses that they are not familiar with. It was literally a crash course. They have every reason to be nervous.
Early on, we almost went into attack mode when the nurse sort of questioned why after all this time, he didn't have better control. Susanne slowly retracted her claws and explained to her how he is a growing boy and his insulin needs are often changing. She also explained the gazillion variables such as stress and sickness that could wreak havoc on his blood sugar.
At one point Susanne told them he's a good boy. He doesn't have many friends (who are boys) and he's just so excited to go to school. Please just treat him like a normal boy. He's not normal though, she said under her breath. Her voice quivered a bit. I looked to her to see her eyes get glassy and tear. In doing so my eyes did the same.
In the end, they told us what we really wanted to hear. No matter what, Charlie will be number one. He comes first. They mentioned they have a child with a bee sting allergy and also a 4th grader with diabetes who is apparently on auto-pilot. Never any issues. But, Charlie's needs will always come first. They also mentioned that Susanne can come into the school anytime. We all agreed that it would be beneficial for all involved if she did this for the first week or two.
And then a couple things we really didn't want to hear. The questions of the day from the nurse.
"When you give the Glucagon, do you inject right through the clothing?"
"So just to be clear, we give Glucagon if he's under 80?"
Uh, no and no. Oh dear. Should be an interesting school year.
Last thing. When we handed a copy of our proposed 504 plan over, the nurse asked incredulously, "How did you? ... Where did you? Who helped you with this?"
Thank you to all of those trailblazing parents of children with diabetes. You have given us rookies the resources and the words of wisdom to fight the good fight for our children's rights.