All the more reason to wear a visible medical bracelet. Pretty scary.
My daughter’s preschool teacher is out for a few weeks and there is a substitute. I think the kids miss her and miss the routine.
I can’t say that I am entirely comfortable leaving her with someone who doesn’t know her well. The only reason why I was confident allowing her to return to preschool after her diagnosis is because the two teachers know her and care about her (as they do all the students).
The sub seems a bit flustered at times and doesn’t always have full control of the class–a group of four- and five-year-olds who can be pretty unruly at times.
My daughter returned to school today after a week and a half off. She told me this morning that she was nervous about going because she hadn’t been there for so long. But she went and the kids greeted her and told her that they missed her.
What was disheartening is getting a phone call from my mother at 12:30 with my daughter crying in the background. It seems when her grandfather picked her up at noon she was pretty upset. When she got home and told grandma why, she became very upset again. They called me and she said she wanted me to come home, which I could not.
She told grandma that she was upset because she was very thirsty and the teacher wouldn’t let her get a drink from her cubby.
Each and every time we leave the house I pack two drinks for her. On school days, one of these is a smaller cup of diluted sugar-free Kool-Aid that she can have if she wants while the other kids drink juice. Most days she just drinks water. The other, larger cup is always filled to the top with water.
When a diabetic’s sugars start getting high, they get thirsty. That is why extreme thirst is one of the first signs of undiagnosed diabetes. And it was the first sign for us. Diabetics must have undenied access to water. And the doctor’s note that is on file with her school states that she must have access to water. This has never been an issue.
Now I wasn’t there and I don’t know exactly what did or did not happen. But I will say this: even at only four, she knows her body and knows when she needs to drink. And just like in the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, if she doesn’t get water when she needs it, she will become emotional, crying without being able to stop. (Being very emotional can be a sign of extreme high or low BG.)
When her BG was checked at lunch today it was in the 300’s. That’s high. Over 300 and we have to check for ketones. I saw the snack she had at school today and that was not the culprit.
I am sure she was running high for whatever reason and her body needed water to flush it out.
As I prepare to send her to kindergarten next year, I have been reading up on our rights at school regarding her care. The ADA has prepared an almost 300 page book on The Legal Rights of Students with Diabetes. I have had two different conversations with people in the last two days about advocating for my own child and my fears that it will be a struggle when she enters public school.
Diabetes is not a disability, but at the same time you cannot be discriminated against.
My daughter is not the first diabetic child to go to public school. But it is hard to have a positive outlook in the months leading up to it when I hear over and over again about the struggles of other families.
Like children who are not allowed to even carry their glucose meters because the small lancet could be used as a weapon (ridiculous). Or whose meters are under lock and key. Or teachers refusing to get even basic training. Or being denied to participate in activities or go on field trips. (Read this great story from the Chicago Tribune.)
We know a family who moved to a small town just south of ours because they have a full-time school nurse. Our district has one nurse for about 10 grade schools.
It is difficult to be positive. And even more disheartening when my daughter’s only safe haven these past nine months is no longer.
If she can’t even get a drink of water in preschool, what will she be denied next year in elementary school?
Update: After talking with my daughter more and with the substitute teacher this morning, I figure the story is somewhere in the middle of what each said. The teacher said that Q never said she was thirsty or was going to her cubby for her drink. I am still angry that this teacher implied that my child was lying…she said “children at this age tend to make up stories to benefit themselves.” I can say my child does not do this and has never had a reason to. I chalk a lot of my daughter’s emotional state to being away from school for almost two weeks and not wanting to return and to her high blood sugar. Hopefully today will be a better day for her. But the fact that it is difficult for diabetic children to get the care they need away from home remains.
My daughter wanted a piece of candy from her trip to Boo at the Zoo earlier this week. I cannot deny her all pleasures in life so I chose the smallest, most innocuous looking piece there was: a small Tootsie Roll.
But how many carbs are in a Tootsie Roll? I looked it up in our book version of the Calorie King, but it wasn’t too helpful because this wasn’t a regular-sized piece. I ran downstairs to the computer and looked it up on the Calorie King’s website (nice because you can put in serving size and it figures out the carbs). So, that little Tootsie Roll was about 2 grams of carbs.
Though we are obviously limiting her candy intake (as we have always done, but this year as a medical necessity), we are hoping that her bag is filled with trinkets and pencils and Play-Doh (which we are handing out).
I found an interesting discussion on Crunchy Domestic Goddess about healthier alternatives to letting kids get sugar overload this time of year. I was surprised to see a parent leave several comments that children under such tight reins would be stigmatized at school and that parents who don’t let kids gorge themselves are sucking all the joy out of life. (Read the couple of comments I made in reaction to this person, she got quite vicious in her attacks.)
At the preschool’s Halloween party this year, the sign up sheet clearly stated that they wanted parents to bring healthy snacks and listed some options. One parent wrote at the bottom “I will be bringing cupcakes.” I have to say that it is one thing to have small cookies for the kids, but what child really needs a full-sized cupcake at 7:00 pm?
I was at the party talking with another mom, a mom who has been pretty supportive. In fact when it was her daughter’s birthday, she brought in angel food cupcakes and whipped cream which is pretty low in carbs and my daughter could eat the entire portion (not just a nibble). But as we were talking, her daughter came up and asked to have a cookie. Her mom said yes. She took two in her hands. And then another parent came up and asked if someone would please take the last cupcake on the tray. And in front of me was a little girl just like mine with a hand full of sugary treats and a smile on her face. For a brief second I thought about my own daughter and how she couldn’t be that carefree.
Before the party, we ate dinner and I made sure she filled up. I explained to her before we even left that at the party there was going to be food. She could eat cheese and maybe some veggies and dip. But no sweets. I told her that we could look at all the sweets and choose something to bring home to have the next day with a meal.
You see I couldn’t let her eat anything with carbs because it was in between dinner and bedtime and that is not a time that she can eat. I might have been able to let her eat something with carbs, but then I would have to take the insulin to give her a fifth injection for the day.
But do you know what she got to eat at the party that was very fun for her? A parent had taken deli cheese and cut out skulls, bats, and the word “boo.” I piled a plate up high with this cheese and she was tickled!
She never asked to consume candy. She did want a pretzel stick, which was denied her. And at one point she walked up drinking a cup of “fruit water.” I am not sure what kind of drink it was, but it didn’t taste too sugary.
As the party was winding down, we went to the food table to let her choose a treat to bring home. She picked out a large pretzel stick, a couple of cookies, and a cupcake. (No, I wasn’t really going to let her eat all of that.)
At her bedtime snack she asked if she could have one of the treats. She asked for the pretzel. Not the cookies, not the cupcake. The pretzel. A quick weigh and calculation and it would fit into her bedtime snack.
Don’t tell her, but I tossed the uneaten goodies this morning. And truth be told, it probably won’t bother her in the least bit.
The next morning, most of the kids at school were rambunctious from a late bedtime and coming down off a sugar high. A visitor to the classroom made a comment to me about kids and how they eat so much sugar at Halloween parties. I didn’t correct her, but I can tell you my children couldn’t be lumped into that group (or in previous years since I don’t let them gorge).
She’ll undoubtedly have fun trick-or-treating tonight and she’ll undoubtedly want to have a little treat upon return. Just as in previous years, I will let her have a little something (but will have to give her an extra injection or wait for a meal time for consumption) and squirrel away the rest to be forgotten in the upper cabinet for months.
The only thing easy about caring for a diabetic child is picking out a snack. Stay away from high fructose corn syrup and tons of added sugar and there are a ton of appropriate choices.
Fruit, popcorn, cheese puffs, graham crackers, most kinds of crackers, fruit strips, yogurt, milk, cheese, veggies and dip…the list goes on.
And if you balked at providing an appropriate snack for my child, why don’t you come over and see what the rest of the day is like.
Four + fingers pricks a day.
Did you go wash your hands? Did you actually use soap? Go wash them again.
Four + times that you hold your breath waiting for the beep and the number to appear.
Is she high? Is she low?
Four + injections.
Make sure you rotate injection sites because you don’t want crystals building up under the skin or infections.
Trying to get food on the table for a hungry toddler who isn’t completely self-sufficient while also trying to check the diabetic’s finger, count-weigh-measure her food, figuring out the correction and dosage based on carb intake at that meal, and give that injection before more than half an hour lapses from start to finish.
Oh, and then there’s worrying that her BG might drop during the night.
It’s awfully quiet in there. Is she okay? Should we check her?
Or adjusting dosages because her numbers have been too high or too low lately.
Keeping meticulous records of BG’s, dosages, and carb intake at meals.
Calling St. Louis to recite a weeks’ worth of numbers and try to recall the current regimen (1/2 unit per 50 over 200 BG, plus 1/2 unit per 10 g carb at dinner and breakfast if it’s a school day or 1 unit per 15 g carbs at lunch and at breakfast on non-school days. And 2 units of Lantus at bedtime.)
And trying to get prescriptions filled, all eight of them. And the insurance is denying coverage yet again because they will only give x number of needles in x amount of time, but we use both pen needles and syringes, and do we have to call for an override again?
And taking her to the ER because she vomited and now her ketones are high and so are her sugars. But you can’t get a hold of your husband and it’s been three minutes since you paged him and the grandparents have just left town and who is going to watch the baby? And you finally get there and there’s no parking and there is a line and she throws up again in triage and the nurse can’t get the IV in her tiny arm and has to try the other one.
Nope. Snack time is a breeze. No finger prick. No injection. Just 15 grams of carbs. She gets to feel like a normal, healthy child when she sits down next to other kids at the snack table and doesn’t have to worry about all that other stuff.
And that is why I am upset. Because someone was “uncomfortable” providing an appropriate snack for her.
And because someone tried to blame her child’s whining (her words, not mine) on my child’s diabetes and restrictive snack regimen.
I’m thankful that her child, and all my daughter’s other playmates, are perfectly healthy and capable of eating more than 15 grams of carbs at snack time (including juice which has 15 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup) and get to feel normal at every meal. And have not lost their innocence.
Yep, if all I had to do was provide her with 15 grams of carbs at snack time, life would be a breeze.
(We were having issues with some parents at the preschool who did not want to provide appropriate snacks. I called it the Juice Box Drama.)
Here’s your challenge:
- Go to your cupboard and pull out any of the snacks you usually give your children.
- Anything will do. Graham crackers, potato chips, fruit strips, applesauce.
- Look at the label including the serving size and number of total carbs.
- Figure out what the portion size would be to total roughly 15 grams of carbs.
Do you remember how to solve simple equations from 8th grade math?
So if 10 crackers are 20 grams of carbs, how many crackers would be 15 grams of carbs?
X/15 = 10/20
(X)(20) = (15)(10)
20X = 150
Was that so hard?
Or even easier: 20 grams / 10 crackers = 2 grams per cracker.
Okay, here is the info from our box of graham crackers:
Serving size: 2 sheets
Total Carbs: 24 g
So, one sheet would be 12 grams of carbs and each half sheet is 6 grams.
That was easy peasy.
And that is why it is so difficult to shop for an appropriate snack for a diabetic child.
(And that was sarcasm!)
Did it make you “uncomfortable,” too?
Mealtimes and recipes are a little harder. And eating out is worse, particularly if it’s not a chain. But snacks, so incredibly simple. You could do it with your eyes shut, especially if you were given a list.
Here is the Nick Jonas piece from Disney: