As every school year begins I train the teachers and staff on how to handle Q’s diabetes. For some it is a refresher course. For the classroom teacher it is brand new. Some staff, such as the librarian and art teacher, rarely have to attend to her and usually call for the nurse, classroom teacher, or assistant principal who all become very familiar with her care.
I always demonstrate checking blood sugars and using glucagon and go over the symptoms of high and low blood sugars and the protocols for treating them. I always tell them that “You may never need to do this, but it’s important that you know what to do and how to do it.”
I am reminded of a conversation I had with the assistant principal on the last day of school. Because the school nurse is not in our building at all times, the assistant principal is trained to do blood sugar and blood ketone checks, treat lows, and do other tasks as instructed by me over the phone. He is also in charge of her 504 plan.
I ran into him in the stairwell and I thanked him for helping with Q’s care during the school year.
It was his first year at our school; in fact we’ve had a new assistant principal each year.
He commented that taking care of her was easier than he thought it was going to be. There were no major issues. And that “Q is so good at recognizing her symptoms and knowing what to do.”
I replied, “But maybe not always. There may be times when she needs the help of others. We shouldn’t rely on her being able to do it.”
I’ve had this same exchange many times over her three years of elementary school. Teachers and staff have always been impressed that she can recognize her symptoms and tell someone that she feels low.
I know I should feel proud of her that she has this type of awareness. But instead it makes me worry. I get a pit in my stomach.
It makes me worry that one of these days she’ll have a severe low and the staff will not know how to react. It makes me worry that they will become lax. It just makes me worry.
I know they always mean it as a compliment. I know they say it because they are proud of how she carries herself. I know.
But that doesn’t make it any easier to hear.