Diabetes at School: Maybe Not Always

by Leighann on September 12, 2012

Maybe not always

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.

Diabetes At SchoolFurther Reading…

Back to School with Diabetes: Lots of information and links!

I have an entire chapter about school in my book Kids First, Diabetes Second.

Read more posts about Diabetes at School.

Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom P September 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

Our son, though only in 1st grade, gets the same compliments made of him. And I always feel the exact same way – thanks for the compliment, but please don’t you ever assume that because he seems to be so aware of his symptoms, that he will always be so aware. Please always be wary.

We can’t be with them 24×7, but we know D is always with them. We can only continue to remind others to keep their eyes open, don’t assume that they will always feel a high or low.


2 Leighann September 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Exactly. I don’t want the adults who are in charge of her to become complacent.


3 Bennet September 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

“There may be times when she needs the help of others.”

Word to live by.

btw found this post via the DA rss. so it is working.


4 Leighann September 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Yay for the Diabetes Advocates rss! Thanks for all the work you do to help keep DA running smoothly.


5 Melissa September 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm

This post goes well with meri’s post today (ourdiabeticlife.com) she explains when that ‘not always’ can occur


6 Leighann September 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Thanks for the tip. I’ll click over and read her post.


7 Lea September 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm

This is exactly how I feel, my kids are still young and distracted easily. Sometimes they need that adult support.


8 Shari September 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I know what you mean. Today I was asked if my guy’s twin brother would be watching out for him in gym to “help” the substitute gym teacher know if he went low. My boys are 6. I said they are close but don’t actually have wonder twin power! Ha! I couldn’t help myself.


9 Leighann September 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Wonder Twin power, too funny! I once wondered if my son had senses like a diabetic alert dog. Sadly he does not 😉


10 Melanie March 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I agree completely. My d-son is in a period now where he can sense his lows most of the time. The other times are frightening me most, because by the time he states it, he’s dropped below 40.


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