A Lesson In Parenting

Parenting lessons come at us in many ways.

Some lessons are from friends or colleagues who have ‘been there, done that’.

Some lessons are overt as with our own mothers or mother-in-laws that come to help with a new baby, especially the first baby.

Some parenting lessons are learned by observing or experiencing ‘bad parenting’ and consciously choosing NOT to be that parent.

There is an endless supply of books on parenting – most of those I was given or purchased have never been opened.

Then there are the social media posts, often inspirational quotes with adorable pictures of toddlers with muddy hands or faces full of food, or the posts that talk about how a piece of paper crumpled and then unfolded will never be the same thus be careful with words. I think there were also a few commercials some time ago that depicted young kids picking up the same “bad” habits (cell phone use, smoking, drinking, etc) by watching their parents.

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My favorite (read ‘most humbling’) way to receive parenting advice is from my own child.

My middle child – who I often refer to as Middles, is 13 now. He is in the 8th grade. He is taller than me now, his voice is getting deeper and he has just a bit of peach fuzz on his upper lip. He is clever and funny and kind and I love him for exactly who he is, even on the days I want to throttle him.

Middles has had diabetes the least amount of time between my kids. He just past his two-year diaversary on August 1st.

Being diagnosed with diabetes is never easy and every person (kid or adult) handles the diagnosis differently and also manages their diabetes differently. Some with more zest than others. Even then, ones diabetes management often has an ebb and flow due to diabetes burnout, life circumstances and for those diagnosed before the age 12 – puberty.

In my experience my Middles has had the hardest time with diabetes. My youngest (Sugarboy) was diagnosed at age 2 so he really doesn’t know a life without diabetes. My oldest (Sweetstuff) was diagnosed at age 9, and while she remembers life before diabetes she was young enough to develop a routine and habits before puberty hit. Middles diagnosed at age 11 clearly remembers life before diabetes and didn’t have enough time before puberty caused his front lobe to take a sabbatical. (IMHO)

All my kids have off days when they forget to check blood sugars or bolus for lunch or a random snack but Middles forgets most often. There were school days toward the end of the school year last year in which he went a couple of weeks without a single blood sugar check during the school hours. Now before you are tempted to judge my D parenting skills and wonder how I could let a couple of weeks go by without verifying or downloading (giggle) meters let me say I put a lot of trust in my kids and the majority of the time I am not disappointed so I don’t act like the diabetes police 24/7. Instead I do random checks on their meters – the randomness of the checks typically keeps them on their toes while allowing us to put diabetes in the corner and focus on the really important stuff like how my boys can’t seem to get their aim just right in their bathroom.

So going back to the couple of weeks of no checks…

Once I discovered the discrepancies, discussed the discrepancies with Middles and provided time for my son to get his act together I did another check. Imagine my surprise when there were few to no checks. That earned Middles the privilege of checking his blood sugar in the health office 3x a day for the last few weeks of school. He was not pleased but knew in advance what the consequences would be if he didn’t pull it together. School ended and we moved on.

Before the start of this school year we discussed how he would return to independence but chronic forgetfulness would land him in the health office 3x a day again.

Alas, I checked his meter last night. No checks for the last 7 school days. Bugger.

Now I should have likely waited a bit before discussing the issue with my dear teenage front lobe deficient son. I was a bit worked up, not just for the lack of blood sugar checks but for a few non-D related issues with him. I didn’t wait. I called him downstairs and with very little planning laid into him in a manner reminiscent of Tom Cruise (Lt. Kaffee) cross-examining Jack Nickolson (Col. Jessep) in the final court scene of A Few Good Men. (Shared below for those under the age 40 who may not have seen it. Pretty sure my face looked just like Tom’s in the still shot below).

Middles reacted just as one would expect – (re-watch if needed with Col. Jessep playing the role of Middles)

It wasn’t pretty.

Me: yell, yell, accuse, yell, threaten, etc.

Middles: yell, yell, deny, accuse meter of being faulty, yell, yell

Me: more yelling, more accusations, more threats.

Middles: Crying

long pause

Me: (ignoring what I saw as deflecting behavior) “Empty the dishwasher please.”

Middles: (slamming cabinets as he puts away dishes) “You know mom, you could have just been nice.”

Me: “What? What do you mean?”

Middles: (In a voice that was supposed to be mine) “Honey. I noticed you haven’t been checking your blood sugars. Is everything ok at school? I worry about you. Is there someway I could help you remember to check”

Me: (I had nothing. I just stood there with my jaw on the floor. I knew he was right and I knew I was just schooled by my 13 year old) finally I said “You’re right. I could have handled this better. I shouldn’t have yelled. What can I do? How can I help you?”

Middles: (because I wasn’t humbled enough) “Well, you could hug me more”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how your own children give you parenting advice.

 

Sad, Happy, Screwed

So Middles received his first Humalog insulin pen yesterday. I must say I love Novalog but the Huma pen is Awesome looking.

He was beyond excited. Even Sweetstuff said she’d consider MDI again based on the Huma pen.

That is the part that makes me sad and happy at the same time.

It’s sad that my kids can get so excited about new diabetes tools. They shouldn’t have to be excited about them. I am grateful my kids all have such positive attitudes about diabetes management. Life would be so much harder for all of us if they despised it all and only saw what I sometimes see (a life sentence with diabetes, possible complications, added responsibility, the threat of death daily a different normal than others).

He was so excited to try it that he wanted to eat all the things just so he could inject.

His life with the Huma pen will be short-lived since his endo is already beginning the process to get him a pump. Thank goodness because have I said what a pain in the butt diabetes in school is here in CA?

He will be carrying his pen with him at school. He will have it in his backpack with his meter. The rotating nurse that is only at his school one day of week called me twice already (from another school) telling me he had to keep it in the office. I call bullshit.

I’m not having him be late for 1st period to drop it off, then late for the carpool after 8th period to pick it up and likely forget it frequently. He will carry it with him. (there are no lockers at his school, he carries his back pack with him everywhere regardless)

The nurse isn’t happy with me. She tried to insist. I basically said I would keep him home everyday unless she saw things my way. We will have a 504 review meeting early next week so its written in the 504. I have assured the nurse that he will not inject anywhere but the office (although honestly that’s silly since there is no one there to assist him regardless – I just don’t want him doing it in the bathroom and he isn’t comfortable doing it in front of other students).

Moving from a very very early diabetes diagnosis that only required a small dose of Lantus to the more difficult Honeymoon stage is well – total suckage.

His pancreas is still producing a good deal of insulin so dosing for highs and covering carbs can be tricky and treacherous. Last night he was 280 before bed. He was also very hungry. He ate a bowl of cereal and we dosed for the elevated blood sugar and the carbs. I checked his blood sugar two hours later while he slept.

67. Frick.

I’ve been spoiled. Sugarboy can down a 15 gram juice box in his sleep in less than a minute when he’s low. He doesn’t wake up. He feels the straw and smells the sweet nectar and simply drinks without ever opening his eyes.

Sweetstuff is a bit harder – I normally have to coax her awake just a bit and put the straw to her lips. She occasionally snaps at me “WHAAAT?” but mostly just sips the juice down, takes about 2 minutes.

Middles – holy difficult! I tried placing the straw on his lips while he was still sleeping, hoping that like Sugarboy he would simply drink it down. No go. He rolled over and rubbed his lips as if a loose pillow feather had landed on them.

I tapped his shoulder and said his name in a whisper. “Middles (I don’t actually call my kids by their blog names – that would be weird), middles honey you’re low, drink some juice”

Of course he moaned and rolled over. I try again, a bit heavier tapping and loader voice. “Middles you’re low drink the juice”

Fuck – now I have Shelby in my head “Drink the juice Shelby”

Still no response – well no helpful response from the boy. I place my hand behind him and pull him into a sitting position. He moans and says “ok”

Then falls back down.

Again I get him sitting. Again I put the straw to his lips. Again he says “ok” but remains sleeping sitting up.

5 more minutes of me trying to wake him enough to drink. When he does seem slightly conscious I tell him to drink the juice. He takes a tiny sip. Lays down and pulls his covers over him.

This is when I realize I’ve been spoiled and I am likely screwed.

Again I get him up. Again I put the straw to his lips. Drink Middles, Drink.

Another 5 minutes of slow painful sips.

He remembers nothing.

This morning he checks his meter and sees the 67. “Mom was I low, I saw a juice box on my night stand.”

Yes Middles you were low. It’s all good, I had your back.

Diabetes is stupid. My kids are awesome. I’m lucky.

 

 

Glucagon? What’s That?

I should be grocery shopping. My poor kids lunches were pathetic because of my lack of grocery shopping yesterday. No regrets we were having fun at the beach. Still a bagel with cream cheese, banana and slim jim is not exactly the lunch my kids were each hoping for.

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I should be cleaning my house. At least 3 loads of laundry are in a pile in laundry room. A nearly fruitless search for socks this morning was not a great way to start the day. The dishes in the sink aren’t going to wash themselves and it is never good when the cat can chase around fur bunnies due to lack of vacuuming. Again – no regrets the beach was amazing.

I should be organizing closets and the garage – can’t list my house for sale in its current state. It would be bad for potential buyers to have to step lightly around ironman action figures, rogue legos and stacks of who-knows-what. Eh – I’ve got a bit more time before I need to list the house. It’ll all come together even if it takes a few pots of coffee and some stress eating (i never do that).

What have I been doing all morning? Glad you asked – well you stuck around this long to find out about glucagon so I assume you are slightly interested.

So my Middles has been requiring shots of Novalog more and more frequently. He had been using only Lantus (long acting insulin) to manage his diabetes. Unfortunately his pancreas is clearly pooping out sooner than we had hoped. During the Thanksgiving break he was receiving 2-3 shots of fast acting insulin due to after meal spikes (the high carb count meals during the break were not helpful).

Today he returned to school. His morning BG (blood glucose) was 155. Not excellent but not shabby considering the 457 he went to bed with (received novalog to correct that number). He ate a 30grams of carbs for breakfast and off he went. I told him to text me his numbers 2 hours post meal and if he was above 250 I would come give him a shot of novalog. (He has not been using fast acting insulin at school and thus no doctors orders are on file and he hasn’t been carrying insulin with him)

At 9:15am I get the text: “Im 401 please bring me insulin.”

I cancel a coffee meet-up and head off to the school. I give the boy 1.5 units of novalog, remind him to drink water and watch his sugars then send him off to class.

Seeing as I had just given him fast acting insulin and he is still very much honeymooning (a time after diagnosis where the patient still produces some insulin so less artificial insulin is required) I wanted to leave the school office staff with a glucagon kit.

A Glucagon kit is an emergency kit for people with diabetes. Similar to an EpiPen used by those with severe food allergies only it isn’t a pen – it is a vial of a powdered form of synthetic glucagon – (a human hormone that triggers the liver to release glucose) and a syringe filled with distilled water. To use the glucagon kit one must inject the water into the vial of powdered glucagon, swish to mix and refill syringe with liquified mixture, then inject into person with diabetes. This is normally only done if the pwd is unconscious or having seizures do to a severe hypoglycemic episode (hypoglycemia is caused when there is too much insulin and too little sugar in the body – it can be deadly). A side note – glucagon can and sometimes is used in small injections for a pwd that is experiencing a very low blood sugar but is not unconscious or having a seizure – or if the pwd is very low but can not eat or drink any sugary substance.

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quick disclaimer – I am not a doctor. I have never had to inject glucagon (so very thankful). The only experience I have is with oranges and expired kits. I can only share what I have been taught or learned. Please be sure to talk to your doctor/child’s doctor prior to using glucagon – if you have not received training at diagnosis please be sure to ask about it at your next endo visit.

Ok – moving on now that any newbies know what a glucagon kit is and why it is used.

I anticipated the office staff (there is no nurse on school property other than on Fridays) having an idea of what a glucagon kit is and who should be contacted if it is required.

I got blank stares. The two office staffers knew nothing about glucagon. Not only had they never seen one they didn’t believe any staff on campus knew what they were or if any were trained to use the emergency kit.

Seriously? My son is not the only cwd at the school. There are at least 3 others that I know of, maybe more. Certainly someone in the school knows about diabetes and glucagon and emergency diabetes care.

A bit of back story. California as a whole sucks big time at diabetes in school. There are some schools and some districts that are better than others at providing support. But up until July of 2013 no non-licensed person (meaning no one that wasn’t a certified nurse) could assist in insulin injections. In July the CA supreme court ruled that it was now legal for non-medical staff to assist in insulin administration. Prior to the ruling parents of cwd who were not independent (meaning they managed their diabetes without supervision at school) would have to go to their child’s school and assist their child or their child would not get insulin all day even for meals. CRAZY right? The new law was supposed to ensure that schools would have at least 1 or more staff members willing and able to assist in determining insulin amount, injecting insulin, and overseeing care in general. Our school district basically hasn’t decided if they want to adhere to the law. It seems they think it is a voluntary law. Anyway I’m digressing – this post isn’t so much about the laissez faire way the district approaches the insulin law it is about emergency care.

Even before the recent Supreme court ruling schools have been required to have staff trained in emergency care – i.e glucagon.

It isn’t enough to train staff. All school staff should be aware of who is trained in glucgon administration. So imagine my shock to learn that the office staff – the staff that have to deal with medical emergencies have no idea if anyone is trained or who those staff members would be. Who’s in charge of training staff and disseminating the information? Well it falls on the nurse. The nurse that is only at the school 1 day a week. It should also fall on school administration. This school nurse has dropped the ball. There was no list of people trained.

The very sweet and kind office staff member that was fortunate enough to deal with a flustered mom this morning (thats me) was doing her best to find the information and help rest my nerves. She did ask me to explain the glucagon to her and I did. I was sure to explain that a person cannot be harmed by glucagon. The only thing glucagon can do is a save a life. It isn’t like insulin I say. It is true insulin can kill a person if administered incorrectly and I am not asking for anyone to inject my son with insulin (even though its the law and I have ever right to ask that). She listened to the instructions, asked questions and assured me my son would be safe. I assured her he would never likely need the glucagon but felt better she at least listened to my explanations. I assured her I would bring in an old glucagon and train any and all willing how to use it. (Not my job but better me than a nurse that can’t be trusted to do her job). (blimey I used the word ‘assured’ a number of times there.)

The staffer called me a bit after I left to let me know that the principal, assistant principal and counselor were familiar with glucagon. She didn’t say when they were last trained. I feel better knowing that the school does have 3 trained staff members. Still it would be helpful if other staff – the ones most likely to get the emergency call from a panicked teacher – knew who was trained and that there are emergency procedures to follow in addition to calling 911.

I had not asked at Middles school who was trained prior to today because until today my son was not using fast acting insulin at school. However – I have also not asked at my other two children’s schools. They do take fast acting insulin daily at school. What if the same is true at the other two schools – no one knowing who is trained – are there people trained?  I took the nurses word for it – When she said she trained 3 people I believed her. Let’s assume she did train 3 people in each school – does anyone at those schools know who is trained? Do teachers and office staff know emergency protocol for cwd?

I miss my Texas schools. I miss the way every staff member at the schools knew which kids had diabetes, which had severe food allergies and what actions to take if there was an emergency whether it was on the playground, cafeteria, classroom, library or gym. Everyone knew the damn protocol. I wish schools across the country would recognize the importance of educating all staff regarding medical emergencies. With food allergies and Type 1 diabetes on the rise – both are increasing by 3% or more each year – schools should be prepared.

I spend hours every week tweaking insulin dosages, counting carbs, changing pump sites, charging meters, checking late night blood sugars, learning about new technology, new diabetes management methods, etc – HOURS – and my kids are right there with me much of the time. All this effort and planning should not go to hell in a hand basket the moment any of my kids step foot in a school.

So my advice – just in case like me – you have put your trust in others and believed them to be working in the best interest of your child. (Note – when my daughter was dxd I was at the school often to ensure every base was covered – I wasn’t so laissez faire myself back then) – double check who is trained in glucagon at your child’s school. Who knows who is trained? What is the emergency protocol for your child’s school? Even if you did this when your child began kinder or when he or she was first dxd – if it is a new school year – maybe check into it. Staff changes and sometimes things like emergency protocols for kids with chronic illness are not passed on to new staffers (that is the case at my sons school).

Oh my – I was a bit wordy today. Here is a cute cat picture for your time. Wish it wasn’t of my cat sleeping – tried to catch her playing with fur bunnies but that didn’t happen. Mostly she sleeps. It must be hard being a cat.

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Oh – He Had It Bad

Contrary to what John Q. Public believes there are no levels of severity with Diabetes.

Wearing an insulin pump does not mean the pwd has it worse than another pwd.

Last night was Back To School night at my sons middle school. It isn’t really a time to meet the teachers and have a conference. Parents walk their child’s schedule and sit for 10 minutes in each class learning about what their child will do in class, class rules, and a bit about the teacher in the class. Then the bell rings and we have 4 minutes to get to the next class on our child’s schedule. The evening does not allow for chit chat between parents and teachers. Still…

My Middles is new to middle school and new to HAVING diabetes. Not so much new to diabetes as it has been living with us for over 7 years. Living around diabetes and living with diabetes are two totally different experiences. Sure Middles understands what diabetes is and mostly how to care for himself but he is still a bit green when it comes to understanding what all his numbers mean and what course of action to take depending on his schedule and what his numbers are.

For example, heading into PE with a 73 is not necessarily ok without eating a small snack first. Or finding a 49 on the meter, eating a fruit roll-up but not telling anyone that his blood sugar is low is not ideal.

Middles is not taking fast acting insulin yet. He is taking long acting in the morning which has helped his post meal sugars and fasting sugars stay within range but it has also dropped him below 70 more than a few times.

He and I are working together to help him understand the importance of checking often and recognizing what his body is telling him as well as who to tell if his sugars dip below 70.

Going back to Back To School Night – I didn’t introduce myself or chat with all his teachers. Just one. An important one.

It’s only the end of the 3rd week of school. Each teacher has over 200 students a day so it isn’t likely that they know all their students. Yet I was surprised when this teacher didn’t know who my son was or that he had diabetes. I was assured by the counselor that they all received medical information about my son. We haven’t written an official 504 yet but I have shared information with each of his teachers via email. Still this teacher had no idea who my son was. I explained he had diabetes and the activities in the class could cause him to experience a low blood sugar. The teacher assured me that he keeps glucose tabs for all his students with diabetes. Then he said this…

“I had this one student that had it really bad. Had to wear an insulin pump and everything.”

Heart sank. Blood boiled. Tried not to make eye contact. Tried not to grab the very large man by the shirt and shake the crap outta him while screaming – “Insulin doesn’t mean BAD”

The bell rang and I was going to be late getting to the next class so I simply invited him to the 504 meeting on the 24th. He said he was required to be at the meeting (he did this with a grimace).

I get that the general public doesn’t understand diabetes. I didn’t understand it before Sugarboy was diagnosed. I get that main stream media doesn’t do a great job of helping others understand diabetes. I see magazines at the check out that say “Reverse your diabetes now”, “Avoid insulin if you’re diabetic”, “Diabetic friendly recipes”, etc. – it saddens me that there is so much misinformation shared in commercials, news stories, sitcoms, and on the internet.

It is why I write on this blog, why I share other blogs, why I normally would stop and school people who have been mislead. It’s why I carry a touch to enlighten people or beat them with it.

If you have a child with diabetes and are unsure if your child’s teacher understands diabetes consider copying the following and sharing it with your child’s teachers. The notes I sent obviously included my children’s names. Changed here for safety and put in Bold to help identify where you would insert your child’s name.

I sent this to all of my kids teachers the first day of school. For Sweetstuff and Sugarboy I said that their current 504 plans are in effect until a new plan is written. For Middles I explained that a 504 meeting would be held soon.

What is (or will be) in the 504.

  • Unrestricted access to restrooms without penalty or undue attention
  • Unrestricted access to water (she will have a water bottle with her at all times)
  • Unrestricted access to fast acting carbohydrates to treat low blood sugars (she will carry fast carbs with her)
  • Unrestricted access to her glucometer and diabetes supplies (she will have these on her at all times)
  • The authority to check her blood sugar in class at regular scheduled times and as necessary if she feels high/low.
  • Authority to use her cell phone to text me her blood sugar numbers and ask for advice as to how to treat a low or high blood sugar. She has been instructed to keep her phone on silent at all times and not to use her phone for any purpose other than to text me.
  • Guidelines related to when Sweetstuff can participate in an exam. Meaning if her blood sugars are too high/low prior to the start of an exam she will have to wait to take the exam without penalty. We make every effort to ensure Sweetstuff is within range at all times but diabetes doesn’t always play fair. High and Low blood sugars cause her brain to be less efficient. Highs can make her thought process cloudy and cause severe headaches; low blood sugars would be similar to being intoxicated.
  • Sweetstuff will not be allowed to participate in PE if her blood sugars are in an unsafe range – extreme physical activity can lower blood sugars rapidly so his blood sugar needs to be at a safe level prior to PE to avoid severe lows which can result in seizures and unconsciousness. Extreme high blood sugars often cause the body to produce ketones. Ketones combined with extreme physical activity can result in swelling in the brain. I am sharing this with all teachers because occasionally teachers of all subjects are very creative and could include physical activities to teach a lesson so it is important to be aware of Sweetstuff’s need to check blood sugars prior to participating.
  • If Sweetstuff is experiencing a severe low blood sugar (<70) she should not be left alone. If her blood sugar is above 60 but below 70 she can be escorted to the health office to treat the low blood sugar. If below 60 she will need to treat the low blood sugar with fast carbs before leaving the classroom and being escorted to the health office.
  • I will attend field trips or if I am unavailable the school will send the district nurse or other qualified staff to assist with insulin dosage. I am happy to act as a chaperone during the field trips if needed. It would be very helpful to know the possible dates of field trips so I can plan to be available.
  • There will be (likely are already due to other diabetics in the school) staff trained on emergency glucagon. It is similar to an epi-pen but for diabetics experiencing a severe low blood sugar who have already begun to have seizures or have fallen unconscious.

 Forgive me if you are familiar with Type 1 diabetes but I am sharing a few basic facts in case you would like to understand more about Type 1 Diabetes. (Included this note as an FYI for all teachers)

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body’s own immune system decides to attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas leaving people with Type 1 diabetes insulin dependent for life.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes did not cause it to happen by eating poorly or failing to exercise. (I am not suggesting that other types of diabetes are caused by poor diet or inactivity) 
  • There is no cure for diabetes. Artificial insulin allows people with Type 1 diabetes to stay alive but it is not a cure.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes check their blood sugar by poking their finger to obtain a drop of blood up to 14 times a day.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin via syringes or an insulin pump. Those wearing an insulin pump must wear it 24/7.
  • A person with Type 1 diabetes can eat everything everyone else eats – although it doesn’t mean they should any more than it means those without diabetes should be eating unhealthy foods.
  • There are only two things a person with Type 1 diabetes cannot do (at least in the US) – fly a commercial jet and join the US military. Currently there are celebrities, professional athletes, Olympians, Elected Officials, Fire fighters, police officers, and other professionals in all careers fields that live well and find great success despite having Type 1 diabetes.
  • Diabetes is a life threatening disease every day. People with diabetes make dozens of decisions each day regarding food, exercise, and daily chores to effectively manage diabetes.
  • Kids with diabetes, especially in the middle school and high school years can be ashamed or embarrassed by their diabetes. Few kids like to be viewed as ‘different’ and poking oneself multiple times a day, wearing an insulin pump, or injecting insulin via a syringe shines a bright light on kids with diabetes. Developing a management plan that the student is comfortable with is a key component to allowing the student to effectively manage his/her diabetes.

 Symptoms of Low blood sugars

  • Pale skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dizzy
  • Shaking
  • Disoriented
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sweating outside of a extreme activity

 Symptoms of High Blood Sugars

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Poor/blurred vision
  • Increased frustration in daily tasks

Let Them Take Insulin.

It’s a good thing only kids who have one or more parents with medical licenses get diabetes.

Wait – what?

News flash – most kids diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes do not have parents in the medical profession. Yet somehow we (parents of children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes) learn (very quickly I might add) to keep our kids alive and thriving.

More breaking news – friends of both the child diagnosed and friends of the parents often learn quickly how to manage diabetes. Us Rents (parents of cwd) have a knack for talking often about diabetes care with nearly anyone willing to listen and many of our kids do to.

HOWEVER – here in CA, some (mainly nurses unions backed by teachers unions) would like us, schools, state officials, and courts to believe that diabetes is so complicated and life threatening that only licensed medical professionals should be allowed to administer or assist in the administering of – insulin in school. (Of course they recognize that diabetes is a self-managed chronic decease so it is acceptable for a 5-year-old to self-manage if he/she is so inclined or the unlicensed parent of the child is welcome to avoid having a job so that they can attend school with their child to manage diabetes)

A tidbit of history regarding diabetes care in schools in CA:

Back in 2007 a case against the CA dept of Education was settled to allow non-licensed staff in schools to administer insulin and aid students in managing diabetes. BUT HOLD THE PHONE  – the nurses union (supported by the teachers unions) brought a counter suit to block the new policy that would allow non-medical staff to assist in diabetes management at school.

What did this mean for children with diabetes in school in CA?

It meant that if no nurse was on campus they wouldn’t get insulin regardless of the dangers of sustained high blood sugars. It meant if a cwd ate lunch and needed insulin with no nurse on campus that the child did not get their insulin until a nurse arrived – sometimes hours after the child ate.

Of course if the child could self-administer – problem solved. I mean why shouldn’t a 5-year-old be encouraged to count carbohydrates, calculate insulin needs based on a sliding scale, fill a syringe with insulin and inject themselves. I mean its only math and it isn’t like insulin could kill them. Ok actually YES insulin can easily kill a person. The same medicine that keeps my kids alive can kill them in less time than an episode of SpongeBob.

Or the alternative – a parent could come to school everyday to administer the insulin for their child. I mean it isn’t as if there are ever single parent homes or homes where both parents have jobs or anything. Clearly those of us that want our kids cared for while attending school are just a bunch of whiney crybabies who don’t want to interrupt our lazy days of Oprah and Bonbons to go to the school to keep our kids alive.

Why do the nurses unions fight against allowing non-medical school staff to assist in managing diabetes?

I want to start by saying there are nurses here in CA that do support non-medical staff assisting – those that recognize that the state can’t possibly fund a full-time nurse in every school. Those nurses recognize that the kids need to come first. I thank those nurses.

As for the unions – you’re jerk-faces. I get that you want job security but don’t wrap that up with words of concern for my kids. If you cared about my kids you wouldn’t fight against allowing others to help manage diabetes. The damage caused by sustained high blood sugars is far worse than the time and energy needed to train the school receptionist, my sons teacher or the music teacher to count carbs, calculate insulin and fill a syringe. Most kids can do this on their own by the time they are 9 – some much earlier (with supervision).

Yesterday (ok – I started this post on Thursday so when I say yesterday I mean Wednesday May 29th) The California Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides (those for allowing non-medical staff to assist in the dosing of insulin supported by the American Diabetes Association and those against it – the CA nurses union).

I’ve read rumors that suggest the Supreme Court is leaning toward the ADA and against the unions. I hope this is the case. The court has 90 days to render the decision.

Look I would love to see a licensed nurse in every school. But reality says that will not happen – not here in CA and not in other states either. California is broke – the schools are broke. There just isn’t any money – despite the fact that some of the richest companies and people live in this state.

Quick interjection – some may suggest that districts cluster students with diabetes in specified schools that would have a nurse full-time. I want it understood that this would be discrimination. Clustering students is illegal. While I would prefer a nurse be on staff at the school my child attended – I would not be willing to send my child to a school further away from my home to make that happen. First – students are diagnosed throughout a school year – not always before beginning school. So lets ponder the idea of clustering for a moment.

Lets say a child is diagnosed in the middle of 3rd grade. They had been attending their school since kindergarten and have a huge support system of friends established. They know the school staff, they know the school schedule, and the staff know the child. Those that suggest clustering are also suggesting that the student, newly diagnosed with a life-long chronic illness that requires constant shots and finger pricks, be removed from their support system and friends to attend a new school with no friends and no familiarity. Would the additional stress of changing schools help the child adjust better to the new diagnosis – no. It would likely cause additional stress, anger, fear and sadness.

Most of you are in the know and will follow the case but for those not in the know I will post an update within 90 days of the supreme court decision. Let’s hope the decision is in the best interest of our children.