Friday, September 13, 2013

The Conversation ... the school version

This year before the first day of school I again met with Ben’s homeroom teacher.  I was time for yet another “conversation.”  However, this year the conversation was very different from previous ones.  This year I brought NO handouts.  There were no diabetes 101 lectures.  I even, flat out said, “If you are interested in learning the details of Type 1 diabetes I would be happy to send her some literature and answer any questions she may have, but I did not bring any here today.”

I continued … paraphrasing of course … because there were a lot more stuttering and long pauses … I am not always the most eloquent speaker …
“Today I want to talk about Ben.  Here at your school you emphasize teaching the ‘whole boy,’ focusing on more than just academics.  Now for Ben … his ‘whole’ is just slightly bigger than the average student.  Ben’s ‘whole’ includes Type 1 diabetes.
“We have already walked through his care plan with the school nurse.  Ben is aware of what he needs to do throughout the school day.  What I ask of you is to understand that no matter what, sticking to this plan and this schedule will be his number 1 priority.  Ben, so far, has been very responsible and knows what he needs to do.  My hope is this routine (which we have followed the past 4 years) will become a habit, will become muscle memory.  So when he becomes a teenager and we lose him … and he starts the eye rolling and hating every word I say … if he fights us and fights his diabetes care … Ben will at least, in the back of his mind, know what he should be doing.
“You know the saying, ‘your health comes first’ … for Ben that will always be true.  Nothing he learns at school will be more important … no reading, arithmetic, or history lesson will really matter if Ben doesn’t live a long and healthy life.  And whether that happens is really up to Ben.  We just need to help him get there and support him along the way.”

Ben’s teacher was very sweet and whole-heartily agreed.  She asked a couple questions, about low blood sugars.  I explained because of Ben’s fairly calm demeanor it is very hard to see any signs of a low blood sugar.  I further explained if he sticks to his scheduled blood sugar checks most impending lows will be detected early … but if he does tell you he feels low, please give him a glucose tab and walk him to the nurse.   I then asked, “Please do not let him walk to the nurse alone.”
We then went through Ben’s schedule and joked about the evils of Diet Coke.

I then thanked her for time.
I hope this year I was able to stress the importance of sticking to Ben’s care plan while at the same time not freaking out the teacher.  What I don’t want is for Ben to always be “that boy”, the boy the teachers hope they don’t get assigned to their class.
I hope it worked … fingers crossed … only time will tell … and hopefully Ben has lots, and lots, and lots of time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment