Arden went back to school today to begin the third grade so it's time to put our new plan into action and see what happens. I had a nice 45 minute meeting with Arden's teacher and school nurses yesterday so we could discuss how the shift in care was going to happen. Having interested, committed and kind people on the other side of the table is such a pleasure, I wish I could thank them everyday for being so wonderful and adventurous.
I say adventurous because today Arden became the first child in the history of our school district to manage their type I diabetes without being required to do so in the nurse's office. I say wonderful because even though we are forging into uncharted waters, no one at the school is freaking out or getting cold feet. I suggested yesterday that we just begin down our new path together and let the process grow and adapt at it's own pace. I was thrilled when everyone agreed even though what I was asking for is covered by state laws protecting children with diabetes and Arden's Endo backed 504 Plan. What I hear from so many of you is that most schools get scared and put up walls when you try something different. For that reason alone I feel very lucky today that I have the relationship that I do with these amazing educators.
What is this New Plan all about? How does it work?
In the past Arden visited the nurse for every diabetes related decision but now she will only be going to their office if an emergency situation arises. We are going to try and limit the visits to unexpected low blood glucose readings, dizziness and other such moments that feel like they aren't manageable over the phone.
I began my day by visiting Arden's class to explain that this year would be different then last. Arden's entire class moved from second to third grade together this year and their teacher stayed with them so everyone understands the nuts and bolts of Arden's nurse visits and testing. This short talk was to take a bit of the excitement away as I don't want the exuberance of the children to cause the teacher or Arden to feel uncomfortable. You may be wondering how seeing something that they all witnessed last year as Arden's nurse visit companion will be exciting? Well, Arden will be communicating with me from her desk with her iPhone. We will be using text messages whenever we can but Arden also has carte blanche to call me and I her as we need/see fit. Talk about progressive, right?!
I'll be right back... she's texting now...
We just set a temp basal via text and she is going to test in 30 mins and then text me. This is working!!!
Anyway, there are snacks in her class (see above) plus juice boxes in a small refrigerator. She will be carrying her OmniPod PDM as well as a juice box with her from class to class and every room that she visits (Gym, library, etc.) also have snacks stashed with the teacher. I've tried to set the school day up so that her experience in the building mimics the one that she has every other day. Arden doesn't make her bolusing decision autonomously yet so with the exception of the texting/calling, this won't be any different then when we are at home. Actually, sometimes we do text about BGs from room to room so I guess this is almost exactly the same.
Why is this so different?
Arden's school district teaches a number of children with type I diabetes. Many of them test and bolus without supervision, especially the older kids, but they all do it in the nurses office and then record their actions into a log. The school can claim what they want but the log is mainly kept to protect the school from litigation. The kids may use it for reference but make no mistake, it's there to cover asses. Arden doesn't have to submit logs to the school and unless she ends up in with the nurse for care, they won't be apprised of the steps we take throughout the day. It's a different approach then most take but I think it will go a long way toward giving Arden more confidence and independence. Perhaps best of all Arden won't be leaving class so much throughout the day. I found myself so concerned with type I related safety at school that at times I was willing to ignore that so much of the education day was being missed.
Day one wrap-up:
Our new plan worked well on the first day. There was one instant where Arden didn't hear her text message alert so I waited for a few moments and then called her. I received texts during class, library and from the bus. There was a bussing issue in the afternoon that caused Arden to be stuck on the bus for much longer then we plan for and her BG did begin to fall during the ride. The entire event was handled by Arden with one text and a phone call.
Later in the day I received a phone call from Arden's teacher, she just wanted to reach out to say that everything felt smooth on her end and the addition of the testing and phone to the room was never an issue. She praised Arden for being so mature with the phone, we chatted for a few minutes and agreed that day one was a success. On to day two...
I held this post back for one day so that I could write about the 'Unfathomable Loss' that one of our fellow DOC members recently experienced when her husband was taken suddenly by cancer. I hope that you can take the time to read my post about Meri and her family.
The first follow up to this post, 'New School Plan UPDATE: Emojis and texting DexCom data' is located here