I've been debating about posting this. But, it's what's on my mind lately. I've learned that sometimes just by writing about things I'm able to just let them go.
I had a message to call Riley's teacher when I got home Tuesday afternoon. I thought it was kind of strange because she always calls my cell phone. I soon found out why she called me at home. It turned into a marathon conversation.
She said that the elementary school principle had come to her and said that she thought it may be a liability issue for her to be giving Riley's insulin. And, that there is a teacher's aide at the school that is an EMT and had agreed to give Riley his insulin so his teacher could focus more on the class.
My hackles went up. First, the principle had made decisions about my son's health without ever consulting me. Sorry, but she doesn't just find any old body to give my child insulin. Secondly, Riley's teacher only deals with his insulin pump while all the kids are eating snack and lunch. It's not taking away from any class time.
I ranted and raved. The teacher agreed with everything I said. She said that she had no problem giving Riley his insulin. She said what happened was that she asked for some help at lunchtime and snack time. She has a full time assistant, but with the class size and the activity level of the class, she still needed a little more help. And, the fact that she had to help Riley with his insulin factored in too. But, she never asked for help with Riley. She asked for help getting snack and lunch passed out in the classroom.
I became even more irate. Riley may be part of the problem, but he is not the cause of the problem. She assured me that Riley is very well-behaved and that she has absolutely no problems out of him all day. I then asked how often she had to deal with his diabetes on an average day. (He hasn't gone low at school since the first week.) And she answered, only at snack and lunch.
I eventually calmed down. I asked her just to make sure if she was OK giving Riley's insulin. She assured me she was. She said it was a little overwhelming at first, but now she was very comfortable doing it. (Keep in mind, she doesn't check his sugar. She counts his carbs and administers his insulin. It's not a very time consuming task once you get used to it.)
Before I hung up, she said, "And, there's one more thing I want to mention to you." My heart dropped. "I just wanted to let you know that the principle (For the purposes of this post, I will call her Miss B.) questioned me about Riley eating school lunches."
She said that she was telling Miss B how helpful I had been and that I had gone to the lunch lady and figured out the carb counts for things so that Riley could eat school lunches.
She said Miss B was "appalled" that I would let Riley eat school lunches. And, she said that I should not let him eat any lunches from school until his sugars become stabilized. Also, she did not think that I should have let him have a cupcake at the birthday party that a little girl had at school one day.
My head nearly exploded. The teacher said she just wanted to let me know so that if it came up in conversation I wouldn't be blindsided. I told her I appreciated it. Because, if I didn't have that heads up I don't know what I would tell Miss B if she mentioned it to me. But, I can assure you it wouldn't be pretty.
So, first thing Wednesday morning I called the school to arrange a meeting with Miss B. I told them that the meeting had to occur that day because it affected my child's health. I also said that I wanted the main principle in the meeting too. (Riley's school has the head principle as well as a principle for the elementary school students and another for the middle and upper school students.) I said I wanted someone else in there to witness what was said.
Also, I had dealt with Miss B before. She has a tendency to not listen and she can be rude at times. If I went off on her I wanted a witness. I have also spoken with Mr. M (the head man) and find him to be helpful and accommodating.
Miss B called me back a little later and said she would be glad to meet with me. Then, she went on to say, "But, I'll be glad to just get someone to help Mrs. W pass out snack and lunch so that she can continue to give Riley his insulin."
I told her that sounded like a great idea, but I still wanted to meet with her. Oh, no, she wasn't getting off that easily. She was going to listen to what I had to say. And, I was going to say it all in front of her boss.
Michael and I met with her in Mr. M's office. She started off with, "I really hope there hasn't been any misunderstanding. I wasn't trying to make an 'administrative decision'. I just thought that it would make more sense if someone with a little medical background gave Riley his insulin instead."
Michael and I told her that it would make more sense to keep things like they are. Things were working just fine for the first 11 days. Now, all of a sudden, there is a problem. Also, I had spoken with Miss B about all of this before the school year ended last year. She told me then that I needed to work things out with Riley's teacher. And, that's exactly what I did.
Miss B then said, "Mrs. W is very comfortable giving Riley his insulin. She actually doesn't want to turn that over to anyone else."
I told her I didn't either, so I didn't really see where the problem was. She then said, "Well, Mrs. W came to me and said she needed help at snack and lunch. So, I just thought it would make sense to get someone with a little medical knowledge to take over doing the insulin pump for her."
Michael told her that he did not appreciate her jumping to the conclusion that if Mrs. W needed help it was because of the diabetic kid. Mrs. W has a pretty rowdy class. Some of the kids have problems sitting still. We have been assured by Mrs. W that Riley has been "a perfect angel". He said that he was upset that the 2-3 minutes that she spent dealing with Riley's pump was being made a big deal out of while she has other kids in her class that because of their behavior got way more of her time and attention.
Then I told her that Mrs. W had been trained to give Riley his insulin and that we started talking about it several months ago. Then, Michael piped in and told her that I have a BS degree in nursing and before Riley got the pump I had never even laid eyes on one before. So, he doubted an EMT would have any knowledge of the pump either.
I looked at Mr. M and said, "It seems to me that you don't need any training to open a milk carton for a kid. But, you do need training to give my son insulin. Why doesn't the teacher's aide assist with snack and lunch and just let Mrs. W. continue to give the insulin like before?"
He said, "As long as Mrs. W is fine giving his insulin and you are fine with her giving it, then I don't see why we need to change anything."
They decided to get the teacher's aide/EMT to go in the class at snack and lunch to help pass out the food while Mrs. W continued to give Riley his insulin.
Then, just when I thought things were over, Miss B said, "I was looking at the carb list you gave Mrs. W. And, I see that Riley is eating some school lunches (by the way, Riley has only eaten one school lunch since school started). I was just concerned because school lunches have a lot of carbs in them. Also, she said Riley ate a cupcake at a party the other day."
You see, it is good that Mrs. W had pre-warned me about this. Because, otherwise, I probably would have ripped this woman's head off and handed it to Mr. M. But, instead, I calmly explained that Riley can eat anything that any of the other kids can eat as long as he receives insulin. I also told her that if a meal he was eating had a little more carbs than I liked I was ordering Riley water to drink instead of milk, to cut down on the carb count. Then, I explained to her that it was important to me that Riley be treated like the rest of the kids as much as possible. I also told her that I was offended that she thought I would jeopardize my child's health in order to let him be like the other kids.
That's when Mr. M piped in and said, "Yeah, you're not going to let him eat a cupcake just so he can be like everyone else if it's going to kill him."
I then said that cake and ice cream don't really affect his sugar much at all. And, that the foods that do, pastas and for some reason Cheese Nips are limited to special occasions.
That was the gist of the meeting. We did spend more time chatting with Mr. M about his step-son who has gone off to boarding school but was in Holden's class last year. All while, Miss B sulked in the corner.
Later that night, after Riley had eaten a piece of my dad's birthday cake, I checked his sugar two hours later and it was 130. I just wanted to call Miss B up and tell her that she could kiss my butt. (Yes, I know my maturity level is astounding.) But, I'm sure she would just be appalled that I let him have cake at all.
I told Michael what bothers me most is that this is something Riley will have to deal with for the rest of his life. People who are ignorant about his disease, yet think they know everything. People who even after you tell them that yes, you can have that piece of cake shake their head and pity you because they think you are in denial about your own disease.
All those people that feel that way, they can kiss my butt too.