Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The meeting

Yesterday, we had a meeting with Riley’s teacher for next year.

I just wanted to meet with her and let her know some things about Riley. Basically, I wanted to meet the woman I was going to let care for my child next year.

The meeting was more for me than her.

Everything went very well. She was very upfront and said that she had never had a child with D in her class. She was also very relieved to find out that Riley had a pump and that she would not have to give any shots.

I was impressed by the fact that since she thought Riley was on injections, she seemed willing to learn to give them.

We talked about highs and lows. We talked about the pump. I didn’t get into any specifics. We are going to meet closer to the start of school next year and go over the specifics.

She asked a lot of good questions. I made sure to let her know that as overwhelming as it may sound that it really wouldn’t take up a lot of her time.

I let her know that Holden would be getting out of class to administer Riley’s insulin in the beginning. She said that once she got comfortable with it, Holden would not need to come at all.

She assured me that she would call me if she ever had any questions and that she would probably call me several times in the beginning. I like that. I would much rather she call me for any little thing than not to call me at all. Plus, what she might consider a little thing might not be so little after all.

I also leaned what time Riley will have snack, lunch, and recess.

Also, on certain days he will go to other activities that include: computers, Spanish, art, music, PE, and library. I quickly started counting up in my head. That meant there was 6 more people I needed to speak with. I told her since they were going to be the adult with Riley I at least wanted them to be aware that he has D and what to do if he has a low while he’s in their class.

She told me that at the beginning of school she would set up a time to get all of the teachers together so that I can speak to them all at once. That makes my job a lot easier.

And, she didn’t have any problem with me hanging out around the classroom the first few days of school to make sure Riley was settling in OK. She said she’d want to do the same thing if it was her child.

And, I stressed a few times that it is very important to me that Riley not be singled out and that he participate in everything just as any other student. "What about birthday parties with cake and ice cream?" I told her that Riley can eat whatever the other kids are eating. My only rules are that he can't have regular soda or regular juice. I explained to her why. I told her I'd have special juice for Riley to use on these occasions. I also stressed that if any of the parents ask, they are not to bring something different for Riley to eat, such as sugar-free candy or sugar-free cake. I didn't explain to her that it usually has about the same amount of carbs as the stuff with sugar.

Going to speak with her helped to calm my nerves. I had stopped stressing over it so much. But, to speak with her and find out that she’s willing to learn and understands why it’s so important to learn has really helped a lot.

And, one of the last things she said before we left was that she knew Riley was our baby, but that she would treat him like her baby too. That’s exactly what I needed to hear.

I know Riley is going to be OK. He has Holden out there. In addition to Holden, there are two kids in Holden's class with D. One is on injections and the other is on a pump. They are both very fond of Riley and Riley feels the same way about them. I'm sure they'd help out if needed. There is also a girl who has been in this particular school since Kindergarten. She is on a pump, an Animas just like Riley's. Her mom has told me that she'd be able to help. Also, the 6th grade teacher has D and is on a pump. And, the mother of one of the kid's in Holden's class is also an elementary teacher. So, in all, there are 5 people at the school who have Type 1 themselves and also the mother of a kid with D. Considering the school only has about 325 students, that's a pretty large number of people with D. It just tells me that Riley is exactly where he needs to be.

I still worry, of course. No one will take care of Riley like I will. Just like a PWD, no one will care for your D like you do. Just imagine, having to give up control of your D from 8 AM- 3PM every day. You have one day to teach someone everything they need to know, how to count carbs, how to bolus, what to do for lows and highs. Then, you have to stand back and watch them do the best they can with the disease that you know intimately. The disease that only you really know how to best deal with. Scary huh? But, that's what I'm going to do with Riley. It's what I have to do.

Now, I'm going to put these thoughts aside for a while and enjoy my summer.


Carey said...

Sounds like a great meeting. As you probably know, we're in the same boat. Our first meeting with the school is soon. I'll be asking the OC for lots of 504 advice as we get closer.

It really sounds like "the meeting" went as well as it possibly could. The guidance counselor at the school admitted to my wife that they were a little scared to have Charlie. Good. I want them to be scared.

Shannon said...

It sounds like an awesome teacher.

The biggest hurdle was getting over those first few days seeing how the nurse (in Brendon's case) took care of Brendon. Once I saw that she was very strict with his care and was vigilant, I relaxed a great deal.

They'll be in school more often than they'll be with us. They better damn well be in good hands if they're not with the parents!!

meanderings said...

As a former teacher, I know there are all kinds out there - but just reading your post makes me think you have an A+ year to look forward to. Not everything will be perfect but you and the teacher seem to have hit it off and so, I think Riley will be a happy AND healthy kid at school.

Major Bedhead said...

I remember that first year that O was in daycare. She was 4 and I was a nervous wreck. But every year it got easier, every year, O was able to assume a little more responsibility. Now, she pretty much handles it all herself, just checking in with the nurse at lunch time. And so far, knock wood, we've had fantastic nurses who have really gone out of their way for her and have been really willing to learn.

It sounds like you have a great support system at school. That's so fantastic. It really helps calm the nerves a bit. You'll always worry, but you'll just normal worry instead of freaking-out worry.

Jen said...

Sounds like a great teacher! Your statement of having someone else take over my diabetes control really hit home. I've never thought of it that way. I have a new respect for your fears!

Jamie said...

She sounds like a very good teachers. She sounds like she wants to learn how to take care of him and isn't shying away from caring for his diabetes.

I think you're going to have a good year with this teacher! What a huge relief that must be :)

Lisa said...

I'm so glad that your meeting went well. It sounds like the teacher will be really great.

Anonymous said...

I give you a TON of credit! My youngest is starting Kindergarten this fall, too. But she is excited, as am I (although I will miss her tons, she is my last of 4 kids, so it will feel odd being home alone so much). I don't worry about too much, only that she is tiny (just finally reached 34 lbs. at 5 yrs. of age) & petite, and I worry that she will get ran over on the playground. Luckily, she is spunky, so I don't worry too much. I can't imagine dealing w/ all you have on your plate. You are a remarkable woman!
And Riley is adorable :)

Anonymous said...

Great teacher. Willing to learn and very caring. And you have his older brother to help. For our nurse, we typed up a detailed "Daily Care Plan" and this year we had to do it by day. Example: Day 1, 10am BS check (info on how to treat), 12 noon BS check and carb info/bolus info (xeroxed from pump book so nurse can see pump screen she will deal with); 1pm extra gym (disconnect pump) check BS before and after, EX-Carbs to give; 2:15 pm BS check before bus. Day 2, yada yada yada. Maybe Riley can have a cell phone or you could phone or text message Riley's teacher. There is a Japanese cell phone that will send you his blood sugars when teacher takes them. Other devices on the market do the same. Since Lunch is when they give the most insulin, I would make it a point to phone teacher at lunch and bolus while you are on the phone taking down the info. if you are able to. You can control it personally that way. Hearing the numbers, you will know right away if the dosing is correct.

Penny Ratzlaff said...


Yes, it was a great meeting. I'll be thinking of you and Susanne as you prepare for your own "meeting".


It is so scary sending Riley off, because as you said we parents are the best our children will get. And, you always want the best for your children.

Cesnh, Jamie, and Lisa,

Yes, I think she's going to be a very good teacher for Riley.


I'm trying to avoid the freaking-out worry thing. I'm not so sure I'll succeed, but I'm trying.


The reason I wrote what I did about a PWD handing over their diabetes care to someone else is because of comments I've recieved in the past. I'd get comments from other PWD who would say "Sending your child to school is always hard."

No, it's not. I sent my older son to school with no problem. It was time for him to go. But, with Riley, it's hard to give his care over to someone else.

D is so individualized that it's hard to tell someone else how to care for it. There are times when I don't give the dosage recommended by the pump for one reason or another, extra activity or something.

That's something you learn from living with this disease 24/7. It can't be taught.


Thank you for your kind comments.


Thank you for the tips.