Sending a child back to school with diabetes is no easy feat. I remember hearing a story of a T1 child that went to school and the preparation was a bag of candy that was given to the teacher with the instructions "If he acts funny, give him some of this." I sincerely hope that story is nothing but a story, and my heart breaks for that child every time that I hear it.
I have prepared to the best of my ability. The nurse has all of Jess's supplies. The teachers have their "crash course" sheet on Type 1 diabetes, and their forms I made for the unexpected substitute, the letter for the parents in Jessica's class that will largely be ignored (kindly asking them to let us know before unexpected treats are brought in...). I reviewed all of the laws regarding a 504 from the Office of Civil Rights, and had a meeting with the principal, counselor, teachers, nurse, and district psychologist that went better than I could have dreamed. Plans are underway for the 504 that will protect Jessica's safety, and allow her to reach the potential she would have had if her pancreas had not gone on strike.
Jess and I have spent the past two weeks meticulously managing her diabetes. She has been a trooper brainstorming with me ways to get her numbers in line before the start of school. We have kicked butt and I have wished her Hemoglobin A1c could be based on two weeks and done tomorrow.
And, the big day is tomorrow.
So, of course all hell breaks loose.
She wakes today with a blood sugar of 64. Just when I thought I had nailed her overnight basals. She levels out before breakfast only to rise to 302, followed by 397 after a correction. Just as I am about to pull the site, she plummets to 81. She then has repeated lows, alternating with highs. All of this with her barely eating a thing.
"I'm not hungry" she tells me. "My stomach is a wreck." We spend a long time talking. Of course, she is scared to return to school. The lone T1 in a sea of working pancreases. Not to mention the normal start of school jitters every child is prone to.
I don't know if that is why her numbers have been a mess today, but I do know it hasn't helped. "What if my numbers do this tomorrow?" I reassure her we will work through it just like we always do, and she won't be alone.
I know she'll be fine. She is so brave. I struggle with stage fright and public speaking, yet watch her practice her power point that she will give to her class to explain what diabetes is. I know she will weather this transition from summer to school once again, and emerge stronger than before.
The transition is hard for me too. She has been safe this summer---watched closely by myself or her wonderful babysitter with Type 1. She attended CWD where she spent the week in a cocoon surrounded by other Type 1's. It is hard to watch her return to the "real" world where she is alone and I can not protect her.
Yet, I know this is her life story. It will form her and make her into the adult that I am beginning to see glimpses of. These back to school jitters will be just one of many obstacles she will have to encounter. And, she will. Broken pancreas and all.