Friday, September 10, 2010

The Angst-iness of Back to School

It is the beginning of the school year and the posts about diabetes at school are everywhere. In Blog Land, on Twitter, on Facebook…

There is a lot of angst out there and I don’t find myself immune to it.

Yes, J is taken care of at the Junior High. He has awesome adults keeping an eye out, and I am completely at peace with him leaving in the morning for 6 hours. But, the reason it’s so awesome is because J takes care of himself. He does his own checking, his OWN correcting. The only people with a handle on his numbers are me and him.

Which leads me to the problem I am having at the elementary school level with B and L…and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that my problem is close to the very core of everyone else’s back to school angst…


Some have amazing nurses that have dealt with T1 and GET IT. But most of us don’t. Most do not have nurses that really understand Type 1 in children. Heck, many of us, including my boys, don’t even work with a nurse!

Regardless, in most cases there is someone, who does not get it, looking at our children’s numbers and JUDGING.

Case in point…

L is still really little. He is 6 and is tasked with checking his own sugar and then calling me twice a day with the numbers. We have him set up with an old cell phone of which he presses the number 2 and the phone magically dials me. He reports to me his numbers…and apparently, his teacher too.

The other day our snack conversation went something like this.

“Hi mom! I’m 302 and if I get to 400, my teacher says you better come pick me up! Bye!”

(Ummm…yeah…our conversations only go one way.)

But seriously…I felt judged. I always do.

Yesterday his teacher called personally because he was low. He was 56, and she wanted to know exactly what to do.

Did she say anything to me to make me feel bad? No, she was very nice. But did I feel bad anyway? Yes.

Because as great as she is, she just won’t ever get it. (Because really, you can’t get it without living it…or REALLY wanting to get it…and honestly she is too busy to be invested in such a huge endeavor.)

I’m not knocking teachers or nurses or secretaries, or whoever is helping our little ones. It’s just when a number isn’t what we hope it to be…they don’t understand that we put all our time, effort and worry into that number and our heart aches because of it. They don’t understand that the number is NOT your fault…it’s the diabetes fault. They just don’t understand.

And as a result, I feel judged.

And as a result of feeling judged, I feel angst.

And as a result of the angst, I wrote this post.

And as I’m writing this post, I have a feeling that many of you will agree, because sometimes our best human actions are not the best pancreatic actions. WE know we are doing the best we can…but do they?

They probably don’t. And feeling that these people don’t think you are doing the absolutely best you can for your child is a heartbreaking, anger inducing thing. Last year I felt so judged by L’s kindergarten teacher that I sent her a three page email explaining diabetes and that numbers cannot always be between 100 and 120 for a 5 year old. Even though she called me and was so kind about it all…I still felt that pang of judgment for the rest of the year.

Is it their fault?


Is it my fault?


Are they even really judging me?

Hell, I don’t know for sure…but probably, everyone does it...I mean; I’m judging their judgment right now!

Regardless…it is just one more guilt trip that I don’t need. I feed myself enough guilt as it is.

School brings the worst of my insecurities out. I think maybe that is why I’m so obsessed with getting good A1C’s. I can say, “Yeah…you don’t see it, but my endo says he is doing perfectly. His team is very pleased with his numbers and lab results.” (Seriously that was my fallback all last year.)

So where am I going with this. I don’t know people. All I know is I wanted to get the ugly truth out there:

I put blood sweat and tears into keeping my boy’s numbers in check…and the thought that someone at school may think I can do better…work harder? Well, it makes me feel like I’m in elementary school again. My feelings get hurt and I just want to collapse in the sandbox and cry.


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