Hey everybody! Long time no see. Sorry about missing my last column. This is the first year that I’ve had to get things ready for a type 1 diabetic child to start school, and to say that I’ve been busy would be an understatement! That being said, let me pause from writing a moment to give a standing ovation to all of you parents who have done the school thing with a t1 child. I know you can’t see me, but trust me, I’m standing! You deserve so much more than this!
Being the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes has opened my eyes to so much. I had no idea just how much was involved with getting ready to start the school year. Write instructions for how to make your baby’s blood sugar stay in target so he can function like all the other kids (when really you have no idea how to do this yourself). Make sure everyone (main teachers, substitutes, special teachers, office staff, etc.) know that he’s type 1 diabetic. Make sure these same people know the symptoms of high/low blood sugar. Write instructions insuring that diabetes will not affect his grades and he will in no way be punished regarding his blood sugars.
Oh, and speaking of blood sugars, be sure to include what to do if he goes high/low. But what if he’s high/low before gym class? What if he’s high/low right before lunch? What if he’s high/low before/during recess or before he gets on the bus? Yep, you better include all of that too. Like seriously, we’re three weeks into the school year and I’m already realizing that I should have included at least 10 other possible scenarios in my plan. I’m thinking every scenario you can possibly think off needs to be included. Maybe next year I’ll add something about what to do if juice-loving aliens invade the school and suck up our treatment for lows. Ha ha. Just trying to poke a little fun at the situation.
Seriously, being the parent of a type 1 diabetic puts a kind of stress on you that you can not understand if you’re not experiencing it firsthand. I don’t know what I would do without the wonderful group of moms that I’ve met since Jackson was diagnosed. I highly, highly encourage any of you with t1 children in the area to check us out on Facebook at Friends of T1PP (Type 1 Pupils & Parents). This group even got together to get everything prepared for our babies to start school. While we were all stressed to the max, the room was filled with chatter and laughter. We shared ideas, paperwork, stories of success and failure (not to mention food and wine). They made starting my first school year as a T1 parent so much more bearable! I thank them from the bottom of my heart!
Now that school has started, this awesome group is preparing for the next adventure. On Oct. 11 from 4-8 p.m., they will be at Fulton Farm for a campfire and private hayride. The cost is $7 per person an additional $2 if you want to pick a pumpkin. You’ll need to bring lawn chairs for your family. Drinks and light snacks will be provided. If you or anyone you know has a t1 child, you really should attend! The kids have so much fun together and I can not even begin to explain the relief it is to have people who understand the language and can relate to exactly what you’re going through! I promise you this isn’t a weird, we’re going to lecture you support group. Honestly it’s just like a bunch of friends getting together. Only in this group you can talk about boluses, basals, pump sites, sensors, ratios, and injections, and everyone understands (Not to mention you can talk about how high your kid was without everyone wondering what kind of drugs he had for breakfast, lol).
Jennifer Runyon is a freelance writer who shares her life stories living with Type 1 diabetes for 28 years and whose young son also has been diagnosed with the disease. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.