Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Diabetes At School - A Bad Day & The Importance of Advocates

My son experiences quite a lot of curiosity, kindness and understanding about his diabetes. We answer questions anytime someone asks and explain what his pump is, why he needs it and all that.  It was all good - until last week.

Unfortunately, at recess my son was intentionally kicked by another child in the insertion site on his stomach. I think he was aiming for his insulin pump which my son carries in a pump pack around his waist, and he got kicked in the insertion site as well.

My son called me from the school health office for reassurance, and I thought maybe it was just an accident or a playground game that got out of hand. A few hours later the principal called me to apologize.  As I listened to her explain what happened as my child went to ask some boys if he could join in their game, I felt as if I myself had been kicked in the gut.

I remained calm, and tried to be civilized about it. Even though I think it is a situation that gives me a pass to go nuts, I somehow remained calm. It was only from the principal that I understood it was intentional. Unfortunately, I did not understand the seriousness from my 7-year old when we spoke on the phone earlier.

I didn't get it at the time. I felt awful for not getting it, and even more awful for encouraging him a few weeks ago to ask kids on his school playground if he could join them during recess. I would have never expected in my wildest dreams the answer would be a firm "No!" and a kick in the gut.

Despite all of this, I am amazed at how my son is handling it all. I went to school that afternoon at pick up time. He was fine playing with a friend on the playground. We talked about it later and he was very matter of fact about the situation and how the school managed it.

He understood the process behind the school's response very well. I was informed the other child is getting some kind of disciplinary action both at school and home, but I am not sure what. I am not too interested in his details because we have enough to deal with on our side of the story.

I chose this school because I could relate to it academically, and they had experience with diabetic children, so I felt comfortable leaving my 5-year old Type 1 there three years ago. Since then they have very much exceeded my expectations in helping him navigate his school days with this disease.

Little did I know his nurse and others would advocate so hard for him in his time of need. The follow up from his teacher, school counselor and principal were more than any parent could ask for. When I read about others' experiences in the West, I am often shocked. I cringe when I read about the legality of it all, and how the fear of this sets a child up for potential neglect or harm. It shouldn't be this way.

At a previous meeting I attended, the physicians in the room asked for school advice to tell the parents of their patients. As not everyone will embrace the diabetic situation, my best advice is to find the one person that will champion your child's situation.

They may not have a medical background, or completely understand diabetes. Find the person who cares about the welfare of your child. And once you do find them, build that relationship, and hold on to them. It will be that teacher or employee that will advocate for your child when you are not there to do so.

We are truly lucky to be where we are right now. It may not be like this forever, but I often remind the nurses in the school health office that they cannot ever leave Dubai before my son graduates!

No comments:

Post a Comment