A New Year and a New Attitude!

Back to school! Year 18 for me and 5th grade for this boy! (Taken by 8th grader MJ)

Ian spent one semester of 4th grade without diabetes and one semester with diabetes.  The second semester was scary, exhausting, stressful, and new.

Not only did summer vacation give us time to relax as usual, but the three months off made a natural break between last year and this year.

Last year Ian used to call from the clinic almost every single day, if not twice a day.  He’d call when he was high, when he was low, when he had a headache, when there was an extra recess, when there was a birthday party treat….

And the nurse from the hospital called a lot.

And the school nurse texted me often.

And Ian’s stepmom texted me too.

That’s a lot of phone calls and texts when you are working.  And believe me, I was happy to have the calls. We were sorting things out and learning the ropes, adjusting to each new event and situation as we went.  But with every phone call and text, I was constantly reminded of the fact Ian had diabetes and I would become distracted, flustered, overwhelmed.  I was definitely not at my best at work last year.

Family comes first though and somehow we’ve gotten over that Why-Does-Everything-Throw-Us hump.  Life feels more normal than it has in 8 months.

Ian has called one time in eight days. What an improvement!  That says tons about his comfort and understanding. He understands highs and why he feels like crap. He also knows that there isn’t much I can do for them. (When we eventually get a pump, maybe there will be an easy fix?)

He is never one to have a lot of lows and when he does, he knows what to do. I honestly don’t think he’s had any since school started though.

Ian’s teacher is super sweet (just like last year) and at our before-school meeting, it was obvious she sees 5th graders as responsible young people and wants them to be confident and independent.  (That is not to say that she leaves him hanging out there on his own. It’s hard to explain but she has a trust/respect for them and gives them a chance to handle things on their own. She does student-led conferences if that tells you anything.)

For example, Ian tests in his classroom now rather than going to the clinic every day for snack and unless he’s feeling really lousy he handles things in the back of the room by her desk.  We felt, as a team, that he was totally capable of handling this part of his diabetes on his own.

The school nurse is also making any calls or texts to Ian’s stepmom before she tries to get in touch with me this year.  She works part-time, is more accessible and is equally knowledgable about everything. (I could not ask for a better stepmom to my kids.) This is a huge relief for me and I feel much more relaxed and focused at work.  The first two days were weird when I didn’t hear from anyone, and maybe it sounds a little selfish, (not my intent) but I kind of like it this way. 🙂

Another great thing is lunch. Last year, Ian packed his lunch every day for the entire semester. Every. Single. Day.

And he doesn’t eat lunch meat and he’s really picky, so it was peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter crackers. Every. Single. Day.  We had to pack exactly 75g every day as well, so they nurse could give him exactly 1.5 units of Humalog.

This year, we have a plan with the nurse where she adjusts his meds  according to his carb-to-insulin ratio (currently 1:25.) We write a little note and throw it in his lunch box every day. He has been able to buy the tray lunch and pack extras. He doesn’t drink milk, so he brings his own drink and then extra fruit, yogurt, protein bar, etc to round out his lunch. He’s still a very picky eater but there are many main dishes on the tray that he likes  (Tornado nachos, popcorn chicken, hotdogs, chicken patties, to name a few) and now he can have a variety of lunches and not just peanut butter sandwiches, which frankly make me want to gag now after making them for so many months.

We have been pretty good about determining the carbs in the tray lunch based on our knowledge and experience, a booklet from the school cafeteria, and Calorie King. Yesterday I printed out September’s calendar and marked all the carbs.  I send a copy to his stepmom and she checks it out and we make adjustments and cross our fingers. I am keeping a copy of all the menus and will probably have things memorized in a matter of a month of so. (Isn’t it funny how carbs are like math facts? It’s just something you memorize. I never imagined it would be so automatic.)

The heat has been horrendous this year.  None of our buildings have air conditioning and it’s now decided to be summer-like with temps in the high 80s (outside and in the classroom.) My room the other day was 84 degrees. Ugh…..

That has messed a little with Ian’s numbers.  He’s been in the land of 200+ a lot and we made a tiny adjustment to his Lantus but we hope when the heat breaks later tonight that things will level out.

I could not be much happier about the start of the school year. After the road we’ve been down, things seem almost easy.