As I stand outside the classroom door, I strain to see James making his way through the dismissal line. He gives his teacher a big hug and waves excitedly as he sees me. But I can tell, even though his smile is a mile wide, that something is a little off. I whip out the testing kit and take a blood sugar reading. He’s astronomically high.
This is a little surprising for me. Highs aren’t too upsetting in the grand scheme of things. They are almost never immediately dangerous and, frankly, they’ve been common enough in our years of dealing with type 1 diabetes that they don’t cause the panic that they once did. Still, his care at school is generally so excellent, so consistent, that we have had in-range numbers nine times out of ten at this particular time of day!
After addressing the high number, we walk home and I start probing to find out why he might be so high, and the answer is immediately apparent. Today was stuffed animal day. They get to bring their “best friend” to school to watch the movie of the book they read as a class the week before. During the movie, the teacher introduced something REALLY fun. Kettle corn. Which James absolutely loves.
So James ate two big bowls of kettle corn in class. He tells me that he mentioned to the teacher that he needed to see the nurse to eat, but that she told him not to worry, he could eat it. So he did. Now this isn’t exactly the way things are supposed to run in his classroom, and it is clear that this means more training — for the teacher (who is absolutely fabulous in almost every way) AND for James!
We’ll start talking to James more about how important it is for him to be very clear about how he CAN’T eat foods like this without insulin coverage and to use the school nurse for guidance. The conversation with his teacher will be a reminder of how classroom snacks are fine, but must be managed very carefully and with the nurse’s assistance.
In the grand scheme of things, while James’ blood sugar was high, this was by no means the worst result of mismanagement of diabetes. We’ve come to consider this “oops” as a wake-up call to all of us to “educate, educate, educate,” to be flexible and understanding of mistakes, and to realize that the dialogue never ends between a parent and a teacher!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.