“Hi Mom. This is James.” This is the beginning of a text I got on Friday from James. It was both quite surprising and yet very welcome and reassuring.
See, James was in the middle of class. And let me tell you something, when he is at school, it’s one of the few times that I DON’T worry about how he is doing. That’s because he has an awesome health tech who is both competent and compassionate.
Anyway. On this particular day, I WAS thinking about diabetes, and I was worried about James. We were using our new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that sends alarms to my cell phone, and I got an alarm!
According to the alarm, James’ blood sugar was low, and the arrow indicated that he was still dropping fast. I quickly called the school to connect with my beloved health tech, but she wasn’t there! She was absent that day. She did have another person working in her stead who was capable of handling routine low blood sugar issues and administering insulin. But this particular situation—a low blood sugar alarm in the middle of class—hadn’t quite happened yet.
The lady who answered the phone at the school office told me she’d call the teacher and let her know that James was low. This is the moment that all those 504 Plan meetings with teachers, administrators, and health personnel at school really start paying off. I hung up with the school and I waited. I hoped that the new receptionist in the office would recognize the urgency of my call and contact the teacher immediately. I hoped that the teacher would set aside whatever she was doing right at that minute to help James get the message about his low. I felt like he would be okay, like our system would hold. But I was still a bit nervous.
That’s when I got James’ little text. The rest of the text read as follows, “The teacher gave me permission to use my phone. I’m low, and I’m going to drink a juice.”
Can you see now why I was both surprised and relieved? I was nervous that he was still low, but very happy to hear that he was taking care of it. I was grateful for the message. I was even happy he was still in class! It’s nice that he didn’t have to miss a minute of instruction by heading to the health office.
I sent James a follow-up text, asking him to retest in 15 minutes and call me back. He didn’t get my message. He is required by the school to have his phone on silent, and he just didn’t see that I had texted him. That left me a little tense for a few moments as I was still remotely watching his blood sugar. Thankfully, about 20 minutes after I received his text, I saw the little directional arrow pointing upward. I knew that in another 20 minutes he’d be at the health office to have his blood sugar tested with the substitute nurse and that she could ably handle any other issues.
So I let it go. I knew that he was safe. Yes, I wanted to HEAR what his blood sugar was. I wanted someone to tell me he’d be okay. But honestly, the technology and the procedures that we put in place at school were the security that I needed. James is getting older, and I know that I’ll need to give him room to take care of himself, room to trust other people, room to learn the skills he needs to be self-sufficient.
This was a tiny thing, this little text from James. But to me, it sort of encapsulated all these feelings of growing independence and competency. My baby boy was texting me about his blood sugar! This is really such a small step, but it’s in the right direction. We’re always looking to move toward a goal of healthy independence, even when we’re right in the middle of careful supervision!
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.