A couple of years ago, as Kaitlyn first started public school, I just about had a nervous breakdown every time there was a substitute teacher. I would walk Kaitlyn to her classroom expecting her teacher to come and let the kids into the room. The bell would ring, and instead of her regular teacher popping her head out, a new face would be waiting to welcome them in. Immediately, I’d get a feeling in the pit in my stomach. Would the substitute teacher have treats in the class? Would she know when to let Kaitlyn go to the office to get checked and dosed for her snack and lunch? Would Kaitlyn go low and the substitute not notice?
Somehow we’ve made it through just fine, and now, I hardly notice when Kaitlyn’s regular teacher is not there. Kaitlyn is so much better about knowing what she can and can’t do on a regular basis. I don’t worry that she’ll eat something without being dosed for it. I don’t worry about her making it to the nurse’s office at mealtimes, and with the help of her continuous glucose monitor (CGM), I don’t worry about her having undetected lows.
Having a substitute teacher is nothing compared to the worry I feel when Kaitlyn has a substitute nurse. Last week, there was one day that neither one of Kaitlyn’s regular nurses was able to be at school. Luckily, the regular nurse’s aide was there in the office and was able to keep an eye on things. When she realized that the substitute nurse was getting rather flustered, she stepped into the other room and called me privately. She told me that I might want to come over to the school, just to make sure everything was OK. I did, and when I checked the history on Kaitlyn’s pump, sure enough, there had been a problem with her lunch bolus.
I was so grateful to their nurse’s aide who thought to call me. Now we’ll be putting a plan into place with the school for how to work with substitute nurses in the future.
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.