Friday, October 28, 2005

Two Steps Forward...

Well, I had that little chat with Joseph's teacher.

I let him know how much we appreciate his willingness to work with us, and then went on to raise the points I made both in my previous post, and much of what appears in the comments to that post.

After determining that Mr. S. had no idea what Joseph's blood sugar had been just 10 minutes after his spelling test, I told him that Joseph was 56.

"Oh," he said quietly. "You know, when I think back, I should have known that something was wrong. I'm very sorry."

We talked of how to handle things in the future. Of how it would be wise to have Joseph check his blood sugar if he suddenly acts out of character.

Mr. S. requested more information about the behaviors that might indicate a low blood sugar.

I shared those ways I've been able (most of the time) to see a low coming on. Then I promised to forward websites; even try to arrange a meeting for him with a diabetes educator. If those things would help him to understand.

By the end of our conversation, Mr. S. sounded mighty sheepish about how he'd handled things, and seemed to want very much to learn how he could make Joseph feel more supported in the classroom (yes, I did bring up the point about how Joseph may not be liking school as much because he is feeling alone in his diabetes care. Mr. S. admitted that he rarely asks Joseph about his blood sugar, even when he's tested low or high).

The discussion seemed to be a success, right?

Then why do I feel so shitty about it?

I think that Kerri's comment on my previous post hits it right on the head. She tells of how she's "always found it very frustrating when people would assume [her] "outburst" behavior was always blood-sugar related."

This is precisely the issue that troubles me most about all of this-- trying to distinguish between just plain kid behavior, and something that is blood-sugar related, without making my son feel different -- or worse -- every time we try to make that distinction.

I can't imagine what this must be like ALL of the time for the person with diabetes; however, I do know that I hate when there is even a hint of a suggestion that my own emotional outbursts might be PMS-related (yes, sometimes they are, but not always).

And to me, that suggestion invalidates the feelings I'm experiencing in that moment.

Driving home with Joseph from school on Wednesday afternoon, I mentioned that Mr. S. might ask him to check his sugar if he thinks he might be low.

"Why mom? Why does he have to do that? He'll make me check my sugar all the time now."

As he spoke, the pain in his voice was unmistakable.

Looking in the rearview, I watched my son as he grew quiet. Leaning back in his seat, his head turned toward the window.

An expression of immense sadness on his face.

I don't know. I really don't know the right answer.


Johnboy said...

I am glad that you were able to get your point across to Joseph's teacher.

On the other hand, I know exactly what you mean about invalidation of feelings. I can't tell you how many times my own spouse has asked me to check my blood sugar when I am upset over something. It's not fair just as I'm sure that PMS is not fair to a woman.

As a man, I never thought about comparing hypoglycemia to PMS, but I think this is potentially powerful. I can see it as a way to bring me closer to understanding with my wife.

As for Joseph and his teacher, I think you did the right thing, Sandra. The teacher needs to be aware of and on the lookout for things like this. However, at the same time, you may want to clarify that hypoglycemia is just a possibility, and may not always be the reason for a behavior.

Thank you for expressing your feelings so well. Your thoughts about this truly touched me.

christy214 said...

Glad to hear you had a good talk with the teacher.

I know that my husband has many days where he feels lost and alone in this.
It's good that Joseph is expressing his feelings even if they are sad and hurt feelings, at least he's not keeping them to himself.
From what my husband tells me of when he was in school, times have most ceartainly changed,and getting better. Teachers not letting him have his snacks when he needed them, and could have cared less how he was feeling.

I know I'm not alone in wanting a cure to make diabetes a thing of the past!

julia said...

I've struggled with this problem with Olivia, too. I've finally come to the conclusion that this is one of the (many) sucky things about this disease. I've explained it to Olivia like this: You have a condition that can make your behaviour abnormal, due to fluctuating blood sugars. I need to rule out that it's your disease making you that way, rather than you just being a pain in the butt. So let me rule it out that it's the high or low blood sugar first.

It's not fair, but it's the way it is. I don't like it either, but I'd hate to punish her if she was being weepy and whiny due to a high or low, y'know?

Shannon said...

Typically if Brendon acts out, I tell him he's in trouble if his blood sugars are OK. Otherwise, I treat his low or high and tell him he was behaving that way because of his levels.

Am I right or am I wrong? I don't know, but I feel like I'm doing the sensible thing at his age.

I don't know what more to say than to trust your instincts Sandra :)

Jo said...

I had a poster on my site comment when I posted about children and diabetes. She said one of her kids classmates was diabetic and the teacher (evidently studying up on the subject first) got the whole class together and they "all" discussed it. Is he getting picked on by other students? Like the blog and the pictures. Type II here, came over from Amy's Blog Diabetes Mine

Sandra Miller said...

Thankfully, Joseph is not being picked on by other students this year.
And, things seem to have settled down since that low, and subsequent clash with his teacher-- Joseph has said that Mr. S. has been really good to him when he's had some highs and lows during class (taking an interest, and making sure he's okay)... I just hope that continues.

Oh, and hey, thanks for stopping by.