Thursday, April 12, 2012

What went down. Being an Advocate.

I’ve come to expect phone calls. Honestly, I hold my breath when my phone rings when Jada isn’t with me because I know that that call will be about her. Ninety percent of the time it is. Really this post isn’t even about a phone call but I guess it leads me to think about how all the phone calls lead to us educating and advocating for our kids.
This is what went down yesterday.
In the process of telling me about her day yesterday, Jada admitted to throwing her glasses against the wall out of anger. She lacks impulse control so she is tending to lash out while angry these days. Anyway. I began to get her to tell me about the events that led up to her anger outburst. Jada’s tone was a bit escalated, confused with a hint of frantic, and upset. It was diabetes related. It was teacher related. It should have never occurred. The class was lining up for recess and Jada expressed feeling low. [This should be a no brainer right? I mean this one is easy. Have her escorted to the office to have her BG checked. Done. Certainly this is what happened, right?] Nope. Well sort of. Ms. Teacher apparently was in a bad mood and frustratingly spoke loudly at Jada and said that she better be low of she was going to be in trouble. [Yeah. I know. Really?] Teacher told the student that escorted her to find out whether she was actually low or not and come back and tell her. [Again. Really?] When Jada and student got to the nurses office, student told the nurse the teacher instructed student to find out whether Jada was low. Nurse does BG check and answered student. [Privacy laws? Um, where are they?] Turns out Jada was in the 100s. Student reported to teacher that Jada was not low. Jada expressed to the nurse that she was going to get in trouble by teacher because she was not low. Jada then returned to class to have the teacher yell at her (Jada’s words, and I’ve seen the teacher yell at other kids) and tell her that saying she feels low to play around is not ok but if she really feels low then ok. [Dear teacher, who are you to tell her that she doesn’t feel low. Are you in her body?] Then came the throwing of the glasses.

I was enraged (all internally of course). So many issues here. First. She feels low. Bottom line. She feels low, she gets checked. Second. Having another student be present and know Jada’s medical information such as a BG to report to the teacher. Third. Teacher telling Jada that she was playing by saying she felt low.

I emailed the teacher this morning and here is what I said:

While telling me about her day yesterday, Jada told me that you were upset with her because she felt low but actually wasn't low. There are various reasons that could cause Jada to feel low. Just a couple of these reasons include: coming down from a previously high blood sugar will cause her to have a low feeling, catching a low before she's actually low. Often times there is no rhyme or reason to some blood sugar numbers. Highs and lows can come out of nowhere. But it is important for Jada to feel like she can express how she is feeling without there being any consequences. I have not known Jada to use her diabetes as an excuse or reason to get out of things. If Jada says she feels low, then she must feel low. And unfortunately, the only way to verify her feeling is to take the time and check her blood sugar. If she feels uncomfortable expressing her low feelings, she may not express them which could lead to serious health risks including having a seizure due to a low blood sugar. I have talked to Jada about the importance of not saying she feels low if she really doesn't and I trust that she does not do that. I appreciate your help in this matter. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

As of 11 pm tonight I have received no response. I will follow up with a phone call tomorrow. I choose to email because I can simmer down my words. Advocating for Jada can get me a bit heated and I don't want my message to get lost in translation.

I sent a text to the nurse asking her to give me a call and she did. She happened to be the one there at this particular incident. She is the one that told me Jada was scared she would be in trouble upon returning to class and the part about teacher asking student to report whether she was low or not. I could tell nurse was uncortable about what went down as well. But she did allow student to know that Jada was not low to report back to teacher. That was wrong on her part. I expressed that that shouldn't happen. As it is, teacher received a report from nurse when Jada is in office being treated with a low. That's all that needs to happen. I told nurse that Jada actually did get fussed at for not being low and she shared the same concern of Jada maybe not expressing herself next time. She seemed like she was caught off guard by the situation and was going to talk to the vice-principal about what she should do on her end. I did tell her that I emailed the teacher so she didn't feel like she needed to handle that aspect. And I expressed the need for privacy. The conversation felt productive. I will follow up with her tomorrow as well.

Now that I sit here rethinking it all, I wonder if I've done enough. Are my words enough? Was my email enough? Was talking to the nurse enough? Should I call the vice-principal? Should I call a meeting to discuss the situation? Will the higher-ups believe that the teacher yelled or even fussed at her?
Any input is appreciated.


Kelly said...

I think you did exactly as you should have, how frustrating! School and Diabetes can be soo tough!

The teacher upon receipt of your email should CC: your email (notify the school principal) of your concerns as well...thats how schools are "expected" to handle these situations. I always CC: the principal myself to make sure things are documented in case of future issues.

Your best bet would be to educate the teacher first (as you did) and then follow up with the nurse reminding her that patient/student confidentiality is something you trust her to ensure.

I never make things with Diabetes at school a big deal unless it happens more than once...(unless of course it is imparing immediate care) personally I think friendly reminders (like you did!) are enough to tell everyone they need to be on thier toes, SERIOUS about Diabetes and SERIOUS about my childs best interest and privacy! Good job Mom!!

Wendy Rose said...

WOW!!!! OMGOSH!!!!

Please update soon with the outcome and how things are going.

I'd be....LIVID!!!

PS -- I sent a mom your way looking for support with emotional outbursts and diabetes. She may contact you...not sure. Thanks for being so open and transparent about this journey!!

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