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New plan for school and a sweet daddy daughter moment

Arden was on the longest play date of her life yesterday. She went to her friend's house around four in the afternoon to swim and ended up staying until ten that night. I've never left her alone before this date but I wanted to use this opportunity as a practice run for our new school day management plan.

Arden was originally just going to swim and come home but our results were so good that she was able to expand the plan into dinner and playtime afterward. She and I co-managed her diabetes by text and phone with no help from adults on her end. Interestingly, her tone while we spoke on the phone was more confident and mature then normal. Almost like she put her big girl pants on when she was thinking about type I - which was very inspirational!

For the first three years of school Arden has visited the nurse every time that her diabetes needed tending to; before and after meals, activity, for highs and lows and so on. Those visits, while necessary and also very helpful to her maintaining a steady blood glucose level, took quite a lot of time away from her school day. 

Thanks to a law that was passed a few years ago in New Jersey, children are allowed to test their blood glucose in the classroom where we live. I have been waiting for the time in Arden's maturation where I felt comfortable that she and I could co-manage her type I over text/phone without an adult present to double-check her steps. I decided at our last 504 meeting that third grade was the time to give this idea a try. Since then we've been adjusting our at home management routine to mimic this reality and last nights play-date was our first official test run. Arden doesn't of course think of all of this in the same way. That is, she was just on a play-date and not aware that I was testing my theories. 

I was so happy with how smooth the evening went that I had no trouble extending the date twice as the evening progressed. When Arden returned home at the end of the evening she was pretty hungry and so she had a late-night snack that I covered with insulin, perhaps too completely considering the amount of swimming she did. Around four thirty in the morning all of her activity from the day caught up to her and she experienced a low BG. 

When I checked her DexCom CGM it said 'low' and the graph indicated that she had been dropping slowly but steadily for the last two hours. When I tested her with a finger stick she was 42. I set a temp basal for an hour that eliminated her basal insulin and brought her a juice box. 

I spoke softly to her to let her know that someone was in the room and when I saw a bit of life on her face I began to repeat, "your blood sugar is pretty low Arden, let's drink some juice". After the third or fourth time I spoke she waved her arm at me in a sleepy but annoyed fashion and then sat up, she looked at her clock and then in the sweetest voice you can imagine said, "good morning". I handed her the juice box and she began to drink, in between each long sip she would open her eyes just enough so that she could see me in the glow that my iPhone created. She smirked each time in a loving, not joking way and then bumped the tip of her straw into my nose. After a number of sips (and bumps) she tried to hand the juice back to me but I needed her to take one more drink. After that last sip she said, "okay daddy I'm done, going back to sleep now... thank you".

I told her that I would sit up for a while to make sure that her BG leveled out and she replied, "sounds good, I love you". I told her that I loved her too and adjourned to my room with a great big smile on my face. Then I busied myself on Twitter and read some emails to stay awake.


I am going to be blogging extensively about Arden's new management process at school over the first few months of the school year, I hope that you find those posts helpful as we move towards a more independent lifestyle for Arden. It should be interesting to say the least. Arden will be permitted to keep a cell phone with her in class and she will be contacting me directly when she tests, eats, feels dizzy and more. We are going to try and eliminate as many visits to the nurses office as possible. I'm very thankful for the open-minded way that Arden's school, teachers and nurses are approaching this change. I am sure that it is difficult for them to try something that is so outside of everyone's norm. It's very exciting to be stretching these boundaries for Arden and the other children that live with type I.

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Reader Comments (8)

So sweet. Just started reading your blog - thanks for writing it.
My 4 year old son was diagnosed 19 mos ago and is handling it like a champ. Your story at the end here reminded me of the times he has thanked me after giving him his injection - its so bittersweet when we are thanked for something that we wish more than anything we didn't have to do.

We will be starting on the Omnipod in a month or so (just ordered it yesterday), I may have lots of questions as I'm scared out of my mind!!!

August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Welcome Lisa and thank you for finding and reading my site!

There will be a short transition period as you switch from MDI to the OmniPod where everything will feel like day one again but that feeling passes very quickly. I'll be happy to offer any advice if I have it and if I don't, we'll find someone that does. You are going to be great and soon you won't be able to remember why you were scared.


August 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

As I read this post, I keep comparing Arden to myself growing up and going through school with diabetes (also in New Jersey) and realizing how times have changed. I don't ever remember carrying a meter with me in the ten years from diagnosis (1982) through high-school graduation (1992). I might have... come to think of it, I MUST have, considering the priority I placed on turning the sounds off on the meter... but I just don't remember it. [More than] a few times in high school I would be late for Biology class because I "felt" low and stopped at the nurse's office for a snack. I didn't have a pump or CGM, and didn't even take insulin with me to school. Just a shot or Regular and NPH in the morning, and then again before dinner.

It was simpler, but it wasn't better. Having a 1pm lunch one year and a 10:50am lunch the next was totally incompatible with NPH. My A1c was consistently in the double-digits. I'd come home and sleep 'til dinnertime because my 300+ blood sugar wouldn't let me have energy for anything else.

But once I found freedom with Humalog and Lantus (and later a pump), it all changed - for the better. Once I started carrying a meter with me everywhere, I gained so much visibility and suddenly everything that was happening to me started making sense.

I think that's where Arden is now. Things make sense, now, and she's ready to take control. It takes a bit more work in school to manage diabetes these days, but it is SO worth it. From what I've read here, Arden is well on the way of taking care of herself.

August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott E

Scott E.

My best friend was diagnosed when we were about to graduate high school and your story feels a lot like his experience. I wish things would have been different for you both back then!

It's amazing to have that perspective when I look at the way we do things with Arden and I'm so happy to be able to say the therapies have come so far so fast.

My best to you as always,

August 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

I am so glad I found your blog! I can't wait to read about how Arden's school plan unfolds.

I have a 4th grader, starting at a new school. This is his 2nd year with diabetes, and 1st year with his own meter + glucose in his Spiblet/in his desk. Our nurse has said that if he feels low enough to test, he can go ahead and test, but that he should meanwhile have his teacher call her to come to see the number and help him figure out how many tabs to eat and to make sure he recovers.

I guess that makes sense.

I'm so happy for Arden, and happy for me for finding your blog!

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaty killilea

Welcome Katy, I am so glad that you found me! I hope that you and your son enjoy the rest of your summer and I'll see you back here as the school year progresses.


August 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

Looking forward to hearing how Arden's plan at school goes. My DD is also going into 3rd grade. She was diagnosed last spring. The end of last school year included many trips to the nurse for testing (she always ran high after breakfast) This year, she's got a much longer walk to the office so the nurse suggested she try keeping her meter and supplies in her classroom and test when needed, with trips to the nurse as necessary of course. . I'm hoping this approach works well for her... she starts tomorrow!

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Loved this and I'm excited to follow along on your new plan for the year. Benny was dx'd at 23 months and is in 2nd grade now. This year our big goal is buying lunch more often in the cafeteria. We have a great school staff and I'm optimistic it'll work out well. Happy back to school!

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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