If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that Angelina started middle school this year. Middle school has brought with it changes in how her diabetes is treated at school, and how much she is able to do independently. We struggled last year to fight for her right for independence and honestly, we failed. As we moved into this school year I resolved to be a better advocate for her at school and to insist on more independence, regardless of what happened last year or what the school nurse’s opinion was. I also brought David along with me on the first meeting this year, as support, but also to show that we are united in this and even though he was the only man in the room, there’s something about a dad attending this type of meeting that seems to communicate “We mean business”. (More on the injustices of a patriarchal society later.)
I went into today’s meeting prepared to battle and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t totally necessary. Last year we had problems, not so much with the school administrators, but with the district nursing staff who seemed to think they understood our daughter’s needs better than we or her physician do. Who seemed to think that their interpretation of the doctor’s orders were the only correct ones, despite the fact that the doctor and I discussed the orders and *I* pretty much wrote them (read: told her what I would like them to say) and she added her signature for weight and authenticity. Yet, I was told that I did not know what the doctor meant, only the nurses did, since they are nurses. You can understand why I would be apprehensive going into this year’s meeting.
However, the district nurse supervisor has changed. And not only that, but the district nurse supervisor is also the overseeing nurse for Angelina’s school, which means we have only one district nurse who we have to deal with, instead of two. And she was AWESOME. I was nervous, certainly, going into the meeting. The nurse out both David and I right at ease and shared how she has twin 10 year old sons at home and she understands, from a parental perspective, how difficult kids this age can be. And then the meeting started.
First off, the assistant principal had another meeting to attend one hour after our meeting began so she was very concerned about time. Of course, she then proceeded to read last year’s 504 plan line by line rather than just diving into the changes that I had made to this year’s 504 plan and go over the things that were remaining the same. I will never understand when people say they are short on time and then choose the option of doing things in a way that takes the longest amount of time. We finally got around to the revised plan and discussed changes.
Something that became immediately apparent is that the current district nurse supervisor was not consulted before the AP made changes. Instead, she had consulted the nurse we had last year. And the changes they made were terrible. The first section essentially said Angelina couldn’t do anything on her own, which is not at all what the doctor’s orders said. The look on the AP’s face when I said “No. She will test her blood sugar independently. She doesn’t need to go to the nurse or to have the nurse come to her for that.” was priceless. She sputtered and then went to get Angelina’s diabetes care book from the school nurse (who was not in the meeting) that contained her doctor’s orders. Clear as day the doctor’s orders say “She is able to be independent with blood glucose testing, CGM trends and alarms.” Verbatim from the doctor’s orders. How anyone can get “needs to be supervised” out of that statement, especially after having this argument ad nauseam last year, is beyond me. And if there was a question, this line from the doctor’s orders should serve as further proof “Check blood glucose with meter brought from home or additional meter left at school. this meter should be allowed to be carried by Angelina.” It was even more humorous when the AP turned to the DNS and asked her to which the nurse replied “She shouldn’t need supervision for that. It clearly states in the orders that she may be independent. I have elementary kids who do this independently, it’s not hard.” Oh my goodness… where was this nurse last year? I sorely needed her. And that was that.
The rest of the meeting went rather smoothly. There were a few tweaks that the AP had made on top of changes that I had made. Some of them were changed back to my original revisions, others additions were kept. All in all, the meeting only ran twenty minutes late. We didn’t sign anything today because of the changes that need to be typed in, and then we will reconvene to sign everything. I just have to make sure to go over it all with a fine tooth comb because I noticed that some of the sections looked mostly the same but a few words were changed that totally changed the meaning.