hypothetical situation

I have hemmed and hawed about presenting and writing about this situation and asking for advice from the DOC (Diabetic Online Community) because I have a suspicious feeling the answers and suggestions will be biased. 


Because you love me ;).  And because I read all your blogs and know you are caring, compassionate moms and dads and individuals who are adamant and passionate about the proper feeding and care of T1 diabetes.


I am going to present a hypothetical situation and I ask you respond with advice, suggestions and opinions based on not knowing the family involved. 

Answer from your heart and experience, please.


Biddy, an 8yo 3rd grader, is diagnosed with T1 diabetes in late September.  She demonstrates immediate responsibility by pricking her own finger and administering her own insulin by injection from the first Dr. appointment and on.  Her parents adjust to the new way of life with bumps and bruises, but with the help of family, friends and an online community, they are getting along quite well.

Biddy's school is fabulous.  They have a full-time nurse, experience with another T1 student and her teacher is comfortable with Biddy's care plan.  Everyone is on board and an open door policy both allows and encourages the parents and school to develop an individual action plan for Biddy.

One day Biddy brings home a note from school with information regarding a field trip with her class to attend a play, off campus and out of the city's limit.  The school will provide bused transportation and admittance into the Civic Center for the performance.  No chaperone's are requested.

The mother happily signs the permission slip and proceeds to contact the school, requesting she go along with the class so she can provide medical assistance for her daughter.  The school nurse will not be attending, nor will any other T1 diabetic trained persons be on the bus or at the show.  The school agrees to let the mother attend the performance, but she is requested to drive herself and meet the group there.

The mother is happy to be able to go, but wants to ride the bus with her daughter.  The school would like Biddy to carry her supplies and self-treat if feeling 'low'.  The mother questions whether it is safe to self-check a blood sugar on a moving school bus filled with loud children.  The school nurse states Biddy will not need to check her glucose, just treat for a low.

"Isn't the first rule of a 'low' to get help from another person because the symptoms of the low itself render the individual impaired to make a good decision?"  asks the mother.

Back and forth goes the conversation between the school and the parents.  The parents want their daughter to feel secure that Mom is there to help if needed.  The school insists Biddy is old enough to follow a care plan.  They want the experience to be educational, and for Biddy to be able to "grow" and be independent.  They insist this is an opportunity for Biddy to be responsible.

While the parents agree on all these points, they remind the school Biddy IS independent in much of her health care needs, and while she has shown great intuition at reading her body's signals for blood sugar imbalance, it doesn't mean she will be able to do it 100 percent of the time.  They also point out it has been less than 3 months since diagnosis and Biddy is still in the throws of the 'honeymoon' phase of the disease.

Besides, the parents are seeking a balance between responsible self-care and still being a child.  The nature of a T1 diagnosis already strips the child of a care-free life, and responsibility pours on them quickly and swiftly.  The parents want to provide Biddy with support AND freedom.

The mother also is quick to point out to the school that she is not intending to set a president, or be 'that' kind of mom who hovers and can't 'let go.'  Besides, she feels she is offering for the school to release all liability for this trip, allowing the teachers to be available for everyone, not just focusing on Biddy's medical care.  Mom will be there to do it tend to her daughter's needs.

Arguments persist.  The school states they are fine with Mom attending the plat, but feel it is not necessary for her to ride the bus.  (They state it will only be a 20 minute ride there 20 minutes back ....... Mom and Dad think that is plenty of time for a medical emergency).  Mom and Dad decide it is all or nothing. Either Mom is allowed to attend the event AND ride the bus in both directions or Mom signs Biddy out of school for the duration of the field trip.

In the end, the school agrees to allow Mom to ride the bus.  Reluctantly. By the sound of the voice of the nurse, they are not happy with the decision and feel pushed to go against the district rules.

The family is satisfied with the outcome, but Mom feels like a target is now on her back and she is not exited about showing up at school for the field trip knowing people are unhappy with the decision.

Finally, Mom and Dad discuss the situation later that night, and decide it is time to write a 504 plan.


Still with me?

Grab some coffee, think it over and please offer your comments. 


Cindy said...

If the bus ride is less than 20 minutes away, then I think it might be fine for the mom to not attend. Longer than that, they should definitely have a trained person along!

That being said...if this isn't really a hypothetic, I'd be ripping a new one for all of those people at the school who are trying to say this trip should be embraced as an opportunity for an 8-year-old to practice responsibility! How dare they think it's their place to tell someone how to raise their diabetic child and when to hand over the reins!

Tiggeriffic said...

I agree with Cindy.. What is the problem with this childs mom riding the bus.. I used to drive bus and I welcomed parents who wanted to ride with their children. I think there should be more education about diabetes..
People tell me at church "Oh you can have a peice of cake, it won't kill you"... wanna bet...

Pam said...

Is part of the problem that the mom isn't legally aloud on the bus for some reason? Could she fill out a CORI form, sign a waiver exempting the school district of responsability for HER safety, and then get on? I truly don't see the reason for the push-back from the school. No room on the bus? I don't know.

Our school district policy is that I am informed ahead of time for all field trips. Either myself or my husband is asked if we're available to attend the trip. If we can't then a school nurse (not necessarily OUR nurse, but one from the district) must attend. That being said, last year we had a similar trip as it was only about 20 minutes away. I chose to drive separately and meet the class there. The nurse checked her before she got on the bus to ensure she was in a safe range. She was fine on the bus, but went low during a presentation. With D you just never know.

Joanne said...

I don't have any experience with this, but if I were Biddy's Mom, I would stick to my guns and not give a flying crap what the school may think of me. And I would ride that bus and even start up the "99 bottles of whatever is politically correct these days" song.

Because I know what is best for my child, and if my gut is telling me to go on the bus ride, then that is what I'll do.

Reyna said...

OK AMY...I am here for this sort of SHIT.

What if the bus gets caught in traffic, Biddy becomes LOW and her brain cells are fucking starved for sugar and she cannot think for herself and she CANNOT treat herself. Absolutely NO, it is NOT ok to deny the mom from being on that bus.

My district requires me to be ON THAT BUS whenever Joe goes on a field trip OR they will hire a school nurse.

THIS IS NOT OK. Joe drops 200 plus points in 2 hours after his breakfast...that is 100 or more points and hour...that is dangerous if not kept tabs on by appropriately trained personnel.

You are on it mama...stick to your guns!!!

Sara said...

Well, my friend from forever ago . . .I have no experience for this sort of situation, but I am a full believer in the mommy gut! And the outside observer part of me says . . . .three months is not very long to have a handle on anything So to the hypothetical mommy (and I respectfully quote the Doodlebops here) "Get on the bus!" By the by, isn't it usually the people in this world who are trying to do the right thing that end up with a target on their back whatever that right thing may be? It's the going along with what's expected of us that keeps us target clear.

htimm=) said...

IMO a trained person needs to be with the child at all times. There needs to be a trained person on the bus, if the school is not going to provide a trained person, then mom and or dad should be on the bus. Period. I don't care if the child is 5 or 12 or somewhere in between. Dx yesterday or 7 years ago, they are children and don't need to be forced to "be responsible". A medical emergency can happen in a matter of seconds. Bitty's mom needs to stick to her guns and not worry about what other people think. Mom knows best! =)

Lora said...

"Biddy's" parents know their daughter and they know the teacher/situation better than any outsider.

Having said that... I check bg's before Justin (about same age as "Biddy") gets on and just follow the bus.

The teacher this year made me ride with them and actually said that if there was no room... he could go in the car with me.

BUT, when Justin gets excited... his bg tanks. I guess it goes back to knowing the situation.

His 504 does state that I go on field trips... maybe that makes a difference.

Football and Fried Rice said...

Love it.

Love the blogging community.

Love Biddy's Mommy.

Katie said...

Last year we had a field trips w/ a diabetic in B's class. Either her mom went or the school nurse did and some of those were just downtown. I don't know what our 'policy' is, but I know for sure either the nurse or mom went w/this girl.
And, I think that is only right!
Take care, have a good christmas.
I miss you!

Wendy said...

I would like to know what Biddy's school's PLAN B is when there's an accident and the bus gets stuck in traffic...or a tire blows...or they take a wrong turn and somehow gets separated from the Mom?

Furthermore, I'd like Biddy's mom to know that we all have those targets on us somewhere. We're all "branded" because we get it...and, quite frankly, THEY DON'T!

Get on the bus and have fun. The school will JUST have to COPE!

Amanda said...

I say stick to your guns momma! Fight to be on that bus, if they really won't let you then you have to get the 504 plan in place and consider calling in the big guns, our kids are protected by the Disabled Americans Act. If all else fails, the only other option I could think of is to meet the bus at the school, check Biddy's BG, then follow the bus, wrong turns and all, tailgate if you have to, tell the bus driver about the situation, I bet the bus driver would rather have you on the bus in case of emergency. I think you (or Biddy's mom) is on the right track with getting that 504 plan in place and field trips are something you have to include in that. My kid's school insists that I go with my daughter on her field trips as the nurse generally doesn't go. If I don't go then Kortnie doesn't go, and it's not fair to deny them the fun that their friends are having. Good luck, don't worry about that target on your back, you're only a mom doing the best for your kid.

Anonymous said...

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