About a year ago – I used to work in a Daycare / Lunch program at a primary school – after 12 years – I had to quit. I loved being with the kids – it wasn’t really work to me – but due to a “problem” involving my diabetes – I had to gracefully bow out. Many people – those of other school boards – had told me to fight – but I just had no fight in me to pursue it further (the the $$$'s for legal fees - as well as my union being reluctant to help me as I was part time). This was a first for me – having my diabetes come into play with work.
What made me think about this was the other day – my hubby and I went to a restaurant. The waiter to my surprise asked me if I’d worked at XXX school – and I said yes! He proceeded to tell me his name – and my sponge brain started to put things together. After 10 years – I could recognize him and he’d grown up into a fine adult!!! He remembered me because of the jewelry I like and I drove a motorcycle. He even remembered that I had diabetes and had thought it was neat when sometimes he’d see me testing my blood sugar – and we’d wait patiently to see if my BG was in a good range when it was pizza day at school.
The problem that arose with my diabetes last year was due to my having just come out of my 2nd reconstruction surgery of my breast as I had had a mastectomy a few years prior. I also had started on the insulin pump and losing sleep due to the CGMS alarm going off at night (I love being a glutton for punishment). I had just been back at work for a month – when a student who was out in the hallway causing abit of commotion came running back into the classroom – and whomp – ran right into me - chest taking the brunt of his weight. Well, out of my mouth came words that I would never say to a class of 12 year olds – but it happened – and I apologised to them profusely afterwards (I was so embarrassed I’d never “lost it” before). I thought everything was alright at that point - classroom went back to normal ... or so I thought. For myself, chest was abit sensitive from the thump it took but that was it. NB: I never went to the surgeon to have him check it out – big mistake - as he’d told me to return in a year – which I did last week – and apparently a few stitches broke with what he observed – which I wasn’t aware of last year).
A few days later after the quarterback hit me, the principal called me into her office before I was to begin my shift. A couple of students had gone to the office to report the incident the day it happened as well as telling her that that I was testing my BG/injecting with insulin. I told the principal that injecting would no longer be a problem due to being on the pump now - but that reply didn't help me at all. I was then suspended for a 3 days (not a fun time at all). I returned the following week to meet up with the principal/HR/union president (felt like a court martial). I was told that after a weeks suspension without pay I was to come back to work and advised that I should either leave the classroom or not BG test or inject in the classroom period during my shift. I told them that to leave a classroom of 30 students unsupervised for 5-10 minutes – easier said then done – things happen. I questioned them at that point that if a diabetic child had to leave the classroom in order to test their BG / inject from time to time (it can't always be done a recess time) – would that not make them stand out – as well as losing out on whatever the teacher is teaching at the time? They never did not respond which is sad to say. I was told to come back on the condition that I apologise to the classroom – but with bad winter storms last year – in the end – it never happened sad to say - and I was just tired of what I think would be an uphill battle after that. I had such a good speech prepared as well - as I'd intended to go in - put a good plug in for the ol' diabetes - hip hip hooray - and then say good bye to the kids. C’est la vie. Maybe one day I'll meet some of those children again - like I did last week - and they'll remember me (well - the ones that liked me at least ).
It's sad to say, but I know of many diabetics that are adamant about people not knowing that they have diabetes. Maybe they do this in order to not have what happened to me. I have never been that way - what if something happens where I need help? I also feel over the years I have educated people about diabetes (as I did at school) – and some of the misconceptions they may have about it – that it’s not all bad. Hopefully other diabetics reading this feel the same as I do.
BTW, my BG's have gone back to normal since my last blog - infusion site - bad. I'm back in the saddle again!