Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week- Day Three

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.

This is a hard one because there a number of days that are memorable. The day I was diagnosed; the day I found out that I had gone into DKA in college…but the one that is currently standing out in my mind has to do with when I was student teaching. 

I was working at a small, private school for students who had various types of learning needs. These students ranged from autism spectrum disorders to emotional support needs to general learning support needs. I also had a student who was type 1 diabetic. 

I think those of us who use insulin pumps have some sort of internal sensor that lets you know when a fellow diabetic walks into the room. Through the haze of learning student names on the first day, that was the first thing I noticed about this girl. A pink animas pump clipped to her waistband. 

She was in one of my afternoon classes, and very outspoken about her diabetes. The first unit I taught them about was the Roman Empire, and we were discussing life back then. Suddenly, she blurted out. “I don’t like this conversation!” I looked at her and asked why, and she responded that she hated history because she realized if she lived in any other time period but today, she would have died years ago. 

It’s a thought that I have had myself, but it somehow sounded different coming out of someone else’s mouth. It was an interesting concept that other people had put that thought into consideration. I spent seven months at that school, and towards the end of my time there, this girl was starting the college search. 

Something that I will always remember is when she came up to me after class and wanted to talk about going to college with diabetes. She had a lot of questions, she said, and didn’t know who to ask about them until she met me. We talked after class every day until she thought she had all her questions answered: about living in dorms, dealing with roommates, talking to the disability resource center. I encouraged her to talk to her endocrinology team about things I couldn’t answer. I remembered she asked me about drinking, and I told her that was a medical question I wasn’t qualified to answer (also, I was not going to give alcohol advice to a 17 year old high school junior!)

It’s been over a year since I taught at that school. I graduated college and moved to the southwest to work for a year. I am about to finish my first year of being a real teacher with my own classroom. I have diabetic ups and downs since then, but I will always remember this particular girl. She was my first diabetic student, and probably won’t be my last. However, through her, I was able to let down my guard about being diabetic myself. I hid my insulin pump in my clothes because I didn’t want people to see it and give me that sympathetic, sad smile I was used to when people found out I had an illness. 

It’s funny but this girl only found out I was diabetic because she tried to pull an excuse about not doing something because of diabetes, and I told her I didn’t believe it, and whipped out my own pump.I kept in touch with a few of my students after I left that school; she wasn’t one of them, but it’s okay. I didn’t enter the teaching profession to make friends with my students.

 She’s a senior now and last I heard she was accepted into a few good colleges. I only wish the best for her, and hope that she remembers our conversations after classes, and can take some of that with her to college.

1 comment:

  1. Aw what a sweet story. I'm sure she really appreciated having you answer questions for her about college, that is something I definitely would have enjoyed hearing about back when I was in high school. Thanks for sharing!