Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Reflections - What We Didn't Know

Well, this month about did me in.

Something about sending two girls, or dare I say young ladies, off to junior high and high school is a challenge.  Add in a first year golfer, first time student council campaigner and a third year try-out for the school play, and it is enough to slow the world from turning on it's axis.

But we bravely chugged through and now, we have learned what we didn't know.

Because I have this weird desire to organize as much as I possible can (which works out well in T1D land), here is a top ten list.

What We Didn't Know

10.)  That the binder system is still the BEST way to ensure that glucose is always available.

Any other system will never be as good... including backpacks, purses, lockers, pockets, hands down, having a roll of glucose tabs in your binder is the easiest way to treat a low.

9.)   Teachers forget what we taught them.

Summer brain happens to everyone.  Build in extra time for teaching the teachers/staff that you had before, even if you think they know.  Unless they live it, they forget it. 

8.)  Teens, not parents, are the first point in communication.

That phone that everyone worried about giving their teenagers?  Well, we learned that it is extra useful now as coaches, teachers text and email.  Instant access to reminders, schedules and changes.  Nothing is cooler than watching your teen set up a google calendar.  

7.)  Honors classes are harder.

If it sounds like the best resume builder for our kids, it probably is.  But be warned, it isn't going to be easy.  That resume builder will be earned.  Trust us.

6.)  18-holes of golf in a tournament can take up to 6.5 hours to play.

Our oldest made the golf team and was immediately invited to play in several tournaments and matches.  We are still trying to figure out maintaining blood sugar during 6.5 hours of play.  Leave suggestions if you have them.  We will try it!

5.)  The layout of the high school is confusing to parents, but teens know exactly where to go.  

Two floors of matching hallways, tunnels, corridors and after one walk-thru, she had it.  Incredible!

4.)  Low blood sugars happen more frequently the first week of school.

I fed them both heavy protein breakfast, lunch and dinners.  I packed snacks.  I sent carb treats.  No matter how much pre-planning we did, transitioning from summer to school is a major low-blood sugar monster.

3.)  Homecoming is just a month after school starts. 

Start dress shopping in August. You're welcome. :)

2.)  Teachers will call you by your sister's name.

And you will both love and hate it.

1.)  How much you missed school.

No matter how much you love summer vacation, being back at school feels great!

Monday, August 24, 2015

And To Think I Packed Less This Year...

This is the amount of stuff heading back to school with our seventh grader.  

Contents Include:

- Glucose for the office, classrooms and lockers (including PE).

- 504 Plan, Diabetes Medical Management Plan and helpful classroom materials on what Type 1 Diabetes is all about.

- Sharps Disposal Container for the office.

- Medical Supplies for office.

- Expired Glucagon for staff training.

- (not pictured) One kid. 

Happy back-to-school!   

Friday, August 14, 2015

Back To School And Organizing Type 1 Diabetes

Back -To- School Low Blood Sugar Boxes

Each year, I try to post various back -to- school posts with helpful hints on how to organize type 1 diabetes.

Click here for a low blood sugar printable.

Click here for a lunch box carb count.

This year, I am sharing several fun and easy ways to create low blood sugar boxes. 

Items needed:

1.) Empty Box (pencil box, shoe box, tackle box, Tupperware container or what you have on hand!)

2.) Stickers, craft paper, markers, glue, tape.

3.) Your favorite low blood sugar foods.

To get started, grab your empty box and let your child go wild with personalization.  My girls have been making these for many years (and my apologies for the over-abundance of pink!) and love to create containers that reflect their individual tastes. 

Sorry parents of boys, this is the only blue in our lives and I LOVE blue!  

Over the years we have gone from Dora The Explorer to university designs.  Anything goes as the goal is to create a unique box that your child and school staff will recognize in an emergency situation.  

The only 'requirement' is to add the child's name with either a Sharpie, label maker or alphabet stickers. 

Hint:  Let your kiddo pick out their favorite glucose items.
Once you have the box the designed, go ahead and fill it up.  We usually choose a variety of sugary items.  Everything from glucose tabs to Smarties to Skittles.  My kids have learned over the years that it is best to choose items that can withstand higher heat, won't smoosh and are quick to eat.  I do give them a bit of free reign to choose items that they like as during a low situation, the eating is simply about feeling better.  If they won't eat it, then there is no point to packing it.  
This is VERY shelf-stable.
If in doubt, employ the trusty 'kids first, diabetes second' theory.  

Storage ideas out of recycled materials. 
This year, my youngest daughter asked to host a back -to- school sleepover.  Her idea was to bring several friends over and create special locker organization for school.  While her needs are a bit different than her peers in terms of needing not only to have school supplies available but also to have glucose handy in her locker, all of the girls ended up creating amazing storage spaces that will work for any need.  

All they used were empty shoe boxes and lids, recycled containers and lots of embellishments.  Magnets were added on the back so that the storage could be used on both the inside of the locker door and the main locker compartment.  Happily, while this works out well for type 1 diabetes needs, our youngest daughter feels very empowered as she knows that she has a super cool, one-of-a-kind locker.  Important stuff for her first year of junior high.  
The items that will be displayed in our youngest daughter's locker.

Hnt:  Create a multi-class low box system.  Keep the color, style, location in the class the same for easy recognition.

If you happen to have a child like ours that will be changing multiple classes this year, you may want to consider purchasing a set of pencil boxes, one for every class. 

Hint:   Be sure to write in the need to carry a bag or purse into your child's 504 Plan. 

If your child doesn't want to do that, than glucose must be carried on them.  We found these adorable plastic containers at the Target dollar spot.  Just two inches wide, they are perfect for pockets and purses.  

RUN to Target!!!!

We also found a smaller size container that can be clipped to a gym bag or back pack.  The size is too small for glucose tabs but it might work for other items.  Don't be afraid to try many ways of storing items.  We feel a bit like squirrels but truthfully, the old adage of 'glucose, glucose everywhere - UNTIL you need it!' rings true.  

Hint:  Look EVERYWHERE for containers  This pill container can hold 15 grams of sugar from Skittles. 

And label, label, label!  Everything needs a label!  

True story, in our Kindergarten days, a child would often help themselves to our daughter's low box and take a juice box.  The teacher didn't realize it was happening as during snack time, many of the kids brought the same brand of juice.  Since our daughter wasn't having many recorded low blood sugars, we were surprised when a note came home asking for replenishment of juice boxes just a few weeks after school started.  The teacher quickly figured it out and after that, all of the items were Sharpie labeled.  It helped many times in the grades after.  Trust me when I say your child will be very popular for always having juice and snacks!  

Hint:  Bag tags are not just for bags.  You can use these on coats too and even add a reminder of T1D.
The low blood sugar boxes are different from medical supply boxes.  For the above reason, I tend to ensure that the school staff keeps these items in a secure location.  

Hint:  Use a rubber band to add a syringe to the glucagon if your are dosing smaller amounts.  Be sure to talk to your endocrinologist for the amount to be dispensed for your child BEFORE doing this. 

When your child is old enough, they can also carry medical items in their back packs and purses or safely store in their locker or car. 

In preparing for the long school days ahead, you may want to also send a charger in your child's backpack.  To avoid confusion of why they actually carry this type of charger (avoid the MOM - It doesn't match my iPhone issue), simply add a charger tag.  We found ours at Amazon for just a few dollars.  

Hint:  If the charger works for multiple items like Dexcom and Kindle, be sure to specify that.

Finally, this is a great time to assess your home storage for type 1 diabetes.  

Kitchen Station Drawer. 
In our family kitchen station, I added several grab and go ziplock bags with single infusion site changes.  As my girls have grown, there have been site changes occurring at school.  Often, they forget to tell me that they need to replenish a backpack, purse or locker medical supply box.  This was our easy solution as it is a visual reminder for all of us, especially as we are in and out of that kitchen station often.  

Hint:  Grab and go infusion sites in single sandwich baggies. 

Two kinds of insulin pumps = two kinds of baggies and infusion sites.  

Happy Back -To- School!