Field trips can be really tricky for kids with type 1 diabetes. By law, public schools are required to provide personnel to accompany our kids on field trips so that they can participate in the same way that all the other kids can. In reality, it can be difficult for some schools to provide this. As it stands, I’m mostly an at-home mom, and I rather relish going on field trips with James.
I also like that I can help the school out. We have one school nurse and a large school. For her to attend the field trip, it would mean that she would be forced to get a substitute for the office, and that can be complicated. For all these reasons, I usually attend with James. In fact, over the years I’ve found myself in the enviable position of ALWAYS getting a spot as a chaperoning parent, even when those spots are highly coveted and competitive!
However, because of life circumstances -- specifically because of my new little baby and my slow recovery from a rather difficult birth -- I will not be able to attend the upcoming field trip. James is getting really good at managing his own diabetes. He can test his blood sugar, count carbs, administer insulin and watch trends on his continuous glucose monitoring system. I’m pretty darn proud of him. He is also only 10 years old and can sometimes forget to do any of those tasks listed above! Because I don’t feel like he is ready to be completely responsible, I found myself in a bit of a quandary for this trip.
Luckily, I had a friend come to my rescue. This friend and I share a common bond -- she too has a son in fourth grade with type 1 diabetes! It’s amazing how that can provide an instant friendship and camaraderie, although I have to say that I would likely have counted her as a good friend even if we hadn’t shared the burden of diabetes. It turns out that she works full time, but her schedule is rather forgiving for most field trips.
I say MOST field trips because last year, there was an event that she couldn’t attend. She got in contact with me, and I was more than happy to keep an eye on her son. Incidentally, while her son is James’ age, he is pretty responsible in his care and needs little supervision. It just goes to show that you can’t rely strictly on age to determine what a kid with diabetes needs from an adult. Right now, James needs a little more direct supervision, and I’m okay with that!
Well, anyway, this wonderful friend reached out to me at the beginning of the year. She recognized that there would be events that would be difficult for her to attend; and likewise, I mentioned that this year, in anticipation of our upcoming birth, there would be events that I would be hard pressed to make. So we struck a deal! I assisted and supervised her son during a field trip, and she’s all set to watch James on this upcoming outing. I count myself lucky to have such a “well-trained” and kind friend.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our four children. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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