Friday, 18 February 2011

School Responsibility

I am going to start by saying that I realise that I am extremely lucky to have the fantastic support that I have from the head and other members of staff at my childrens primary school. Anything that I have asked them to do regarding Samuels diabetes they have done, no questions asked. For example, when Samuel went onto four injections a day so needed one at lunchtime the head offered to do as did the head mid day assistant. The diabetic nurses went in, along with me and gave them the relevant training. They now have six members of staff trained.

But........ What would I have done if he had said no, or there were no volunteers? What if nobody wanted to take responsibility for checking his blood sugar levels?

Statistics from Diabetes UK show that almost half of parents with diabetic children in primary school have to dramatically reduce their working hours, or quit their jobs altogether to go into school to check levels or to administer insulin because the school won't do it!! I didn't realise that schools could refuse. I took it as given that they would just do it. However, the more I am in contact with other families the more I realise just how lucky we are, because our school is the exception, not the rule.
There are some primary schools which are failing our young children and that is just not acceptable. Our children have a condition, it is not their fault, and as parents we expect our children to be treated the same as their peers whilst within the school environment.
Our diabetic children have the same dreams and aspersions as other children of the same age, and they should be nurtured, no exceptions. They can go on school trips, and yes that does mean the residential ones, it just needs more forward planning. They can do PE, they can charge around the playground.
Children spend a huge amount of time at school and this time should be fun, it should be interesting, and our children should be excited by their learning. Just because they are diabetic they shouldn't be restricted or held back, the schools should have a 'can do' attitude not 'can't do.'

Westwood Primary School have a 'can do' attitude, they go above and beyond what is expected of them, and they have exceeded my expectations. They do this because every child matters, EVERY child.......even those with long term medical conditions.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Diabetes........A blessing or a curse?

Last year when we saw the psychologist she asked me if there were any positives to Samuel being diabetic. The most obvious answer would be no! What could possibly be good about diabetes?
However, I believe that there are positives in every situation. Granted, they may be hard to find, easy to miss, but they are there, you just have to look hard enough. For example, our family as a whole probably has a more healthy diet than most. We don't have many 'bad' things in the house, and the children generally eat only at meal times, so don't 'graze' all day. Samuels health is monitored very closely by the hospital, we go every 2-3 months. His height and weight are monitored every time, and once a year has his blood taken, so if there was a problem it would be picked up sooner rather than later. The fact that we have one diabetic child means that we are on the look out for it in the girls, so, if one of them began to show any signs we could get it checked straight away.
The negatives will always outnumber the positives in my mind, but like I said at the beginning if you just dig deep enough, you will find your blessings.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A sea of blue candles...

Saturday 29th January 2011 was a sad day for the diabetic online community. As I turned on facebook I was met by many status updates saying the same, profile pictures changed to show a sea of blue candles, so I knew what had happened. Diabetes had once again shown its dark side.
Five separate families, united in their grief, each having lost a loved one, lives cut short, all because of diabetes.
  • A 24 year old Australian woman had passed away from DKA
  • A 27 year old mother of two.
  • A 16 year old boy
  • A 9 year old, depressed, so took her own life
  • A 18 month old who was misdiagnosed.
This is not meant to happen, children are not meant to be misdiagnosed, children are not meant to be taking their own lives, children are not meant to be dying, adults are not meant to be dying. Not now, not in 2011, not with all of the advances in medicine that we have.

The diabetic community light their candles and say a prayer for those that have been lost, but are thankful that it is not them, that they are the lucky ones. Always aware in the back of their minds that next time it could be them. In the early hours of the morning parents will be checking on their children, testing blood sugars and treating if needed.
When these things happen the fear that we try and put to the back of our minds come back to the forefront, and the biggest question we ask is why? Why does this continue to happen? Why do people not know the signs? Why do people still not understand how serious diabetes is? It is a life threatening illness, a life taking illness.
More needs to be done to raise awareness, more research needs to be done. The time has come for a cure to be found.
For those five families it will come too late, but for the rest of us it can't come soon enough.