The Backup Plan
Benny called from school. “Mom, my inset came out.” I was planning to leave work just a few minutes later, but I was still at least a half hour away. My husband was at doctor’s appointment and I knew we wouldn’t reach him for a while. Besides, Benny didn’t really need our help.
“Go ahead and change it yourself,” I said, shutting off my computer and grabbing my car keys. “I’ll see you after school.” He said okay and hung up. But a few minutes later my phone buzzed again. “There aren’t any insets in my backup bag.”
I asked about BG and it wasn’t too bad (215). He felt fine, so I told him I’d be there soon and to go back to class. The nurse wasn’t there that day, but the school staff is wonderful. I knew he’d be fine until I could get to school.
I keep backup diabetes supplies in my car, so I didn’t have to stop at home to get what I needed. I don’t have everything for every situation, but I keep at least an infusion set or two, along with some Advil and snacks in a plastic pencil case. I almost always have a sports drink or a juice box, some bottled water and a few other bags of nuts or granola bars stored somewhere as well. I like a well-stocked car; my husband jokes we could survive for a week on what’s in it!
I drove right to school, we changed the infusion set and, as it turns out, didn’t have to bolus. He’d been playing pretty hard at recess and was already at 160 and going down (according to the CGM).
I checked the school backup bag and it was a mess. As Benny had said, no infusion sets and a bottle of insulin that should’ve been in the fridge was at room temperature in the bag! There were only a few units left, but that was a waste. I threw the vial away, planning to ask the nurse what had gone wrong there, and grabbed the whole bag. After putting a reminder in my phone to actually bring the bag back to school the next day, we headed home.
Even though it’s a bit of a pain, I almost like when things go wrong; mistakes and problems can be good lessons. Benny learns that he can handle bumps in the road, with support. Soon enough, he’ll be on his own and he needs to know that most difficult situations with diabetes will not be disasters. It’s good for his teacher, who still gets a little nervous when numbers get wonky or diabetes doesn’t behave.
It’s also great for the office staff. They know that it’s important to keep us posted and informed, but they’ve learned they can handle a lot of situations better than they might have thought. Of course, there’s so much more that goes into good diabetes management, but it starts with caring about the child and simply paying attention.
Speaking of paying attention, we had a week recently when Benny forgot to put his pump back on after his shower and went to school without it. Then the next day he forgot his CGM receiver. We don’t really do “perfect.” And that’s ok.
We repacked the bag and sent it back to school. I’ve got new infusion sets in my pencil case in the car. We’re ready for the next time something goes wrong. There will be a next time, of course. And that’s why the backup plan is just as important as the plan itself.