Last week I was contacted by my son's school. They had a child in school who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The principal wanted to know if they could share both the information that I had given them on schools and diabetes with the parents, as well as share my personal information with them. I said of course!
My heart broke that one more family was having to go through this. I ached for the young child (in the primary grades was all I was told) who had to learn how to lance his small fingers and inject his little body parts multiple times each day.
I asked my son if he had been in contact with this child. My son is not big on children smaller than him. They are strange creatures who remain completely foreign to him. He does his best not to socialize with many of them so it was not surprising when he said he had no clue as to who the child could be and had not spoken to anyone.
I suggested that he try to find the kid. I told him to ask a teacher to point the child out to him. He could go up to the little guy and tell him that he had diabetes too. He said that no one in school knows he has diabetes (big Mommy groan!). He said if he walked up to some kid, showed him the marks on his hands from lancing them multiple times each day and showed him his pump the kid would probably go screaming in the opposite direction. He figured going up to him would terrify the child more than diabetes itself!
For my son, being 5,6 or even 7 and having diabetes was no big deal. It was not a source of stress. It was part of life. I couldn't seem to make him understand why it could be a little scary for a child who had lived a "normal" life up until this point and now was beginning his life with diabetes. The entire concept was simply out of his point of reference. Diabetes, testing, blood, injections, pumps, that was all he could remember. It was annoying but it was his life. I found that rather sad.
Despite my best efforts, my son will continue to remain secretive about his disease. It is his disease however and teaching him to look after himself when I am not around is more important to me than him educating or interacting with others with the disease. I will continue to speak for both of us. I will send the principal a link to the upcoming FFL Canada conference in case the parents are looking for some support this summer and I will learn to live with my son's indifference which may not always be a bad thing.