I cannot argue that living with diabetes impacts a person’s psychological and social well-being. I feel very differently, however, about things being better for “patients in the old days.” Perhaps they were simpler, but I don’t think they were better.
From what I have learned from people who live with diabetes, tight control is important to how a person feels from day to day, and of course lessens the risk of complications later on in life. I am grateful that Caleb has all the tools he has available to him and we are able to keep his A1C results within a range that would be considered “non diabetic.” It has taken a lot of work, but its been well worth the effort to educate and recondition the way people in Caleb’s schools think about caring for a student with diabetes. I often start the discussion about his emotional health and how that is as important to care for as his physical health, and that is why I ask for accommodations that might be new to people. I’ve done everything I can to minimize the maintenance of diabetes in Caleb’s life, balanced with achieving the best blood sugar control we can manage.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing the entire way, particularly when he was little. He’s grown up with an emotional burden most around him haven’t. Given the cards he was dealt, we manage the circumstances the best way we can, making adjustments along the way. At the age of 14, having lived with this most of his life, I’m happy to say I think Caleb is a pretty level-headed kid, with good friends, and a focus on school work, sports and all the other things kids his age should be spending their time on, and managing his blood sugar is just something that comes along for the ride.
We’ve been working with school staff for nearly 11 years and by and large they are caring, considerate people who want to help their students, including Caleb, even when that means they have to learn something new and put in a little more effort.