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Re: [IP] "discrimination" at school. Not about pumping

On 25 Apr 2001, at 13:44, Jocelyn Robinson wrote:

> I belong to not only this mail group, but one with www.childrenwithdiabetes as
> well.  The message below was posted yesterday on this mail group and I am
> hoping that with the help of all of you we can help this boy out.  He's not on
> the pump, but I still hope we can help.
This is what I wrote to him (I hope what I said doesn't make things 

Dear Mr. Hoff,

I heard about the situation with Ryan Wellhoefer and wanted to 
throw in my 2 cents on the topic.

I'm a 39 y/o woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last 
year (yes, type 1, the same kind Ryan has).  I'm still learning how 
to manage my diabetes.  I want to address two particular issues 
with this situation (assuming I have the correct information) that I 
find very very troubling.

First, I'll describe something that happened to me recently to 
illustrate why I believe my concerns have merit.

Night before last, I took my dog, a 96 lb german shepherd who is 
still learning how to "heel" for a rather short walk.  Half a mile, 
perhaps.  Because he's still learning to heel, that short half mile is a
long way.  <grin>  He makes me work.  Physical activity is an 
excellent way to get the blood sugars back down again.  But 
sometimes it's too effective....

I had taken along my husband's cellphone, in case I had problems 
and needed assistance, and I'd taken along glucose tablets.  But I 
neglected to take my blood sugar monitor with me.

When I was about 4 houses away from home (on the return trip), 
my world suddenly went sideways.  And I knew I was having a low 
blood sugar attack.  I had to sit down and eat my sugar and hang 
on to the dog.

I *should* have called my husband though.  You see, I felt a little 
better in a few minutes, got up and walked the rest of the way 
home, allowing my dog to pull for once to help me along.  I couldn't 
have restrained him anyway.

When I got home, I checked my blood sugar and discovered that it 
was 38.  Do you understand how seriously low that is?  As 
someone preparing for pregnancy, I've been told to keep my blood 
sugars a little lower than is usually recommended (60-120 instead 
of the usual 80-120).  Below 60 is a danger situation.  If I was 
driving, I could easily have had a fatal accident--killing others 
besides just myself.

Again, yes, I should have call my husband.  And if I'd taken my 
glucose meter with me and tested right then, I would absolutely 
have called him.

You see, it was 1 am.  I was outside at night alone (albeit with a 
huge dog that no one would mess with).  I could very easily have 
passed out and knocked my head on the pavement, ended up in a 
coma with serious brain damage from the low blood sugar AND the 
head trauma.

Just imagine if I didn't have the cellphone or the glucose tablets ON 
MY BODY WITH ME.  I've learned my lesson.  I will never leave the 
house again without my meter.  It's a royal pain having to carry it 
around with me all the time, but it's far better than banging my 
head on the pavement at night alone with only a dog to protect me 
(assuming he didn't continue on home without me).

Please reconsider this policy of not allowing Ryan to carry glucose 
tablets with him at the very least.  It seems to me that he is in 
serious danger because of that policy.  The tablets I buy have a 
very pungent citrus smell to them and cannot be confused with 
illicit drugs.

He should also carry his meter with him 24x7.  In my opinion.  
Making a diabetic continue physical activity (walking to the office) 
while having a low has got to be one of the most dangerous 
situations I can imagine.  It seems to me that the school is setting 
itself up for a huge liability here as well as endangering his life.

As far as carrying the pen with him, that's not as critical--unless 
he's having trouble with very very high blood sugars.  But if he's 
testing regularly and staying on top of it, that isn't as much of a 
concern to me.

What bothers me most is not allowing him to carry his meter and 
glucose tablets with him.

Please don't put him in that kind of life-threatening situation.

And please also don't punish him for years (preventing him from 
graduating cum laude will negatively impact his life for quite a long
while) because he was carrying a perfectly LEGAL medical device 
with him when he wasn't "supposed to" according to arbitrary rules. 

The crime doesn't fit the punishment.  I thought we wanted to 
reward good students, not yank it all out from under them for doing 
something that is perfectly *legal* all the while maintaining the best
grades anyone could possibly ask of a student.  Please don't take 
away all his incentive to keep up the good work.  It's simply NOT 
the same as carrying a heroin needle around with him, can you see 
that??  He's not a convicted felon in a prison who can't be trusted 
with even a plastic fork, ok??  HE'S TAKING CARE OF HIS 
DIABETES.  That's a fantastic thing!!!!!  Encourage that, please!  
PLEASE don't put unnecessary and dangerous roadblocks in front 
him.  Don't destroy all extra hard work this way.  

He should be applauded, not punished.


<snipped> of Sacramento, California.
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