First day jitters.

As the summer comes to a close we are hit with the inevitable beginning of the school year jitters. Starting a school year is difficult to say the least. New teachers. New classmates. New routine. The worry begins to permeate your thoughts as the sun begins to set a little earlier each day. First day jitters are no fun.

For me.

It is not my son with Type 1 diabetes that has the jitters, it is me, the caregiver, the external pancreas, that begins to worry. During the summer we follow a summer schedule, it takes a good week or two to get the basals right and the insulin to carb ratios on point, but it’s summer, who cares.

The first two weeks of school are a very different animal.

It takes two weeks to figure out the new basal patterns and such that will accommodate getting up early, eating breakfast before the sun comes up, riding a bus, eating lunch at 11:00am (or summer breakfast time), and all the other stuff that a new school year throws at us. Two weeks feels like forever when your child’s happiness and well being come into play.

While I am trying my hardest to be an organ outside my son’s body, his pancreas, it is my son who suffers. If it takes me 5 days to figure out the best settings to keep his sugar at an optimal level than that is 5 days that he is not feeling himself. He is not feeling himself at a time when he absolutely has to be at his best. Meeting new teachers, making new friends, following new schedules are difficult under the best conditions but with blood sugars running from low to high it makes a seemingly normal rite of passage, the first week of school, extremely abnormal and stressful.

You only get one chance to make a first impression and with wonky blood sugars sometimes the first impression is not the right one. My son is an intelligent, independent, funny, creative, enthusiastic little boy when his sugars are in range. When his blood glucose levels are not in range, either too high or too low, he can appear whiny, weepy, angry, belligerent, less intelligent and downright yucky, no qualities that anyone would want as their first impression, especially because he has no control if his blood glucose values are off.

It’s one thing for a student to say, “I hate math,” because they are that type of kid. One who complains about school and generally doesn’t like being there. It’s another situation when you take my son, one who can already do double digit addition in his head, and have him say, “I hate math,” solely because his sugar is off and he really doesn’t know what he is saying. In fact, in our house when things are said or done out of the ordinary we take a moment to check his sugar to make sure it’s not the “sugar talking” as we say.

So yeah, first day jitters, I have them big time. I pray that I can see a pattern quickly and fix all the settings that need to be fixed fast enough that it does not have a negative impact on my son’s school year. I pray that Type 1 diabetes and all that comes with it are the last thing that he has to worry about starting a new school year. Let him worry about making friends and learning all that he can learn this year. I’ll take the diabetes stuff and worry for him. It’s my job. I am his mom, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.