Nerves and reassurance
Amy was a bit nervous about going back to school but I wasn’t too worried as our diabetic nurse had reassured me that the office staff at Amy’s junior school were fantastic.
It was the start of the spring term and our life now seemed totally different.
Not much sympathy from my workplace
On the first day I couldn’t take her to school although I desperately wanted to, as I work in a preschool, my manager was off sick and the deputy manager was very unsympathetic. I remember clearly the deputy dismissing my worries as if Amy had a cold. She was annoyed that I had requested to leave work for half an hour at lunchtime to give Amy her injection and said “Oh well there’s lots of children there with diabetes, why can’t the office staff just do it.” I was angry and hurt that someone could be so unfeeling. My baby wanted and needed me there as she was frightened and anxious about injecting in a strange place. Kev worked from home and did Amy’s first injection in school as luckily he has a very understanding manager and can work from home if necessary.
Day two, a day off thankfully
On the second day I wasn’t working and arranged to meet our diabetes nurse at reception. I remember her explaining everything to the ‘office angels’ although diabetes wasn’t something new to them. One of the admin officers, who I had always been a bit wary of, was so calm and reassuring, she was used to treating diabetics as there were two others in the school already. Amy seemed reassured as she was shown where we could do her injection at lunchtime and she had her own tray to keep all her hypo stuff in. She seemed to be coping quite well and she almost liked the celebrity status: being allowed to jump the queue at lunch; leaving lessons 5 minutes early before lunch; being escorted by a friend for lunch; being allowed to take her toy cat, “Little B”, to every lesson.
The ‘office angels’
I remember by the end of the fourth day that I was overwrought; angry because of the unbelievably dismissive attitude of my deputy manager and exhausted as I had to be strong for Amy. The deputy had made a snide comment as I left at lunchtime and when I got to school the office staff were so nice to me that I just burst into floods of tears. The admin officer gave me a big hug which made me feel loads better and she reassured me that I was doing fine and Amy was coping very well as she had a lovely family supporting her. This is why I will always think of them as ‘the office angels’.
Winning the postcode lottery
Having talked to other mums of diabetic kids who have told me horror stories about their school’s provision, I realise how lucky Amy was to have developed diabetes whilst at Fair Oak Junior School. The staff at the school helped Amy to cope with a life-changing condition, making sure she was okay, helping with her injections, phoning me if Amy had hypos.
I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for them but especially my ‘office angels’. I will never forget their kindness.