Exception to the Rule

I’m a Rule-Follower from way back. And nothing drives me crazier than people who think that the rules apply to everyone but them.

It would make me nuts when I was substitute-teaching: parents who’d send in notes asking for their children to be excused from homework because they had baseball practice, or who couldn’t be bothered following the car-line procedures (those are Safety Rules, people…), or kids who who’d mow others down in order to be first in line–as if being first to get to an assigned seat in the cafeteria makes any difference at all. I’m not a fan of the Entitled Generation.

Breaking the rules doesn’t come easy to me, so it was a hard pill to swallow this morning when I sent an email to TheKid’s teachers asking for an exception to a school policy.

Diabetes technology is ever-changing, and the newest incarnation of the continuous glucose monitor TheKid is using sends data straight to a smartphone. That means he’d need to be checking his phone several times during the school day: before lunch or snack, and any time there was an alert of an out-of-range blood sugar level.

TheKid’s school has a very strict policy regarding personal technology, including cell phones, for students: you can’t use it in school. I’ve always supported this policy, as a parent and as a substitute teacher. And today I had to explain to TheKid’s teachers why he’ll be using his iPhone in school.

This is the whole reason TheKid even has an iPhone. It gives him freedom–and it gives him data that helps him (and us) make decisions about how much insulin to take for a meal or snack or to correct a high blood sugar.

Having diabetes has required TheKid to exercise a huge amount of self-control. He can’t just grab a handful of potato chips out of a bag at a party. He has to consider how many carbs are in those chips and what his blood sugar is right now. He has to pause and dose insulin through his pump.

Now he’ll be required to exercise self-control in a new way. He’ll be bringing his iPhone to classes in his pocket, and he’ll need to check it. We’ll have to trust that he’ll only be using his iPhone to check his blood sugar.

Because kids are kids, and kids test limits, and I get that, I sent TheKid’s teachers a graphic that shows the app he’ll be using:

Courtesy of Dexcom.com
Courtesy of Dexcom.com

If a teacher sees him using his phone for other purposes, I’ve asked them to contact me. The usual school policy is to confiscate a phone immediately and return it only to a parent. That’s not going to work here, because TheKid’s phone is actually medical equipment. But if he’s caught using his phone for non-diabetic reasons, Hubs and I will need to deal with that at home, and in cooperation with the teacher.

I received gracious responses from TheKid’s teachers and the school principal, and I’m ever grateful for the support and concern we’ve experienced from the school ever since TheKid’s diagnosis. I am trusting TheKid to resist temptation as he’s done in so many other ways. We’re not breaking or bending the school’s technology rules for our own convenience or vanity or for some other self-serving purpose. I just keep having to tell that to the rule-follower in me.

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2 thoughts on “Exception to the Rule

  1. Barb, it’s so cool to see that your son is using his iPhone for diabetes management, since my husband was instrumental in bringing the first Smartphone diabetes app into existence! I hope that it will be a blessing to your son! I don’t know if he’s using the same one that my husband helped design, but I can tell you that, regardless, a huge team of people poured their hearts and souls into it and would be thrilled to know of one “kid” using it successfully!

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    • Wow–Stephanie, he is using a Dexcom CGM and the app that goes with it. I’d love to know more about the technology your husband worked on, if it’s something different. As parents, we are grateful for all the technology and apps that are helpful to diabetics, and we’re always looking for new and better ways to help our kids manage T1D.

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