The other day I read a blog post with 10 tips for College Students with Diabetes by the lovely people over at Lauren’s Hope. So inner Rachel said; “Hey, Diabetes tags along with you everyday to college! Why don’t you right a bloggity-blog post?” Thanks to inner Rachel, I’ve decided to add one more tip for College Students dragging Diabetes with them to class.
Next week marks the beginning of my third year in college! Whenever a new school year starts in Fall I get really excited and sometimes really stressed. I’m constantly asking myself questions like; Do I have all the books/supplies I need for school, Will I do well in these classes, and of course Will I have any problems with D this year?
While growing up with D my parents always set up a meeting with my teacher, nurse, principle, and other members of staff before school started. We would talk about what my plan was going to be for daily diabetes management this year at school, and what the staff members would need to do to help me with said management. Both of which would be structured by my newly updated 504 plan. It was a pretty nifty little meeting that allowed me to get to know my teacher and nurse and they got to know me and we got a plan set. It was all very important because in most cases I was the first and only diabetic in the school, so the staff was fairly new with the concept of diabetes.
Well when I went to high school the plans changed a little. Since I became more independent with my diabetes control, and since the nurses were more familiar with a 504 plan I no longer had these meetings. However the awesome nurse’s office let all of my teachers know about my diabetes plan and what to expect me to do to take control. So all-in-all in high school I had a pretty good support system for when I needed it.
Well the transition from high school to college is different for a PWD (Person with Diabetes) because there isn’t really that support system. A college student is expected to be more responsible than a high school student. In turn as a college student with diabetes I am on my own when it comes to my diabetes management.
So one of the things I do to prepare for school is write each of my Professors a short e-mail to let them know what I need to do to make sure I am safe. Some of the things I cover are leaving the class/eating in class while low or when I need to check. I also make sure that I go over what this crazy disease is. Each time I send out the e-mail I always get positive responses and there is never any conflict. I just think that sending an e-mail out to professors is a good way to inform that I have this disease and that I do my best to keep it in control. Also it gives me a chance to let my professors know I am being responsible and that doesn’t hurt anyone.
The e-mail I send out is below. When I was writing it out I worked off another e-mail that I found on Google written to a PWD’s new roommate (and for the life of me I cannot find the original post). They both have the same concept. This e-mail could be used for a variety of different recipients not just college professors. Feel free to work off of my e-mail if you wish!
Hello, My name is Rachel Scott and I am in your [Specific Class]. I am letting all my professors know that I have type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes). Please understand that I do not want or need to be treated differently because of my diabetes, but there are some things I’d like you to know about the condition.
Usually my type 1 diabetes is under control, but sometimes my blood sugar gets too low or too high, which can endanger my health. To keep that from happening, I have to do certain things, like test my blood sugar and wear an insulin pump. It may help you to understand if I first tell you a little about diabetes.
When a person eats a meal, the food is broken down into different substances, is absorbed, and enters the bloodstream. One of these substances is glucose, a sugar. The body cannot function without glucose. In turn, the body cannot use glucose without insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. My pancreas, like that of other people with type 1 diabetes, doesn’t produce insulin, so I have to take take my insulin through my insulin pump every day.
When I get too much insulin I can have low blood sugars or insulin reactions, however I usually know when my blood sugar is getting low. At these times, I need to drink a sugared drink or eat something right away. So there for I may need to leave class in a hurry or grab a bite of something to eat. In some cases it takes about 10 minutes for me to get back to normal. So if you could please understand why I might be either out of the classroom or not myself during this time.
I rarely have any problems controlling my diabetes, however I just wanted to let you know just in case something extreme happens. If you have any questions, I am very comfortable with answering them. Thank you in advanced for being so understanding and I hope to have a great semester.
This really long and poorly written post was written by Rachel Scott.
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© Rachel Scott 2012
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