Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's all about the numbers. And the grades.

The good news was that Daniel's A1c came down to 7.2, which means we're getting the hang of this pumping thing (after a year). The bad news was that we finally had one of those scares that the diabetes nurse warned us about -- high blood sugars plus ketones -- that comes from a pump mistake. Daniel woke up about 2 a.m. the other night with all the classic symptoms: a pounding headache, dry mouth, gotta pee, etc. His bg was about 470, and of course, he felt like crap. The pee stick showed large ketones. My husband had gotten up with him, and then woke me to check in and see if we should go to the ER.

I checked the good old diabetes manual for instructions. I think the people at Children's National Medical Center in DC give great take-home instructions for all their diabetes-related stuff. It is easy to follow, even at 2 a.m., and helped us get through the night without an ER trip.

There's really nothing you can do but keep checking blood sugar readings. Every 15 - 20 minutes, each time we checked, they were going down. I finally sent Daniel back to bed at 4 a.m. with a bg of 280, and told him I would wake him at 5:30 to check again. At that point he was back to normal.

Other than that blip, his numbers have been really great for some time now. Hope I'm not jinxing myself. But I'm happy with the insulin pump therapy. Now let's find a cure for this stinkin' disease!!!

On a totally unrelated subject, I started writing this blog tonight because I was mad, and I had to calm myself down. Writing about diabetes was a good distraction, and I think I'm pretty calm now. My youngest son Dominic takes Tae Kwon Do, and is a blue belt. He's taken classes at the same studio for several years now. Lately the studio has instituted a report card system. After every class, the child presents his report card for a grade on how he did in class.

Dominic recently wanted to quit Tae Kwon Do. It's in the evening, and he's been pretty tired, but we encouraged him to persevere. However, tonight I wanted to yank him out of that place. After he decided to NOT quit, he started giving his all. However, he is an 8 year old boy, and is subject to some moments of inattention. Tonight was NOT one of those nights. They were practicing their forms over and over. I noticed that at one point in the form, he kept turning the wrong direction. There were 2 teachers in the room, and 9 or 10 kids. One of the teachers went over the fact that some people were turning the wrong direction, but Dominic didn't get it. No one went up to him and corrected his form.

The teachers asked questions about what certain terms meant, and why you lifted your heel off the ground at one point, etc. etc. Dominic raised his hand and was called on a couple of times. He got the answers correct.

Then the teachers separated the blue belts from the rest of the class to do push ups, sit ups, and squats. There were 4 blue belts, including Dominic. One of them was asked to lead the push ups, and he kept fooling around, and they had to restart the push up count a couple of times. Then the teacher asked the kids to move to a different side of the room. Dominic did so by rolling across the floor. The teacher said to him, "Dominic!" That's all. Another kid crab-walked. The teacher said, "Can't you guys just walk?" Then they did their sit ups, and sat waiting for the other group to finish. They were talking to each other, but quietly. I motioned to Dominic to come talk to me, and I told him that when he was doing his form, he turned in the wrong direction at step three, and I was concerned that he would get that wrong when it came to testing time. He said, "Oh, okay!" And went back to sit and wait.

Then all the kids were called back to do their forms again. This time, Dominic turned in the correct direction.

It was almost the end of class. The owner of the studio came out and called out two of the kids -- the one who was messing around when he was supposed to do the push up count, and Dominic, telling them that they had to stop interrupting the class, pay attention, and quit fooling around. Dominic turned and looked at me with that WTF???? look -- because he had not done anything to cause problems! He was told that his testing paperwork was being held until he could learn to control himself. When it came time to get his report card, they gave him a C for the night.

In all the years he's been taking classes, when he would get the wiggles, or mess around in class, Dominic would get a lecture from me afterwards. I let him know that he needed to respect his teachers, to pay attention in class, and to do his best if he wanted to succeed. Tonight I saw that his form was solid, that he put energy into his punches and kicks. He didn't do a half-assed job, he was focused.

So I followed the teacher to the back room and asked why Dominic got a C. He said, "because he rolled across the floor." I told the teacher that I noticed that Dominic had worked hard all evening. He knew answers to the questions, his form has really improved. Did he not see that? The teacher said, "he rolled across the floor." Well I guess that negates everything else he did in the class. I told him that I respectfully disagreed with his opinion, and that one roll shouldn't take away from all his hard work. Mind you, this is the teacher who is the son of the studio's business manager. I have noticed, for a long time, that he has less patience with the kids than all the other teachers, and does not teach the forms, or kicks, or punches in a clear manner. Blah.

Then I went to the head of the studio, who basically agreed that Dominic has improved. But that he has to stop interrupting the class, and improve some more. That he understand that with his asthma that he can't always perform, but he can try to improve.

Okay -- my eyes were about to pop out of my head. Dominic does not have asthma. Who the hell was he talking about? I sit through all of these classes. Dominic does not interrupt the class. Again, who the hell was he talking about? I looked the head master in the eye when he said we all can improve, and said, "Yes, everyone can improve. EVERYONE." Including you, you idiot. And then he went on and on about kids in the after school program not working so hard, versus kids in the evening program really pushing themselves, and nothing he said made much sense. My kid IS in the evening program! He has been working his butt off. And he doesn't have asthma! It was weird, like he was talking about somebody else!

When we left the studio, I told Dominic how proud I was of his achievements. I told him that they didn't see his effort, but that I did, and that he shouldn't hang his head. I will not send him back to a place where they put him down in front of the whole class without justification. Yeah, that's a great way to get kids to want to achieve. The good old "make them feel like shit" method. And I'm paying for this? Not anymore.


teridr said...

I'm glad you can stop! We sign a one-year contract, and we're stuck with it if we decide to quit. I feel lucky now that they do such a good job -- they're very patient with the kids, even when they're not paying 100% attention. They're quick to praise individually and critique as a group, so that students feel rewarded and motivated to focus and improve.
Short answer - you need another dojo, with better teachers and a better attitude.
And, for what it's worth, I suspect that they really *are* mixing Dominic up with some other kid. Oy. I would be so mad that I wouldn't be able to see straight.

Naomi said...

So here's the conundrum -- Dominic wants to go back. Now I'm not sure what to do!