At least that's what seems to be the case for school nurses. You can wake up, go to work, lah-dee-dah like thinking today should be nice and slow. Next thing you know, the kids have all gone home and you're sitting in an office that looks like a tornado's ripped through it, wishing you'd just called in sick. Thursday was one of those days.
It started out quietly enough, thankfully, because the straw that broke the nurse's back happened on Wednesday (that will be another post - I'm not ready to publicly admit it). I'd been sick with what's turned out to be a sinus infection for weeks, and all I could think about was the upcoming four day weekend. I went to see my 3rd grader diabetic at 11:15, and found him to be in the worst mood I'd ever seen him in. He walked in and said, "I hate my mom." That was about as positive as my day got. From there, I went to my middle school, where I had already confirmed that my 8th grader diabetic was there (she only comes about every other day). Already dealing with the fact that she decided to play hooky on me, the attendance clerk pulled me aside to let me know a CPS social worker would be coming to campus during 6th period to talk to a special girl of mine - I've written about her a few times.
Backing up, I had sent in a referral for a county occupational therapist to see her earlier that same week. It was a last ditch effort suggested by a fellow nurse, hoping that maybe someone else could see the atrocious state of her shoes and do something about. [Her mother refused to speak with me, and the hospital is prevented from talking to me about their patient by privacy laws.] Over the course of the school year, I've had numerous school personnel come to my office in tears begging me to do something about this - as though I hadn't tried or hadn't thought about it. Needless to say, this case has been wearing me down, and I wasn't sure how to feel about the fact that someone had finally reported it. As I told everyone who came to my office about it, it's certainly a case of neglect, but I also know the mother probably beat the daughter into submission after the last report - I wasn't about to do risk getting the daughter in trouble. Besides the fact that I had just days earlier sent in the OT referral, I also found it interesting that just in the last few weeks the girl has been returning to see me. Every week, because she knows what day I'm there, asking for help with her feet (and simultaneously breaking my heart, but I'm not about to complain in front of her - at least I have shoes that function).
Returning to Thursday, I told the attendance clerk to please give my contact information to that CPS worker - even permitting my cell phone number to be used, which I usually don't for work. Just as I was giving up that the CPS worker would call (or that the 8th grader diabetic's parents would answer a phone), she rang. I'd had the entire school year to rehearse what I would say to someone about this shoe case if given the chance, so that social worker got an earful. She was impressively attentive, and acknowledged my concern for the daughter's safety when her mom finds out this is being investigated. Unfortunately, the family had just moved this week, so the school no longer has their current address - and the daughter wasn't able to remember during her interview with the CPS worker (a common occurrence at my schools). Although CPS may not be able to track down the family right away, at least there's a paper trail beginning on it.
The two events on this day - the diabetic deciding she's ready to be independent and the CPS call - gave me enough worry to last through the four day weekend. Twice this weekend I've dreamt I forgot to try to talk to the diabetic's parents Tuesday morning, and in the daytime I've been wondering if the daughter will be at school on Tuesday.
Three more weeks of school before summer break. Here's hoping they're less eventful than my track record is predicting.