A special place is reserved for nurses …

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses are an incredible breed. There is no doubt that there is a special place in heaven for them. To this day, seventeen years later, I still hold them in awe, all they deal with, daily, how they do it, or why. Wonderful, wonderful people.

School nurses also have a special place reserved for them. Although, it may be a bit warmer …

I have related the story of the wonderful school nurse who determined that I, a single father, should not be the care taker for a teenage daughter and tried to remedy the situation by doing bizarre vulva checks on my daughter and upon finding normal discharge determined I could not care for her … remember? All because of her own prejudices and ignorance.

I get a call today, fifteen minutes after school starts.

Please come get your daughter. She has a temperature of 100.4 and must go home. She will be kept in the nurses office so she does not go near Jane.

Jane is in a wheelchair. My daughter is in a wheelchair. WTF? It’s not like they can even control their chairs or where they are. Also, a fever? She was perfectly fine at home.

So I finish my shower and get to school. There is my daughter, happily listening to her ipod, smiling, in the warm nurses’ office in the jacket I sent her to school with. Got that, in a jacket, in the warm office, yet smiling.

Remember she has to have a temperature under 100 and be without medication for 24 hours before she can come back. Let’s take her temperature now.

She manages to wedge a thermometer somehow somewhere under my daughter’s arm, while she is still fully dressed.

Yes, still the 100 degree fever.

We go home. I take her temperature via a much more reliable method and send a very simple email …

For what it’s worth, her temp was 99.4 rectally when we got home.

To which she responds …

I hope your daughter is feeling better tomorrow. I’ll speak to the district transport supervisor and tell her your daughter is sick and to check with us before she sends the bus on Wed. or Thurs.

Why on earth is the nurse arranging transportation? How will she know if my daughter is better? Is she coming to the house (like I’d let her in)? Am I not capable of determining when she should go back. Granted, checking temperature and timing 24 hours is beyond the ability of a university professor of engineering, but I think I can manage.

So I simply ask:

Who is “us”?

You, me, her aide or teacher. If you call me tomorrow afternoon and give me an update I will call the transportation supervisor.

So I respond …

I have contacted her directly via her cell for the last 10 years, has that changed? Do you do this for every child who is out of school?

I am just trying to help.

As a postscript, I just spoke to the transportation supervisor. All she said was “outrageous.” When asked has the nurse ever been involved as to when a student returns and she said “not that I know of.” There are almost 1900 students in the high school with one full time and one part time nurse. And the full time nurse has time to do this and this to me?

Is a school nurse the position a nurse takes when no one else will have her (or him)? Or is it just this one that deserves a little less consideration than the wonderful NICU nurses or the gazillions of others who understand?

I am NOT against the 24 hour rule without a fever. That makes sense, if in fact the child has a fever.

Yes, there is a special place reserved for this one.


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