Buying school supplies prior to the beginning of each school year is a rite of passage. Until my kids got to high school, I was more than happy to take advantage of the school supply kits offered by our school. Even so, each year, I still have to make multiple trips to the store for ‘just one more thing,’ or ‘my teacher just told us we need this.’
Other than looking for a lighter-weight backpack, we’ve never really taken hemophilia into consideration when buying school supplies. But as I stood in the store on the seventh day of school this year, I realized there are two items I need to add to our annual Back to School shopping list.
One of those items is ice. I have to buy bags of ice in bulk this time of year. Not on conventional back to school supply lists, right?
Some of that stems from the fact that my sophomore daughter (who is unaffected) runs cross-country and is often sore after practice. Ice offers her relief. But my son, Thomas, is definitely more prone to bleeding in the first few weeks of school. I don’t know that it’s been scientifically validated, but I’m sure stress plays into those extra bleeds. This year, Thomas has entered 9th grade and the high school sits on large campus. Even with the accommodations in his Individualized Education Plan (IEP), he still walks a great deal each day and has a heavier backpack than I’d like for him to have. But note taking and writing are his nemesis at the beginning of each school year. He does have accommodations in his IEP that help with this, but still, it seems that every school year hemophilia likes to say, “Accommodations, sch-ommodations,” and Thomas ends up with muscle bleeds in his forearms during the first or second week of school. Usually after that yearly back to school reminder of “Oh yeah, we need to be careful about too much writing,” he doesn’t have the issue again during the school year. Ice helps ease the pain in his swollen forearms and we go through a lot in the evenings while I scribe out his homework as he sits beside me telling what to write for the answers.
(Sidenote: I thought I would never have to solve another algebraic equation once I graduated high school, but I was pretty stoked that his math homework wasn’t completely out of my league!)
The other more standard back to school supply we need lots of is tissues. My youngest daughter has tested positive as a carrier for hemophilia and she has the nosebleeds to prove it! I always warn her teachers that she has fantastic nosebleeds and that the beginning of the school year is always bad (as in winter). But every year, usually in the first few days of school, Natalie comes home, laughing and telling us about how her nose had started gushing and the teacher had completely wigged out! Natalie is a pro at handling what I’ve dubbed “the great hemophilia flood,” and her teachers get used to her popping out of her seat to grab tissues before dashing to the nurse. After I watched her walk out of school with a full box of tissues in her hand one year, I started to feel guilty about the amount of tissue she uses in comparison to other students, so I always send double the amount of tissues the school requests as part of back to school supplies.
While I try to prepare school personnel in our annual in-service meetings about hemophilia, it seems that the first couple of weeks of school have a few speed bumps we have to roll with. As I stood in line at the store buying 20 pounds of ice earlier this week, I couldn’t help but chuckle…because I’m pretty sure only other bleeding disorders moms would think that ice and tissues are valid back to school expenses.
Sonji lives with her husband, Nathan, and three children Nora (15), Thomas, (14), & Natalie (11), in Colorado.
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.