Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dear Children's Museum of Phoenix,

Dear Children’s Museum of Phoenix,

I would like to take a minute to share my experiences with your museum. A couple of months ago I took my 2 and 4 year old to your museum for the first time. The three of us had such a great time, so when we went back with friends a few weeks later we chose to buy an annual membership. I knew this was a place I could bring the kids, out of the heat, to have a great time year round. Our first two experiences were amazing. The kids had a blast and loved every minute of our time there.

When this weekend was approaching and I was figuring out what I wanted to do with the kids, the children’s museum was the first place that came to mind. I wish I could say our experience today was as good as the last two times. Unfortunately, it was a terrible experience. You see, my 4-year-old son has Type One Diabetes. This means his body does not make insulin on its own and I must balance his food, insulin, activity levels, etc to make sure his blood sugar stays as stable as possible. This requires a lot of hard work on my part. And even with all the work I put into managing this disease we still have times when his blood sugar goes too high or too low.

Today at the museum, my son ended up having a low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can cause a person with Diabetes to pass out, have a seizure, or even cause death. It is important for the person to be treated immediately. This is what I did when in the museum today. I was sitting on the third floor with both of my children. My son told me he felt really low, really really low. So I checked his blood sugar and he was right. He was very low at that moment. I sat on the couch with him and gave him some fruit snacks and applesauce to eat. While I was waiting for his blood sugar to come back up to a normal range a docent came over to me and told me that we were not allowed to have food in the museum unless we were in the 2nd floor café. I explained to him how I understood but that my son had Diabetes and a low blood sugar, which needed to be taken care of immediately. He told me I should have taken my son down to the 2nd floor to treat the low and give him the snack. I then explained how my son could have passed out on the way if I had done that with him. I was then told something to the effect of “Well, you should plan that out better…” As if the low blood sugar was something I had planned. I have to say I am very disappointed and upset about this situation. I feel as though we were singled out because another parent complained. I feel as though after I cleaned up our garbage we were being watched by the museum staff and were unable to really enjoy the rest of our time there. I ended up taking the kids home earlier than I had planned because I was so upset.

At this time I am unsure if I even want to return to the museum with my children. I truly think the experiences provided are great for my small children to grow and learn, but I do not want to feel discriminated against if I need to treat my son with some fruit snacks or a juice. I feel your museum staff should be educated about disabilities, which may affect your patrons. Some disabilities, such as Diabetes, are invisible, but are certainly life threatening and need to be attended to constantly.

Please let me know what action you plan to take to ensure this situation is not repeated when we, or another family with a type one diabetic child visits your museum.

Tracy Ripley
Member of The Children’s Museum of Phoenix

ETA: I did actually send this in an email to the CEO. I posted about the response HERE.

*Disclaimer: I am a mom of a T1 Diabetic child. I am NOT a doctor. I just play one in real life. Please do not take anything in this post or any other post on this blog as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns of your own, please seek advice from your doctor.*


Alexis Nicole said...

OMG Tracy!! First I am so sorry you even had to deal with that while LITERALLY saving the Superhero's life!

Good for you on the letter, please let us know their response.


Kris said...

OMGOsh! Wow!!! I am SO mad for you right now! You do really plan on sending this, right? They really need to know how poorly you were treated. That comment about planning better has my blood boiling!!! They really DO NOT get it! >:(

(((HUGS))) I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience.

Nicole said...

UNREAL!! I can't believe he told you to plan it out better...what an ass!!

Great letter!!

Tracy, Mom of The Diabetes Dude said...

I'm in shock that this happened!!! I read this to Noah and he was extremely disappointed that this could happen and would like to write a letter to the Children's Museum of Phoenix as well. Unbelievable!

Heidi / D-Tales said...

This is SO upsetting!!! I'm so sorry you had to endure that kind of treatment. They are a children's museum and here they are discriminating against children with special needs. That docent's tone and wording was so unprofessional. How about a little empathy and understanding??? How about realizing that some of your patrons have special needs??? I don't expect every staff person and every volunteer at the museum to know about T1D, but I do expect respect and tolerance.

Valerie said...

You should definitely send that letter in, or even talk to someone in management about the situation. Clearly, that person is an idiot and doesn't realize the seriousness of the situation. Ugh, sorry you had to experience that!

Penny said...

Oh you should send that letter sister! So sorry this happened to you - people need to be educated! You go girl!!!

Sarah said...

Tracy- I've had moments where this has occurred and it's a big stinker. The amazing part to me is how our kiddos forget about it and move on, I always try and remember this little lesson that they keep teaching me. To forgive and or educate then move on, so my point is keep enjoying that museum. At our museum I quietly remind a staff member when I check in that Isaac has type 1 diabetes so if you see him wander off from me and looks out of it than he probably needs medical attention and you should page me right away, I also remind them that he may need immediate medical treatment from me if his BG drops and that includes candy or juice. That's just what works for us. I think it's crappy that the staff at that museum weren't more compassionate, but keep trying and eventually they'll see that their ability to be adaptive make them a more appealing museum to all not just families of children with type 1 diabetes :)

Denise said...

ERGH!! I can't believe that after explaining you were treating a low and didn't have time to take him to the cafeteria, that he had the nerve to tell you to better plan! This makes me SO MAD. PLEASE send this letter in and keep us posted on any response. Hopefully this is just one idiot and not an indicator of all their staff/policies.

Jen said...

Tracy! That makes me SO mad!! I hope you send that letter in AND call and try and speak to someone in person. That is just 100% unacceptable!!

Hallie said...

This is terrible. It's one thing to say something about a policy- but once the staff knows that you are treating a life threatening medical emergency, they should not continue to harass you. Plan better?!? If we could PLAN blood sugar we'd never experience highs and lows.

I'm so sorry for your experience. This definitely would keep me from visiting this museum.

Reyna said...

I am so sorry Tracy. I cannot even imagine the feelings that you, that the superhero, and that the princess experienced today. I feel terribly that even after you explained the situation that you felt the staff was "watching" you and the kids. I cannot even imagine. Please let me know if there is anything I can do...or if you need more letters of support to be sent to the museum. This is an outrage.

Jules said...

oh man. i think its entirely possible i wouldve wanted to punch someone. i couldnt have calmly dealt with that, i know im too stretched and would be too pi$$ed to respond civilly. i hope you send that letter off for all our little type 1's. that couldve happened to any one of us. :(

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