Now we move forward until I was about ten or eleven. In the meantime that “weak and sickly” diagnosis was made.
I went through a period when I would fall down faint, or nearly faint, in school. Hoo boy, did that make me popular!
I could sit still, walk around or run around seemingly without problems, but stand still for long and down I’d go. Only sometimes though.
I was sent to the hospital and given what purported to be a full workup. The result was that the “neurotic” and “anxiety” diagnoses were reinforced.
However (and this was the first time I realised that doctors would deliberately lie to my face) on the notepad was stated PATIENT HAS HEART MURMUR BUT MUST ON NO ACCOUNT BE TOLD.
Say what??? Obviously if I was so ill they wouldn’t tell me this meant I must be going to die.
A clueful doctor might have said something like
“We’ve noticed that you have a heart murmur but you will probably grow out of it” which curiously enough is exactly what happened.
Now once again in retrospect I can see what was probably happening. What I would like to go back in time and check was: were the days when I fainted or felt faint days when I’d walked to school or days when I had a lift? And what did I eat for breakfast?
There were other oddball symptoms too, sometimes I’d completely run out of energy.
A typical example: we’d been on a school outing to a nature reserve and I spent the day walking and running around quite successfully. (Again I’d love to remember what I ate and when). The school bus dropped me off on the edge of town to walk home, a walk I’d done countless times.
I got about halfway home and my legs just “went”. I was simply unable to move, and almost unable to stay stood up. Blackness whirled around me, and somehow I dragged myself to a phone box and rang my father in a panic to come and fetch me (he was not best pleased!) The only thing I can make parallels to is when in later life I’d drunk too much scrumpy (wild cider) which makes the legs drunk in a completely different way from the rest of the body.
Other episodes weren’t that severe, but similar. A sudden inability to move my muscles properly, confusion, weakness, lack of concentration, gnawing terrible hungers. It was suggested I should carry sugar cubes and suck one, though I was never told why (and of course doing so in school would have resulted in immediate detention for eating in class). Either way, the effects wore off after a few minutes to half an hour.
In retrospect these were obvious reactive hypos.
Now I read an old paper which suggested that Reactive Hypoglycemia was actually a very rare illness and should only be diagnosed when blood glucose levels reached “actual” hypo numbers, and the rest of the paper went on to discuss just exactly how low was a hypo. In the absence of a “true” hypo a neurotic diagnosis must be made instead.
Quite frankly this is a CROCK! First these episodes may be quite brief, often the liver will spring into action and release glucose so by the time anyone measures your BG it will be well on the way up and may even be high as a rebound to the rebound. Secondly hypo symptoms may occur from the speed of a BG drop rather than the absolute number – I’ve had distinct hypo symptoms at 5.5 (100) following a rapid drop from 10 (180) or so, and no symptoms at all around 3.8 (70) when my BG dropped slowly from 4.5 (80)
In either case the treatment is exactly the same, and exactly the same for “diabetes” or “prediabetes” – avoid sending the BG high and the reactive lows take care of themselves.