Since Simon was a toddler, I've suspected something. I remember reading an article about toddlers getting cranky because they have such a fast metabolism their blood sugar can dip dramatically. Simon was the moodiest of babies, genuinely sweet and smiley then swinging dramatically to full on screaming and miserable. It was not the typical "I want my own way" tantrums either, he was truly undone. I started carrying high protein snacks and cheese sticks with me because there was a real cause and effect relationship between frequent snacks and Simon being more himself and not so cranky. I brought this up to our pediatrician at various well child visits and he agreed that Simon may have a greater need for more frequent snacks. He was always underweight and over tall for his age, so there could be no doubting that high powered metabolism he was born with.
Simon was also the only child I ever had who would put himself down for a nap, and sometimes more than once a day. I wish I could have associated the frequent naps with when we had ice cream or some other sugary treat. I just didn't really put the two together. I was always amazed at what a great napper /sleeper he was and chalked it up to, he is growing and burns up all that energy so fast so of course he needs to nap a lot etc..etc..etc.. I should have paid closer attention, it was a real clue that his blood sugar was off and we are really lucky that thanks to those frequent high protein snacks, we never had a real crisis.
Two years ago in the Summer time, it was Simon's job to mow the yard. The Summer's in Texas are HOT and the heat turns up quick during the day. I was working at the time, and I had told him at 7 am to get out and mow quick before the heat of the day was too much, the yard was getting overgrown and fast. I went to work and thought nothing else of it. Several hours later, the church secretary was at my job and she was frantic. The phones had been down at work that day, and there was an emergency with Simon. She came to my office to get me because no one could reach me by phone. Simon was in the emergency room.
*I love my church family*
Apparently, Simon had a doughnut and orange juice for breakfast and then set out to mow a bit late. The heat was already blistering hot. Somehow he wandered from our home, all the way to our Parish. Our priest saw him trying to open the doors to the church to go inside. He could tell Simon wasn't walking right and when he got to him, Simon's eyes revealed that he wasn't there. He wasn't talking coherently and it was very frightening to our Priest to discover him in this state. Luckily (God is good) Simon's uncle was at the church, so he took Simon directly to the emergency room and the secretary set out to get a hold of me, even going to my job to find me so that I could be there with Simon. It was very scary. I'm still in awe that in this state of disorientation, Simon went to our church. This speaks volumes to my heart.
The diagnosis was heat exhaustion, when I arrived they had already begun IV fluid and so there was no way the glucose test could be done to check if he was having a low blood sugar episode. The diagnostics of this episode were unfortunately slanted in the direction of possible drug use. Simon had a really good friend whose father was going through a rough time and there had been rumors of his using. I never had reason to worry about this friendship (still don't) and yet when this was brought to my attention all my guilt of working, Pete being gone, and the fear that we may have created a situation ripe for Simon taking a wrong path, eclipsed my ability to think rationally during this crisis. We ordered EVERY drug test, they ALL came back negative and I have spent a very long time feeling guilty over not going with my gut and insisting we follow up on possible hypoglycemia. This is why I really preach
"Do not parent from a place of fear or guilt"
Nothing good comes from that place.
It is not Christ centered and is not leaning on your own understanding of your child. A very hard lesson learned. Simon spent two more years with hypoglycemia not being diagnosed.
The episode of heat exhaustion did make me more alert to Simon's frequent naps and mood swings though. Pete and I began discussing possible hypoglycemia even more. He was growing so fast, that ravenous appetite and constant sleeping could also just be symptom of growth - and he had always been moody. Teenage years really muddy the water of trying to figure this out. God placed a good friend in my life this past year, her husband has hypoglycemia. I was able to bounce a lot of what I was seeing in Simon off of her and she encouraged me to get him tested.
On the day his class celebrated Valentines Day, I picked him up from school and during the 5-10 minute drive home he passed out in the van. He had been dozing on the way home from school during the year, but this was like he was completely out of it - much like what I suspect Father Jeremy saw when Simon was at the church. I called the Dr. and made an appointment.
The results were very conclusive. He had hypoglycemia, and once we had the diagnosis, everything clicked into place. My friend's husband who was about Simon's age when he was diagnosed met with Simon and really went over how to live with this. Simon has taken it all very much to heart and I'm impressed with his discipline to avoid the sugars and simple carbs. The hardest part is school and work. He has to have frequent high protein snacks, and he can't enjoy the treats that are provided to the class. His French teacher is wonderful though, she always brings a whole grain treat for Simon if the class is enjoying some delicious French pastry. I am still learning and adjusting. The diet is really how we should be living anyway, you don't really appreciate how much sugar you allow in your kids diet until you have a child that cannot eat it - at all. It is a growth process for me, I love to bake and serve up treats to my kids. We are all learning.
Those mood swings have almost faded out of his day to day life - it was sugar all along.
I asked him after his diagnosis if he had ever had some of the symptoms that happen in the night. Reading up on hypoglycemia I learned that when you live with it you can get VERY shaky and especially when you sleep your sugar levels can dip dangerously low. He told me that it would happen everytime we had a poker night. I still shudder at the thought, we always played using M & M's instead of money, Simon has a particular gift for poker and is almost always the winner. *big sigh* God is so good, he took care of this boy when his parents were very slow to catch on to what could have been dangerous, even placing people in my life to point me in the direction of that mysterious something.
I made sure to share with our priest when we finally had an answer, the answer we should have gotten when Simon had the heat exhaustion. Our priest shared that he kept Simon in his prayers because he had noticed on more than one occasion that Simon looked grey and about ready to pass out often when helping as an altar server. You can be sure I appreciate those prayers.
I love this guy so much and really appreciate all the people God placed in our life to help us figure out the hypoglycemia. I reinforce to Simon how loved by God he is because the Holy Spirit really placed the clues out there for us to find, and even though it took us a while but we did finally figure it out.