A lady telephoned the office yesterday asking for some advice.  The call was transferred to me.  I was aware that doctors are reluctant to prescribe B12 for whatever reason, but this latest call drove home to me the magnitude of the problem that we face.  The conversation went like this:

Me – “How can I help”

Caller “I’d like some advice please”

“Certainly, but I have to advise you that I am not medically qualified and your doctor is the best person to advise you of any medical matter”

“That’s the problem”

“Okay – go ahead”

“Well, my doctor has run all kinds of antibody tests on me and I have tested positive for Intrisic Factor Antibody”

“So you have Pernicious Anaemia!”

“Well, I have all of the symptoms on your checklist apart from one”

“Then you have Pernicious Anaemia”

“But my doctor won’t diagnose me with having it – even though My Great Grandmother died from it”

“Why won’t your doctor diagnose Pernicious Anaemia?”

“Because she doesn’t trust the test and thinks it might be a mistake”

“So what has she diagnosed”

“Depression”

“Let me get this right – you have nearly all of the symptoms, you have a family history and you tested positive for the Intrinsic Factor Antibody?”

“Yes – that’s correct”

“And your doctor thinks you are depressed?”

“Yes – she wanted to prescribe me anti-depressants but I refused.  I’m not depressed, but I have no energy, can’t think clearly, have memory problems and have pins and needles and numbness in my legs and feet – I don’t know what to do.”

“What is your doctor going to do next?”

“Order the Intrinsic Factor Antibody test again to rule out Pernicious Anaemia.”

“That test is around 40% accurate and so there is the chance that the test will come back negative”

“I know – what can I do?”

“The only thing I can advise you to do is ask to be seen by another doctor”

“I thought that was what you would advise”

I ended the call and shook my head.  This is, after all, a harmless vitamin.