It was Tuesday of this week that I received a telephone call from a non-member of the society who had left an answerphone message the day before stating that he would try to contact me again the following day.
The conversation began as many begin with the caller (we shall call him Bill) stating that he didn’t know whether he should join the society because he hadn’t been given a firm diagnosis. Bill lived in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
“I have been going around in circles for years” he said. “I’ve been given anti-depressants, had counselling and been told for years that I was imagining my symptoms. Then, three weeks ago I went to a different doctor to the one I usually see. He listened to my symptoms, of how I felt tired all the time, couldn’t concentrate, was irritable and suffering severe mood swings and generally losing the will to live.
“I had heard all of this before – but then he shocked me: I was stunned: I couldn’t even reply to him:
‘The fact is that the test is next to useless’ he said. I just sat there not knowing what to do. ‘I’ve seen this before’ he said before telling me that I was to have six injections over two weeks and then an injection whenever I felt I need it. ‘It’ll take a while before we hit on a treatment regime that will suit you’ he said.
“Well, after the second injection most of my symptoms disappeared. I still get tired in the afternoons but when I’m awake I’m awake” he told me.
I told Bill that he most likely had Pernicious Anaemia and that his doctor should be congratulated. He hasn’t joined, and I hope he continues to receive treatment based on his symptoms and not an unreliable test. I just hope that the doctor concerned doesn’t leave the practice any time soon!