Okay, here’s the thing: the-bastarding-endocrinologist-I-saw-yesterday-was-a-feckin’-wanky-condescending-smarmy-head-stuck-up-his-own-arse-self-righteous-arrogant-egoistic-pompous-supercilious-git-with-an-I-Am-God-You-Are-Dog-Poo-stinking-bloody-attitude!
There. I said it. Bastard.
‘So,’ he said, ‘I’ve read your notes and reviewed the blood test results, and I can’t see anything wrong with you.’
‘So why am I sleeping all day? Why do I have wonky blood readings? Permanent exhaustion? Low blood-pressure? Palpitations when I walk upstairs? Why do I ache? What’s causing the pain?’
‘Let me ask you something. Why are you so convinced you have Addison’s disease?’
Huh? Now call me neurotic – I’ve been called worse things – but the only way he could’ve known I was concerned about the accuracy of the SynActhen test findings, was if my GP had stressed it in her referral letter. So now, I’m getting the picture: he’s got me pegged as a difficult, Munchausen’s Syndrome patient or a raving hypochondriac. Great.
‘I’m not. Who said I was? I queried the cortisol levels in the test. I thought they were supposed to double. I questioned whether they were accurate enough to exclude further investigation. There’s something wrong with me and I need to find out what it is. I don’t give a flying monkey’s arse what the diagnosis is, I just need to find out what it is, so I can address it. I’m forty-four, not eighty-four! I’ve got things to do, books to write! I don’t enjoy feeling this wretched all the time, you know!’ By this point I was all high-pitched and quivery-lipped.
‘Well, it’s not Addison’s. I’ll run a couple more tests to check your hormone levels and pituitary gland, but I’m not expecting to find anything wrong. Here, ‘ he said, shoving my symptom list back across the desk, ‘take this with you when you see Professor Pinchin. I think you’ll find you’ve got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.’
Notice he said, when and not if you need a second referral.
‘Just before you go, have you thought about taking anti-depressants?’
It takes 45 minutes to drive home from the hospital. I made it back in 26. I was steaming!
Where do these doctors get this I Am God mentality? Do they teach it in medical school? Alongside ‘How to humiliate, patronise and thoroughly piss-off a patient’?
I did what I always do when I need de-stressing: I shouted at The Ex. And then I marched into my doctor’s surgery, demanding to see my GP.
‘We’ll just had a cancellation, Tiny. It must be your lucky day!’
I repeated the whole conversation to my GP. By this point I was wailing with frustration.
‘I’m hanging on by a fingernail here, and now I have to wait three weeks for the results of these new blood tests and then another four months for a second referral! I can’t cope! And now I’m crying! I never cry! I just want to feel better! And nobody believes me! You all think I’m just lazy or a moaner! I need some help here! I need somebody on my side!’ Tears were coursing down my face, mingling with snotty snot bubbles.
‘To be honest, I always thought we were looking at Chronic Fatigue, but we have to rule out everything else first. You need to rest, my love. Take a year off from work, avoid anything stressful.’
‘And how, exactly, am I supposed to do that? I’m a single parent, the only breadwinner in the house?’
‘Look, I know you’re upset. We’ll get to the bottom of this, but in the meantime, would you consider taking an anti-depressant?’
‘I’ve been on anti-bloody-depressants since September. Double dosage since Christmas!’
‘Oh, well, they don’t seem to be doing much to help…’
‘That’s because this isn’t fuckin’ depression!’ Yet!