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Speechless. Completely Speechless…

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Cover of "Speechless"
Cover of Speechless

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or throw a tantrum; I went to the docs today, armed with my new book – marked to page 96 – and psyched up for a fight. I was resolved to use whatever weapon necessary to present my case – tears, mega-strops or staging a sit-in. And if I ended up on a psychiatric ward, then so be it. At least I’d get out of cooking dinner.

‘Hello, Tiny. How are you feeling today?’

‘Still breathing…’ I answered.

‘Well, I’ve just been re-reading your notes and looking at the test results and I think it’s time I made a Chronic Fatigue referral. How do you feel about that?’

Erm… Gobsmacked. Speechless. Confused.

‘Well, I know you’re the doctor, but I honestly don’t believe this is depression.’ Nope, that didn’t quite answer the question, but my brain had kind of reverted to Planned Speech mode.

‘No, I don’t think it is either.’

‘Huh? Huh?’

When any patient presents with fatigue, we always consider depression as primary diagnosis, especially when there’s previous history.’

And who made up that rule? Hitler?

I was honestly too shocked to say anything except a mumbled Thanks, as I left the surgery. It’s been ten months! Ten fucking months! I’ve been arguing with them for at least eight of those months. Unbelievable. Eldest son is home from uni in a fortnight: he’s got a third of a degree in that time! And I’ve got another two or three months’ wait for an appointment.

Speechless. Completely speechless.

* Sorry, guys. I’ve written this badly – I’m relieved about the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome referral; it means they’re taking me seriously. I just find it incredible that they’ve hammered on about depression since September and then, today my GP just casually says it isn’t. I’m glad, just amazed because I’ve been telling them is wasn’t depression for the last eight months! Talk about irony!  Oh, and I promise to write one non-medical-non-whiney post this week. I bet you’re as sick of my health as I am!!*


About Tiny Temper

I'm a middle-aged freelance writer living in Cornwall. And no, it's not all sun, sand and steaming pasties. I've been married, done the divorce and accidentally shrunk the tee-shirt.

18 responses »

  1. Finally! Thank goodness!! Granted you still have to wait a while for the next appt. At least they will know what to start looking for! *hugs*

  2. Small steps! It’s progress to some degree.

    Hang in there!

  3. Again… I have always had doctors write me off. Jerks!

    • I’ve written it badly, Marina – sorry! I’m glad to have got the referral – it means they’ve finally got off the depression track. I’m just surprised – two weeks ago, she was adamant it WAS depression, and today casually announces it isn’t! If she’d listened to me MONTHS ago, we could have saved ourselves all this hassle 🙂

  4. Wonderful wonderful wonderful!!! 🙂 I bet just knowing that they know its not depression is helpful! I am sooooo happy for you Tiny. Have a great rest of the week.

  5. Finally! Here’s the irony, “When any patient presents with fatigue, we always consider depression as primary diagnosis, especially when there’s previous history.” Um… and then the patient with a prior diagnosis of depression actually becomes depressed because you assholes don’t believe him/her. And you treat the person for this depression that you misdiagnosed and actually caused, completely ignoring the original problem, telling them they’re nuts (literally) causing even more depression, while the other symptoms just keep getting worse…

    I LOVE the medical establishment!

    I AM glad that you finally got the diagnosis – and the depression you acquired from all of this didn’t make you kill yourself! (Yeah, I’m in a mood this morning.) 2-3 months seems like a very long time to wait, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not one of those other, really scary things you’ve suspected along the way.

    • LMAO! So true, so true! I didn’t get an actual diagnosis yet, though, just a referral, but hey! it’s a start, a step towards recovery. I’m grateful, really, just still in shock about the GP doing a U-turn in her thinking. Persistence paid off for once! 🙂

  6. The problem with ME diagnoses is that there are no tests for them and so they have to consider things they can actually treat first. Also lots of people who have depression are totally adamant that they don’t because they don’t understand the symptoms/what depression actually is or don’t want to admit to it. So I can understand your doctor’s course of action but I can also see why it was frustrating for you. It could be worse – they diagnosed my friend with something terminal before they found that it was ME.

    Glad to hear you got your referral though – hurrah! xxx

    • You’re right, of course. But I’ve got a history of severe depression – two suicide attempts and a complete breakdown that left me housebound for three months. God knows, I know the symptoms and that awful, terrifying downward spiral of despair where you cease to care – acknowledge even – anything outside your own abject misery. I knew I didn’t have those symptoms. I was still finding things funny, still looking for answers, still supporting people around me. Yes, I’ve had days when I was a miserable cow-bag, days when, if I’d seen the Grim Reaper floating up the path, I’d have crawled out to meet him, but those moments were a reaction to feeling so awful, not the cause.
      There is no single test for ME, but there are 60 specific neurological, cognitive, cardiac, metabolic and immunological markers that point towards it. Brain scans of people with ME closely resemble those of patients with MS. There are specific heartbeat irregularites, blood-pressure readings and muscle weakness responses, specific to ME. (Those are just the few I understand 🙂 ) Along with a detailed medical history, sometimes going back ten years, doctors can make pretty educated diagnoses.
      It’s fine. I understand that they had to do what they had to do. Your poor friend – she must have gone through agonies – send hugs from me!
      Bottom line: it may not even be this, but it’s a step closer an answer 🙂
      Thanks, Mabel. Hope I haven’t gone on too much… 🙂

      • Yeah, my sister has ME too and it took 7 years for her to get her diagnosis…… including one doctor who told her she was ‘just a teenager’. Definitely know that doctors can get things wrong!

      • God! 7 years?? Poor love! Mind you, from reading other peoples’ accounts, it’s pretty much the norm 😦
        Was she diagnosed at Treliske, Mabel? Just wondering what to expect from this next appointment…
        Oh, and why the hell aren’t we friends on Facebook?? 🙂

  7. One step closer to understanding and having a name to call it rather than it all being in your head – about time eh?
    Let’s hope they do actually come up with something useful to help you.

    • That’s exactly the thing – at the moment I feel like I’m fighting the medical profession or myself; if they can’t find anything wrong, then it has to be in my head, so I push myself a bit harder.
      It’s a step closer anyway…
      Thanks for your help on this, Eileen 🙂 Hugs right back at ya! X

  8. Doctors, ugh! Who knows, maybe they were messing with your mind all those months. Or maybe your insurance wouldn’t cover depression care so the docs changed strategies. :-p

    I hope you do better soon.


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