Disease Unease

Dear Diary

I’ve only been diagnosed with yet another bloody disease (am using ‘bloody’ in its vulgar form here, as opposed to suggesting the illness is blood-related. It isn’t.)

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that we’ve discovered you have another disease. But on the plus side it explains a lot of your symptoms. And although not curable, it is treatable. Also, as it is the third rare disease you’ve been diagnosed with, that officially makes you special, a medical marvel in fact and I’m going to talk to the Guinness World Records about you.” Is not even nearly what the doctor said to me.

Instead, after sitting in the sweltering hospital waiting room for over an hour and a half, while the one day of summer was happening outside, I saw a registrar I’d never met before. He asked me whether I liked living in town cause he was thinking of moving into the city centre. He asked whether it’s really noisy. He asked what my flat was like. He asked what view I can see from my window. And then he sent me on my way with a note to give to my GP to write me a prescription.

At least that’s the way I remember it. My appointment was mostly taken up with chat about city life interspersed with a couple of insignificant health matters. Like the fact they’d discovered something when they’d had the results back from the test I’d had previously. Five months previously. I asked why I hadn’t been informed sooner. He said that they wanted to tell me face-to-face. Of course. I can understand why he wouldn’t want to say “we discovered something” over the phone. Far better to be vague in person. Plus without seeing my expression he’d never know for sure whether I really like living in town or was just pretending.

I asked what they’d discovered. He said my pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough of a hormone and I can’t process water properly in my body. Said I needed to take medication. I asked how long for. He said “for life.” Oh is that all? That’s fine then.

Said I needed to have a brain scan to “check the state of it”. Thought that was a bit rude.

I started writing down the hormone I’m short of. Obviously didn’t spell it correctly as he took my notebook off me, crossed out what I’d written and re-wrote it. Couldn’t bloody believe it! Unless you are a teacher you have no right to cross out words. What an arse! Thought that was also a bit rude.

And also not that helpful because he’d written in doctor scrawl which I couldn’t read. I said that to him and he replied that my handwriting was also bad. Thought that was incredibly rude. True, but rude.

And then I left, with him knowing what it’s like to live in town, and me knowing precisely nothing about what it’s like to live with a broken pituitary gland.

I texted the BFF to let her know the latest in my life. I get an immediate reply.

Oh hon noooooooooo I can’t believe it! How can life be so cruel?!?! Can’t you talk now? I’m around if you need me. Are you going to be ok is all I ask? If you need a kidney, blood or anything else I can spare, you can have it if I match xxxxxxxx

Erm. Since being dumped by text (I really must make sure that this does not become public knowledge, cause apart from being embarrassing, people may understandably assume I was dating a teenager and report me), I’ve said everyone should be careful when sending important news electronically (and there should be a complete ban on ending relationships that way.) Mel’s reply suggested that I haven’t been following my own lead. I read back what I’d written.

Hey hon hows you? Would you believe that I have another fecking rare disease? I seem to be collecting them. This one answers a lot of questions but I have been so shocked that there have been tears. Will fill you in tomorrow x

Ah yes. I supppose I didn’t really explain myself properly. I should have put in a few smiley faces to suggest that as diseases go, it isn’t that bad. I send another text reassuring her I’m fine, thanking her for being a wonderful friend and say that although I don’t need to borrow any body parts, if she’s in a sharing mood she could pass on some shoes from her bigger-than-Imelda Marcos’s collection cause I’m sure there would be a match :)

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles
Forget all your cares
So go downtown
Things’ll be great when you’re downtown
Petula Clark – Downtown