Saturday, 30th January, 2016

The Final Stop – The Rheumatologist

It seems that time had stood still and that the long month of December just refused to end.

Waiting impatiently for January to arrive, I try and distract myself with the other trivial matters of life. But I am defeated. My mind will not allow me to rest in peace. I lay in bed anguishing over my fifth mistake. A mistake that has once again cost me heavily, both in time and in spirit. Discouraged and broken down, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling  and wondering if I will ever get help. The same annoying questions keep running through my mind, “will there ever be a person who will listen to me, and understand my plight? Will there ever be a person who will be able to treat me and not mock me?”

That person was found but it was later, much later when the limits of my suffering had reached their peak and I was to find myself at a crossroad.

If time had come to a standstill, my symptoms however, were increasing by the speed of light. I had already lost the strength in my thighs and my knees were the next victims to fall prey to this disease. A deep arthritic type of pain developed in my knees rendering them weak and incredibly sore. Hobbling around with my mum’s walking stick was now proving to be a challenge. I needed a wheelchair. I refused to get one and instead stayed in bed spending my days crying and cursing that ill-fated day of when I got bit.

Worried by my rapidly declining health, my family decides that I should consult with a Rheumatologist. It may not be Lyme after all. I am tired and have no desire to see another ‘self proclaiming’ Specialist. However, I give in and once again make the mistake of fixing yet another worthless appointment.

Bad luck follows me and again, I find an aged, despotic looking man who seems uninterested and clearly bothered by my arrival. “I’ve probably taken him away from his round of golf this morning,” I cheekily say to myself. He goes through my medical notes with the speed of a Formula 1 car and confidently declares a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

Feeling bold and defiant, I challenge him on his diagnosis. Like a tigress waiting to attack her prey, I come close and looking directly into his eyes, I boldly declare that according to the American College of Rheumatology, I do not fit all of the criteria of having this condition!

Stinking of his morning coffee breath, he feels obliged to examine me. Nothing sinister is found. Feeling the need to show his competence however, he changes his diagnosis and confidently announces that I am in fact, suffering from Takayasu’s Arteritis. Another unpronounceable yet exotic sounding disease is added to my list.

Refusing to believe him, I again challenge him on his hasty diagnosis. Bewildered by my constant rebuttals, the defeated man puts his hands up in the air and annoyingly shouts at me in his strong South African accent, “well you tell me Madam?!”

I leave the office drained but not beaten and simply say to myself, “another one bites the dust…”

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