Tuesday 1 July 2014

a diagnosis

Early July.

Am sat in the doctor's consulting room, a swarm of butterflies fluttering around my stomach. On my lap, a pile of tangled threads, my knitting lies forgotten. In my hand, I grip the piece of paper in my hand tightly. In the years I've been sick, I've never particularly liked going to the doctor. It's even harder doing it in French. 

I'm beckoned into the consulting room and the doctor takes the blood test results from my hands, scanning them quickly with a knowing eye. I'm invited to hop up onto the bed, where she proceeds to take my blood pressure, before poking and prodding me in a variety of places on my body. Some illicit a dull ache, whilst others are particularly tender under the pressure from her fingers. She signals for me to return to my chair opposite her. She taps away at the computer for a few moments before asking me questions about my sleep patterns, energy levels and general feelings of well-being.

If you are British and you've never had the pleasure of going to the Doctor in French before, remind yourself what it felt like taking your French GCSE oral exam. Except that the symptoms you are describing are real (and in the case of M.E./CFS, the brain fog can make your thinking less than clear), not icons on a printed examination card, and the person you are talking to is both your local GP, not your French teacher.

Because after struggling to find any support, medical or otherwise, for the past two years, I finally dragged myself out of the house to try a new doctor earlier this afternoon. I went into the surgery a nonchalant English girl with a self-diagnosed M.E./CFS relapse, convinced all she needed was some bed rest and a lemsip.

Forty-five minutes later, I emerged from le cabinet medical looking just that little bit more gallic thanks to a confirmation of Syndrome de Fatigue Chronique, a diagnosis of Fibromylagie...and crucially, a list of prescriptions as long as my arm...including "une cure".

{Photos from a barefoot walk up at the plateau de Saugé, early July 2013}

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