It was like a scene from a horror
movie. I was doubling up, retching blood, in the Accident
and Emergency department. I was 31, crying and terrified. The blood
was from my gullet. I had vomited so hard I had
ruptured it. I was put on a drip and admitted to
me in for a week, with six different drips over the
week. I filled many kidney bowls! My Mum looked after
my five-year old daughter, Sky, while I was in
hospital. I am a single mother and I missed my little
girl like mad.
I had lost
over a stone in weight before I went in to hospital in
September 2006, and although I was beginning to feel
better by the time they discharged me, the weight was
still falling off. I had further doctor’s appointments
and many more blood tests. These found nothing. By now
I was passing out frequently and couldn’t get out of bed
before 10am. I felt so weak, my body ached. I had no
energy and no appetite. The blood tests said normal –
but I felt so awful!
Christmas 2006 being sick and then in the new year, got on
the train to start my new job in London. It was a 90-minute
commute each way. (Looking back, I cannot believe I had got
through the interview in the autumn. I was sick before and
after the interview with the CEO). So halfway into London, I
felt like I was about to vomit on the train. I had the
decency to get off and promptly passed out at the station.
What a great start to a new job. They put me in an
ambulance to the nearest hospital, which unfortunately is an
hour from my home. Again, many blood tests, and a drip for
hospital discharged me the next day, telling me I should
instruct my doctor to test my pituitary gland. But my GP
said, that’s not necessary – before I had even got through
his door – and signed me off work for two weeks saying he
wanted to see the results from an endoscopy. He thought it
was a slow bleeding ulcer, not an endocrine problem.
later I was feeling so bad I was readmitted to my local
hospital, still losing weight, now down to six and a half
stone from my usual nine. More drips, more blood tests.
But the consultant now thought it was a dietary problem and
not a medical one. So he tested for coeliac disease. He
also tested my kidneys, because my skin had gone so brown.
As an afterthought, on the last day I was in, he tested for
Addison’s, but assured me this was unlikely. I’d had about
12 blood tests by now. I was so dehydrated and my blood
pressure so low that my veins were closing and tiny. I had
massive bruises from the needles. They injected me with an
artificial hormone to see if my body produced any steroids
naturally and then did two further blood tests each a half
hour apart. I later found out this is called a Synacthen
me home the next day saying the Synacthen test is very
expensive so the samples wouldn’t be processed till the
Monday. I could see the consultant was really losing
interest, now that he had decided it was a dietary problem
not a medical one. He prescribed a fat supplement. My blood
pressure was so low – 73/35 – that I literally crawled out
of the ward. The nurses offered me a wheelchair. I
politely told them to stick it.