This will be ok; I am a strong, confident woman.
The GP is grey-haired, eloquent and calm. And middle-aged and male, obviously.
And did I mention calm?
So I say, as confidently as I can, ‘Did you see the notes about my memory problems?’
The doctor doesn’t even twitch.
‘Anyway, I haven’t had a period for ages – well I can’t remember how long, but definitely not three months now. I think that’s too long.’
It is too long. The doctor asks if I might be pregnant.
’I’m pretty sure not….’
‘Pretty sure’ is not enough. The doctor needs to be very sure. I have to do a test.
‘Also,’ he says, ‘has anything stressful happened to you in the last few months?’
I knew it. He hasn’t seen my notes. I look back at him.
’Losing your memory’s pretty stressful.’
’No – I mean, really stressful.’
Just to be clear. I got through my veterinary finals, a horrid unsupportive first job, a fabulous wedding, being diagnosed diabetic, my mother’s death, two pregnancies, having my own business and two small kids, and have never encountered anything nearly as stressful as losing my memory.
’No,’ I say. ‘Nothing really stressful, I suppose.’
Hold the stick directly into the urine stream for five seconds or dip into a collected sample for twenty seconds.
I guess the stick is exposed to more urine in a moving stream.
Tiddler Toddles in. ‘What’s that, Mummy?’
’Don’t worry. I’m not pregnant but I have to check for the doctor.’
Two minutes can take a very long time.
’Do you need the toilet, Tiddler?’
Tiddler goes to the toilet. He toddles out again.
I wonder about names for a third baby.
Tiddler reappears. ‘Mummy, your alarms going off.’
The doctor wants a blood test. I go through my usual routine of pretending to be terrified and biting a finger while they stick the needle in.
’Thats different,’ the nurse says, watching.
‘It’s certainly different from my patients’, I think, darkly. ‘They’d have bitten you.’
‘Mummy,’ Tiddlers been thinking, ‘How do people get pregnant?’
‘You know, Mummy,’ he says. ‘Some people say it’s actually to do with storks.’
And then… nothing. Everyone knows that when you tell someone you’re missing your period, not to mention start writing a blog post about it, the bloody thing turns up at the most inconvenient moment imaginable. But…… no.
And then a phone call. The doctors receptionist: please can I come for a blood test?
Sure. What happened to the results of the last one?
One of the levels was outside the normal range.
Oh really? Which one?
I grab a pen and start scribbling. ‘How many milimoles per litre was that?’
The receptionist clams up.
I remember it saying in one of my veterinary lecture notes that human doctors say that hypothyroidism gives people a frog-like appearance.
I ask Tiddler whether I’m looking like a frog.
Tiddler nods, grinning.
Who needs blood tests anyway?