It is all in the eyes
“It first started with a severe headache. Then my glands in my neck felt painful, which made my neck feel all stiff and difficult to move. My throat felt sore, and I had a temperature.” She tried to remember how she had felt 8 months prior to her visit to me. Her pale fingers played nervously with the sheath of blood reports she had done, neatly held together by a blue paper clip. “I have been to so many doctors. If you don’t mind, I have become very sceptical! Everyone has a different idea of what could be wrong with me. My blood tests indicate a low immunity and some sort of infection. Otherwise, the results for my liver, kidneys and thyroid are normal. I just feel so tired all the time. I used to play a lot of sport, work very hard and on top of that, I had a busy social life! Now all I want to do is sit. I have even had to ask for unpaid leave to get away to be quiet.”
Not once, while pouring out her story of woe, did any emotion show on her face or changed her voice from a type of monotone. She was very pale, her hands and feet cold and clammy when I had greeted her. Her style of dressing was one of comfort with no regard for colour or form. Serviceable, worn-in running shoes sat on her feet. Not very flattering for a young woman, I thought. Maybe she felt so worn out that she had stopped caring about her appearance, which of course is quite normal. Her eyes fascinated me. They were intensely blue, with a piercing, sharp look which missed nothing. I noticed that she took in my office at a glance when she had entered. Satisfied with what she saw, she had proceeded to look for advice. Maybe her deadpan voice and face, and her dressing down, was a bit of a camouflage for an exceedingly bright intellect. Interesting, I thought.
“Would you like to read the pathology reports?” she offered the sheath of laboratory reports to me. I scanned the test results and came to the conclusion that she was correct. Somehow there was an ongoing infection in her body and her white blood cell count was low. This would result in a compromised immune system. “I must tell you that I saw one doctor who gave me numerous antibiotics. When I started to develop thrush in my mouth, ears and vagina I realised that I was being overmedicated and stopped taking the drugs immediately. I have been using acidophilus capsules for a while for the thrush. It seems to be helping.” She passed on more information in a monotone.
Somehow the idea that she could be suffering from glandular fever and burn-out started to look like the possible cause for her constant exhaustion. None of the blood tests indicated a positive reading for all different types of viruses which could cause glandular fever, but all of her symptoms pointed to a recurring infection.