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Crying Wolf?


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I've been hit by fatigue very badly this week. I thought it started on Monday, though my partner thinks it was a few days earlier. I work a full day on a Monday and I have no idea how I got through to 17:30. I couldn't think and by the end of the shift could barely speak properly. My employer doesn't accept a self-certificate in the week up to or including a bank holiday, so I went to work on Tuesday as normal. Within an hour, I was stuttering and couldn't think again so I went home.

I went to my GP in the afternoon who was shocked to see such a change in me and phoned the hospital. They advised he send me to A&E for a CT. The scan was clear but they felt that the symptoms might be caused by a minor bleed not seen on the scan and kept me overnight to do a lumbar puncture the following morning. The acute admissions ward is awful and to be honest, if your weren't too bad to begin with, you'll be half-dead by the time you leave as it's virtually impossible to sleep.

The consultant came to see me at 00:15 and was doing all kinds of motor tests and asking lots of questions. At the best of times, I find it hard to answer questions and I give very basic answers because I can't think. When I'm fatigued, there's no chance! Anyway, the upshot is that when they asked if these symptoms are normal for me, I've said yes. They are, but only when I'm wiped out. I'm not sure if I made that clear. When they asked me why I'd gone to the GP, I said it was because I need a sick note. Which is true, but not the whole story.

Finally the following afternoon, they decided a lumbar puncture was not required and I was given beta blockers for the headaches and sent home. This is good as presumably they feel it's nothing serious. But now I feel as though I have trivialised how I feel by not responding well to the questions asked. I still feel very unwell and am struggling to talk properly, I'm exhausted! And in typical fashion, the more tired I am, the less sleep I am managing to get. I feel like I have cried wolf and now will not be taken seriously if I return to my GP to discuss how bad I feel.

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You should demand to be took seriously I have started to do that as I often felt like they thought I was mad.

Go back to the Dr's book two appointments back to back and tell them exactly how you feel.

Hope things start to improve soon xxx

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Dawn, first don't feel that you've cried wolf, good idea of Jess's go back to the GP and explain how you feel. Infact if you feel really bad call the doc out honey, no point in worrying yourself which in turn will mean even less sleep...

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Dawn, I agree with the others, I would definitely go back to your GP and explain things how you have here.

Hopefully your GP will understand and give you a Doctors note.

You must stress how ill you are feeling.

You mentioned your Doctor was shocked to see the change in you, enough to phone the hospital.

I am sure he will take you seriously.

Can your partner go with you to make sure you explain properly how you are feeling ?

I really hope you can get sorted and feel better soon Dawn.

Take care xx

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Hi Dawn,

I suffer with fatigue. Make an appointment to see your doctor. Then write down how you feel and present it to the doctor when you go. Take your partner and get them to articulate your feelings if you are unable to do so yourself. Don't be a hero just go, that's what they are there for. If he/she moans, so what? Better to do that than to fall ill just for being embarrassed.

I just go now when I feel really down, I don't think twice about it.

Good luck Dawn

Macca

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Hello Dawn,

I'm sorry to hear that you've been feeling so unwell, it must have been quite a shock to be sent to the hospital and to have to go through all the tests, quite worrying, I'm sure, to be told that you may have had a bleed that a CT might not have picked up.

I think that it can be quite difficult for us to recognise whats our 'normal' and when something isn't our 'normal'.

When I hit the fatigue wall hard I struggle badly with my words, can't hold a conversation, I feel like I'm not making myself be understood. It's as if I'm talking another language.

I've been back and forth to my GP a few times over the last few months, about 6 wks ago my GP was also shocked to see me in such a state, in such pain that I couldn't talk properly, couldn't find my words etc.

She's referred me to ENT and recommending I have an MRI.

I know I'll struggle to explain things, so I shall go with it all written down.

Please, please do not be put off from seeking medical advise because of your recent experience. You did the right thing and like others have said, I think you should go back to your GP and explain things to him/her just as you have to us.

Don't be so tough on yourself, follow your gut instinct, if you are not feeling well you need to get checked out.

I hope that you manage to get some much needed sleep.

Big hugs to you honey, take care.

SarahLou Xx

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Thanks everyone, some good ideas there as usual! I'm going to try to get an appointment on tuesday with Dr Graham. She's not my usual doctor but is very empathetic. The problem is that as a result, her appointments fill quickly. You have to phone in on the morning that you want to get in and just hope that you suceed, so we'll see!

We visited Andy's parents yesterday and as soon as I walked in, his mother said 'well, you look alright to me'. And isn't the just the cusp of the problem - we all look fine so therefore we must be ok?

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Dawn, really sorry it's been such an awful week and I truly hope things start improving for you.

Your thread reminded me of my time at the end of last year. Like you I had been feeling really tired, I had been to the doctors and was trying to rest up however when my husband came home from work one day he found me unable to find any words, not really responding normally and very unsettled, the upshot was he ended up calling an ambulance after speaking to surgery who found my BP was sky high ...so like you I found myself back in the hospital and it was horrid so I feel for you. I have learnt some coping techniques to manage panic so it meant I was very quiet in the emergency Admission which in turn meant they pretty much abandoned me, in fact at one point they moved me to a room with no call bell and turned out the lights, I guess so I could sleep but not great for someone who was supposed to be monitored!

In the morning the consultant came to check on me decided that they didn't want to lumber, like you,( I would have refused anyway tbh as last time it took them 5 attempts, ) and then he sat down next to my bed and said the following to me.

"you have survived an event that most people don't but it won't have left you unmarked we realise that, we cant explain or understand everything that has happened in the brain or how it will present for you and you may have similar episodes like this again in your life but please know it is ALWAYs ok to come here for help. We know the severity of what has happened to you, we will listen, so please don't be worried about coming, it will be taken seriously. "

I cried like a baby I doing mind telling you, actually he was the one of the few who did take me seriously but he and one other fabulous nurse were enough to tell me it is ok that we get checked out. I would prefer going to my neuro hospital given the choice but to hear this from a A&E consultant was very comforting and I believe it stands for all of us. I had to go back to GP after discharge as still felt awful, words and head jumbled, I felt like I did at points after bleed so I was scared and it was hard to explain it all and there were more tears but again the message was " you are never wasting our time" . And slowly I came through that episode after some change in medication, some counselling and lots of rest but I had to turn the dial back down almost to zero and that included work.

So why share this story? Dawn , honey, go back and see the GP and find a way through this. The lady sounds nice. They see people every day with much milder ailments and this means they recognise a more significant one when they treat it and that what you now live with every day of your life is not inconsequential and they will listen....I truly believe they will.

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Dawn yes it is so annoying when others say that but you yourself know what its like I just think to myself at those times 'your couldnt be in my shoes for a week never mind a month' & look and smile & say something like looks can be very deceiving.

The other week when someone I was talking with was surprised when I say my Fatigue isnt me sleeping all the time (although I want to I cant) it just I cant do stuff if I make myself a coffee I need to sit down - If I fill the washing machine I need to sit down I cant function.

It happens to us all differently as far as I know....

When you call the GP explain why you want to SEE that particular person, But SO understand your frustration on that one it is a nightmare trying to see a specific doctor now... That in itself is enough to cause us untold stress and inturn more fatigue...

Hugs honey take care rest...

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Hi Dawn,

I will type something flippant you might think but have you sung lately ?

When down always talk to Doc and say "Can you listen to me please" as I find they never look at you

anymore. Have a chat with Doc and explain how you are feeling and if you need a cry then cry xx

Be Well Dawn and try and smile it helps xx (hard when you are so tired though).

We will all get there eventually

Have a sleep

Love as Always

WinB143 Daffs post made me cry lol

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I've been back to the gp this morning. I didn't see Dr Graham as she wasn't working but I saw another female doctor who is very new. She signed me off for 2 more weeks and wants to see me again when that runs out. It was so nice to be taken seriously!

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No, I won't be rushing back if I can help it. Todays doctor seems to think it's work that has caused this. Not working itself, but rather the role that I do. I've found that many people are under the impression that working in a call centre is something you do when you are too thick to have a 'real' job, but actually it's very stressful having people moan at you all day long.

This of course raises some questions about what I should do as a long term solution. If I am off for over 4 weeks, this will be considered long-term sick. Could they then begin proceedings to dismiss me on ground of capability?

It's not feasible to go off for a few weeks sick a couple of times per year. We can't actually get by on my partner's wages alone...not if we both want to eat as well as pay the bills. Likely, I'll need to search for a new job but after this, I'll be have a poor sick record and who would take me on?

Or maybe, I should stop worrying about things that haven't even happened yet and get over the fatigue that's happening right now?

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Hi Dawn,

well done for getting to the doctor's and on being taken seriously.

As for your sick leave, your company should have a sick leave policy - you could do with finding out what it says so at least you know where you stand.

I'm no expert on employment law but there are such things as employment tribunals if you think you are being treated unfairly.

However, I believe you have to register any case within three months of the event occurring, whether or not you have an outcome. Not 100% sure on that but what I am saying is that you have to act fast if an unfair event happens.

I also think there are fees to be paid up front which you get back if you win. Let's hope nothing is bad enough to have to go that far eh? But if you think it might, do your research now so you know what to do if anything should go wrong at work. You don't want to have to do research AND deal with the unfair act and all the emotion that goes with it.

I hope you don't need this advice, but I was a boy scout and one of their maxims was 'be prepared'.

Stay well Dawn

Macca

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Hey Dawn, so glad you got another 2wks off, & yes don't be eager to return, I'm sure you'd have to be off a lot longer than 4wks to be classed as 'long term sick' but everywhere I guess is different..

Yes I'd get over this bout of fatuge where your stronger then think things through, but do you really want to know that this will happen again & again if you stay in the job your in, that was the question I had to ask myself many-moons-ago - I'm still finding out understanding the new benefit system myself so I'm no help there but maybe going and speaking with someone from CAB or Wellfair rights see what's available for you... BUT not till you feel more like it honey...

Rest, relax and chil...

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I found it very helpful to write out how my fatigue affects me and what are the exact expressions of it. You do this when you're not feeling it...ha, ha. But then the doctor can get an idea...just a glimpse into what we are talking about and how it pervades our everyday life on such a variable schedule. I also have found that the doctors I've seen really can't help me, so I just do my regular check-ups and tell them I feel bad, but it is now typical of my new post SAH self. Ups and downs every day unexpected craziness...but I don't work so I don't have to bend around a certain schedule.

It's seems so crazy that we can't even speak right or make a coffee, but it is true at a given time. Then there are other times where we are cruising along and don't have as big an issue. So strange a condition. without it even being an illness! A person with an external injury gets way more compassion and accommodation by others.

I hope you're feeling better today :)

~Kris

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What a lovely post Kris, thanks. You make a very valid point there about other conditions being taken more seriously. I have a friend who is on full disability due to CFS. I am glad for her that she does not have to work, as sometimes she is so ill she has to use a wheelchair. But I often wonder where is the dividing line?

I can walk about fine usually, though at the moment I often look like I'm drunk and can trip over a perfectly flat surface :oops: My brain is not fine and so like all of us, I look ok...therefore I must actually be ok. Is that seriously as far as anyone will officially look? Why is there no kind of mid-line help for people who can work to a certain extent, but can't be pushed to the limits?

I'm feeling a little angry about this at the moment. Since sah, I've had to change my role to an exhausting one with more work but less money (in order to get a more compassionate manager) and then I also had to reduce my hours. I've lost over £4k per year through no fault of my own. I realise it's not all about money, but your bills don't go away just because you are not fully fit.

I've to go back to the GP on Tuesday and I'm really hoping I get signed off again but as I've mentioned before, this will put me under the long-term sick rules and will mean meetings with HR. I'm trying not to be concerned about this too much as clearly something needs to change, but what if I lose my job entirely...?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Dawn so sorry you have been made to feel the way you have people just assume that because we look OK we must be. I'm glad you have found a Doctor who at least attempts to understand the problems you have to live with.

Take care and hope you feel better soon.

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