The medical profession must be sick and tired of patients diagnosing themselves via the wonders of the internet. But as a patient who’s sick and tired, you eventually have to.
Medicine is full of orthodoxies that are incredibly hard to shake. When you find yourself at the edge of these orthodoxies, you just have to do something. OK, OK, you is me, or as I should really write, “I.”
But it’s not just patients who do this — pioneering doctors do, too.
In the 1980s, Barry Marshall, an obscure Australian doctor, worked out that ulcers were caused by infection, not stress. He couldn’t prove it with mice, experimenting on live humans was verboten, and his idea was scoffed at by mainstream gastroenterologists. In the end, he infected himself.
Later, he shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with the pathologist he had worked with.
I’ve been suffering from urinary tract infections (UTIs) since I had to start self-catheterizing some eight years ago.
I was in my early 50s and never had a catheter, so I had no idea what was going on. I was alone in the house, which wasn’t a biggie back then, as I could still walk. But I found myself shaking and unable to move from a lying position on the couch. Any infection turns one’s MS up to 11! My wife was in Wales, dealing with her terminally ill aunt, and my eldest son was at work.
An ambulance was duly dispatched, and my son had to leave work to come home to let them in. I was carted off to the hospital and put on an intravenous drip of antibiotics.
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