Meningitis Now
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To paraphrase Tony Bennett and the musical ‘Pickwick’ if I ruled the world………

everybody would leave. Yes it’s your humble correspondent reporting for duty from the grumpy old world of being a viral meningitis survivor and sometime long distance triathlete.

At least now I’m 50 I can blame being grumpy on my age and on that subject I spent my 50th birthday getting drunk and dancing the night away with no after effects at all, yeah right. I actually spent my 50th birthday on painkillers and antibiotics after I was laid low by a serious chest infection and not being able to exercise I was as grumpy as a grizzly bear after 14 pints of beer, a really hot curry and being fresh out of toilet roll.

As my half ironman looms on the 18th August I keep being reminded by my wife that is also our eldest daughter’s wedding on the 10th August. That may be the case but I don’t have to train for a wedding well except writing an embarrassing Father of the Bride speech and wheeling out all the photographs from her childhood in an endless PowerPoint presentation (If you’re reading this Steph, be afraid, be very afraid!).

I don’t think my grumpiness has been helped at all by the continuing ability of the medical profession to induce depression in the space of a ten minute consultation with one of the GP’s from my surgery, closely followed by ten minutes of hope and a referral.

Let me explain; I was ‘diagnosed’ with arthritis in my left knee back in March and an x-ray seemed to back up the findings of the examination. As you do when you’re a triathlete (pain is Nature’s way of saying you are a triathlete as we say in the sport) I kept on running with a variety of medical supports in neoprene to convince just about everyone that I was falling apart. Yes my knee hurt, yes I should have become a couch potato and yes I would have been grumpier than Mr. Grumpy on a Grumpy and Co. works outing to a Grumpy conference hosted by Victor Meldrew had I done so.

So I plodded on but with the niggling doubt in my mind that the GP has got it wrong. You see I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee four years ago and lo and behold it turned out not to be although they physioterrorist did say I had 40 year old knees which was a relief since they were 46 at the time. My GP said it was old age but as I pointed out to him, my left knee was the same age and that didn't hurt. It just seems they hear the words ‘triathlete for 22 years’ and assume it just has to be arthritis and in my right knee it wasn’t.

I know, I know get to the point……I’m getting there but I’m 50 remember and I have to ramble a bit before I remember what the point was. It’s the same with viral meningitis (you see there is a point after all); doctors hear the words viral meningitis and just assume that it is a mild disease and you get over it quickly. In fact, working in the NHS has its advantages at times, I have been told by two or three medical practitioners that doctors are actually told this in training so it’s the training system which needs a kick up the backside and believe me I would give them it if weren’t for my aching knees. Fortunately as with VM I had the sense to go back to the GP and question the diagnosis and lo and behold it turns out the first doctor hadn’t in fact reviewed the x-rays but had simply repeated what the radiographer had reported. So I’m seeing an orthopaedic consultant on the 28th June and I wait with as much breath as I can muster for the results. The moral of the story is if you’re told one thing by your doctor and it doesn’t sound right get a second opinion. When my doctor said ‘you have arthritis in your left knee’ I immediately asked I could get a second opinion to which he replied ‘yes you’re ugly too’ Don't worry my sister is a lawyer and she's helping him sue the charm school. ?

So this month's advice is don't let doctors fob you off, if you don't think its right then you do have a right to get a second opinion and keep going until you get it.

3 Replies

Hi Jonad724, Oh thanks for the humor, how refreshing. I totally agree about the second opinion although how do you know than which one is right? Going on my third opinion to see majority rule and the bottom line is I will probably continue doing the best I can with what I have. Enjoy your daughter's wedding. Kind Regards, Jeffery


Thanks Jeffery, I think it comes down to expertise, I have more faith in a consultant than I do in a GP but your three opinions and go with the majority sounds like a brilliant idea.


and the news is......lo and behold I don't have arthritis so its long distance triathlons until I'm 85 by which time I might stand a good chance of winning my age group :-)


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