I went to collect my prescription and my husband's earlier today. In there was an older lady I have seen several times but never had the opportunity to speak to.
She was complaining that she could hardly breathe, and she had been asking the chemist for something to clear her nose. I asked her if she had hay fever. She said no, she did not have hay fever, but her nose was always blocked and at night she has to sit upright because she keeps 'choking in her sleep'.
Naturally you know what my next question was. 'Do you have a thyroid problem?' The answer came: yes, I'm on 100mcg of thyroxine but I still feel ill. And I just can't lose weight.
(Remember this is at the pharmacy, and the pharmacist was hearing all this while in the back picking up a nasal spray for her.)
I said to her: 'Did you know that breathing problems such as a permanently blocked nose and breathing problems at night suggest you are not having enough thyroxine?'
Of course, she did not. I asked when she last had a blood test, and she could not remember, so I suggested that she ask the doctor to test her. 'But they don't do the proper tests, you know,' was her answer. (She must have been reading something...) 'Then I suggest you ask him to do the proper tests, which are at least TSH+T4+ T3. And if you don't get any joy, you could do it privately. I do, and also since my thyroxine was increased, I hardly use my inhaler or my nasal spray'
At that point the pharmacist came out and said to both of us, 'You know, Marie is absolutely right. you should get it checked. In the meanwhile, this might help, but I agree that you should have your thyroid levels checked.' (I thought I might be hallucinating for a second.)
I gave her the Thyroid UK web address and told her what to look for as she is quite computer literate, apparently. She is going to see about a home fingerprick test.
Another happy customer?