Saw a gastroenterologist privately today. Pretty devastating really – my heart sank when his first words were, “what made you think your problem was malabsorption” I said I had a Vagotomy and a Jejunostomy in 1973. I tried to give him a list of my symptoms but not interested - and it brought an accusation of bombarding him with too much information! but I would not have remembered a lot of it (memory fog being one of my symptoms). He did not take any notes and there was no structure to the consultation at all.
Told me tests results all in the normal range – I questioned normal range at 350 against the British Medical Journal Best Practice deemed as subtle, and that I understood 500 was the figure thought for a healthy person. Did not agree – I said I couldn’t understand why an iron/ferritin test & Vit D wasn’t done and he said it wasn’t important. He also dwelt on my thyroid test being normal even though I carefully explained how it wasn't.. He didn’t agree with anything I said, he told me there was not a doctor who would give me B12 injections when results within normal range. I said I am losing my hair, very important to a woman, and why was I was so chronically tired, every movement hurts with arms and legs aching so much and no strength. I produced my sublingual spray but not interested he didn’t even look at it. I explained that within a few days of taking this (also telling him I was taking a much higher dose than recommended) I was at least back on my feet again, and if I wasn’t deficient how had it helped - nothing!!.
He honed in on doing tests for bowel disease and an endoscopy, which is what he specialises in (I looked him up before I went). He wanted to do a Colonoscopy. Tearfully I said no (which surprised him) I was informed of the consequences of ignoring having a Colonoscopy (I explained I had one a few years back - not a nice procedure and it absolutely terrifies me because of what happened) and I said as you can see I had an Endoscopy for the terrible stomach pains I experience intermittently (GPs thought it could be Gall Stones but nothing ever shows up) even though its not that long since I had one he still wanted to do another!! He then offered me an MRI scan, I was in tears when I explained I could not afford any of this privately. He said they could be done on the NHS, I still said no. I was so upset that he was ignoring my malabsorption. Previously he had warned me of the expense of doing blood tests - but perhaps to justify what will be a hefty fee, he said he would write to my doctor suggesting they do a Vitamin D test and a Coeliac test (which he had already been told three times had been done last year by the GP. I was told that doctors cannot pluck out of the air a cure if there is none. Tearful and completely deflated, I thanked him and left.
What a terrible demeaning experience and waste of money. Why did my GP send me to someone who clearly knew nothing about malabsorption and B12 deficiency – perhaps he was “just plucked out of the air”?. All this Consultant did was exactly what my GP had done, quickly scanned through the test results and took no notice of a patient sitting there presenting with a medical history and just about every symptom you can get with a malabsorption problem. Cowed and demoralised - I will have to continue with self-medication, but the consequences of my symptoms being ignored doesn’t bear thinking about..