First Person: An unexpected, pernicious problem

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Never get a diagnosis or condition you can’t pronounce. Or spell.

Pernicious anaemia was what it said on my notes.

Not just any old anaemia. Oh no, the M&S variety - pernicious, which sounds a far posh-er and more superior strain of whatever medical nonsense is going on here.

I just can’t pronounce it!

So far, I’ve told people I have “Pernicious Armenia” and “Pernicious Amnesia”.

One is a country. The other is ... oh gosh, it was on the tip of my tongue, nope it’s gone.

It’s funny how a condition I’d never even heard of suddenly becomes part of the rest of my life.

There are, of course, many worse things to have. A Dunfermline Athletic season ticket, for example.

I’d already braced myself for a diagnosis of life changing major surgery after feeling a bit ‘no quite right’ for a few months.

A walk of a few miles left me girning like an old age pensioner and looking like one too. Wiped out, exhausted and in need of the one thing all really old folk crave. A seat.

I’d also keeled over a few times. I’d like to say they were dramatic collapses to generate maximum sympathy. In all honesty, they were wussy girly faints. Maximum embarrassment factor.

One was in the east end of the High Street as I got money out of a cash machine.

I knew I was going under and had a bit of panic trying to get a) my cash and b) my card out the machine before finding a comfy pavement to slump unresponsive on for a few minutes.

My thanks to the folk who stopped to check I was okay, and give me some water.

The second one happened after we’d climbed the steps up behind the old Scotsman building to Cockburn Street.

It’s a steep old climb, but one which should be within even my laughable levels of fitness.

Instead, I got to the top and realised things were not right.

Again, my thanks top the cafe owner who let me slump incoherently on his table, possibly putting off prospective customers who reckoned I was a down and out chancing his arm for a few chips.

Being completely unqualified as a doctor, I immediately diaganosed that Something Wasn’t Right – that something obviously being heart related as it was going ten to the dozen while I was peely-wally white. I’ve watched too many episodes of Holby City as it turned out to be anaemia, the pernicious kind mind you ...

One wee course of injections – lifelong, yipee! – and the tank is topped up and I’m fine.

Telling folk of the condition has generated that classic Sottish reply: “Och, my gran had that! She lived ‘til she was 98!”

Turns out the condition hits women and vegans, so call me Daisy and pass me that kale, black bean and avocado sandwich.

I’ve also realised that Googling all possible side effects/implications is a bad idea. I did that waiting on the first of six injections and damn near fainted, which is how I ended up here in the first place.

Still, I’m thinking ‘The Pernicious Mr Crow’ has a certain ring to it for a new column ...