Thursday 6th August 1992   Morning surgery 11:40

“I think I’ve got polycythaemia, Dr Dennis.” Mrs Vaughan turned to us. “That means that my blood is too thick, students. I’ve got all the symptoms. I’ve got headaches and night sweats. I’m itchy. The itching is terrible after my bath. Vernon has to give me a cold shower immediately. My hands and feet are burning and they’re quite red. I’ve got awful tinnitus and I keep having nosebleeds.”
“Last week, you were convinced that you were anaemic, Mrs Vaughan.” My Dad drummed his fingers on the desk.
“Yes, I was tired, dizzy and slightly breathless. I wondered if the anaemia was related to my indigestion which has been much worse than usual.”
“If I’m not mistaken, Mrs Vaughan, polycythaemia is the exact opposite of anaemia.”
“Mmm . . . I am quite aware of that, doctor. Anyway, do you want me to book in for a blood test?”
“No, I don’t. You had a blood test 6 weeks ago and it was perfectly normal.”

Mrs Vaughan sighed. She got up and went to leave the room. She stopped as she reached for the door handle.
“Dr Dennis.  . . I would be extremely concerned if an elderly patient of mine was anaemic one week and polycythaemic the next . . .”
“Well, I wouldn’t, Mrs Vaughan and, to be honest, I don’t think I am ever likely to see such a case.”
Mrs Vaughan glanced appealingly at us. We all shook our heads.

I think I’ve got polycythaemia.
Tagged on: