Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual

Maureen Pratt Author PicI’m typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month’s journey – again – to determine “once and for all” the reason why I don’t hold onto iron. For years, I’ve dealt with iron levels that get lower and lower until, finally, I have to have an infusion. And, for years, the reason for this, or, rather, the “usual” reason, is that I must be losing blood from somewhere, enough to account for the loss of ferritin. Only, turns out, I’m not. Turns out, for me, it’s another of those medical anomalies, and a reminder that some patients are, sometimes, more “unusual” than “usual.”


There are labs and there are diagnoses, “usual” proofs of certain conditions and then, well, there can be the “unusual” side of chronic illness. Lab results, for example, with their “normal ranges,” and people whose symptoms defy those ranges, even though the opposite should be true.

I think part of the reason for anomalies in lab reports and clinical manifestations is that, for many illnesses, the learning curve has yet to be fully explored. Some diseases are still not fully understood, and each patient is more like a piece in the overall cloth of medical understanding than a pinpoint on the well-established-in-stone “line.” And this brings an added responsibility on the patient to communicate clearly and help his or her doctors understand his or her particular situation.


After this latest spate of tests, invasive and non, I think the doubt has been lifted and the path is clear: I just don’t absorb iron, and the infusions will be a regular part of my overall healthcare. Not especially pleasant, but I’ll make the best of it, as it will definitively address at least this one component of my health problems. And I’ll be sure to keep all reports and records documenting this so that, if I have to see a new doctor, I can bring him or her on board immediately.

It’s quite an individual thing, this art and science of diagnosis.  Meaning, the patient and his or her doctor have to work very closely together, both understanding that, at times, the picture is quite usual, and other times, even though rare, quite unusual.

Reminds me of the Scripture passage, to paraphrase, that we are, indeed wonderfully and fearfully made!

Blessings for the day,


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