My first period started on 15th December, I think. It stopped for about a week over Christmas, and then started again. The second time around, I really did feel like death warmed up, and it took another week before I summoned the energy to get to the doctor for my depo.
I arrived a few minutes early, and rang the bell, then sat down on some steps to wait when there was no response. I figured he was probably busy with the patient before me and, since it’s just him, he wasn’t able to answer the door. Ten minutes later, I tried the bell again, and still got no response. This time, I realised he must be involved in something very technical, so I decided to just wait until he was done.
While I was sitting there, his next patient arrived, and I moved to one side so she could sit a couple of steps above me. We sat together and had a nice chat while we waited!
Then, 15 minutes after my appointment time, my doctor opened the door, apparently in search of his next patient. He’d been on the balcony having a smoke when I rang the bell, so he hadn’t heard it.
Considering what I had planned for the appointment, this went in my favour!
So, I told him what had happened about my depo, how I probably needed to have it every 11 weeks rather than every 12, and that I clearly wasn’t menopausal since I’d barely stopped bleeding since my last depo ran out. If I’d been living in the UK, and been dependent on the NHS for my depo, I’m sure I would have been refused 11-weekly injections – everything I’ve seen in the B12/PA group says the NHS are only into doing things late, not early – but my doctor was fine with it. I asked him, hopefully, if my need for more frequent injections was a sign of approaching the menopause, and he just shrugged. I’d like to imagine it is.
Then I brought up the subject of vitamin B12, and my mile-long list of symptoms.
I sat opposite him and we talked about B12 … and talked about B12 … and talked about B12. Obviously, I didn’t tell him I’d made the decision to self-inject, and all I needed was that one, first injection from a medical professional as a protection against dying from anaphylactic shock if it turned out I was allergic to one of the ingredients. I just asked for one injection, to see if it made a difference to my symptoms.
He told me B12 injections wouldn’t help me. I said he didn’t know that.
He said my normal B12 serum level (I reported the results of my blood tests in this post) made it clear that I wasn’t deficient. And that was even after I’d changed an ‘8’ for a ‘3’in the number I gave him. I reminded him that I’d been supplementing, and he responded that the supplements were clearly helping.
We looked at each other for a while. I’d been in his office nearly half an hour by this point, and we both knew his next patient had been waiting outside for some time.
I played my final card:
“Kelly Osbourne gets a B12 injection if she’s got a busy week ahead. Simon Cowell gets one when he gets off a transatlantic flight. If it’s good enough for them, it must be good enough for me.”
Scowling – yes, my doctor actually scowled at me – he admitted defeat.
“Where do you want it?” he asked. “In your arm or in your hip?”
I managed to contain my delight until he went into the next room to get the B12, then I allowed myself a silent cheer and a satisfied smile.
He did the depo first, and I watched him draw it up. I’d never watched before, but since I was planning to inject myself with B12, it was worth noting how it was done. Like most doctors, he tends to treat me like a dartboard when he does my depo, but this time he was more rough than usual, and I actually felt the solution go into the muscle. I just grinned, knowing I’d won this particular battle.
Then he did the B12 on the other side.
It wasn’t until the afternoon that I realised I hadn’t actually seen him draw up the B12. I’d felt the needle go in, but I hadn’t felt the solution, and that surprised me. Everyone said B12 had a bit of a sting to it, so surely I should have felt it. I’d felt the depo, and I didn’t usually feel that.
So, now I find myself having doubts – probably stupid doubts, but they won’t go away.
What if he just stuck a needle in me, and didn’t inject me with B12 at all? What if he was so annoyed that he just pretended to give me the injection, so I would feel better, and he could smugly announce that all the comments he’d made about the placebo effect were right?
I could have looked round and watched him draw it up, but I was too busy feeling smug myself. And now I don’t know if I’ve had my first injection at all. I still can’t say for certain that the risk of anaphylactic shock has gone.
I’m kicking myself this evening. All that effort, and it’s achieved nothing. All for the sake of not looking round when I should.