You want to vivisect me???
“No, no, no, no, no. Venesect you, Mr Ayres. VENEsect. It’s a phlebotomy.”
I’m rather attached to my phlebs. What do you want to remove them for? Suppose I want to keep them?
“You misunderstand, Mr Ayres, Ve Vant your blood, mwahahahaha...”
“I said we want to take some of your blood.”
What, for more tests?
“No, we need to bleed you.”
Ewwww. Is that where you cover me in leeches?
“Sigh. We live in slightly more enlightened times these days, Mr Ayres. It is exactly the same process as giving blood, only it’s done deliberately to make sure your body releases some of the excess iron it has stored in your body. Leeches might do the job, but they are a bit of a plitter; a syringe is much simpler.”
It turns out I might have haemochromatosis (or hemochromatosis to you lot across the Atlantic who shun the “ae” spellings in words). With luck, this is the cause of my symptoms rather than the current vague diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Although we also have to hope the luck holds out that it’s been caught early enough not to cause any major liver damage.
Haemochromatosis is a condition whereby the body absorbs too much iron, which if left unchecked can cause a great deal of damage to various organs. It’s not something usually picked up by your local GP, but almost by accident some of my blood got checked by a specialist who identified that I carry 2 mutant genes, thereby giving me a Genotype Compound Heterozygote.
This doesn’t mean I definitely have it as I might just be a carrier. But I now have an appointment with the blood specialists in a couple of weeks who are apparently thrilled at getting their hands on someone with a Genotype Compound Heterozygote as it’s not that common.
When I first heard about my Mutant Genes, I wondered if it would give me superhuman powers, like Magneto in X-Men. Perhaps I’d be able to raise up the Forth Bridge and threaten to drop it on the Scottish Parliament if they don’t crack down on Mazda garages in Dumfries saying you need 2 new tyres when actually there’s nothing wrong with them and they’re just trying to con you into spending more money on your 50,000 mile service.
Unfortunately this has turned out to be idle fantasy. The only likely superpower I might have is if I crap in a puddle my stool will face magnetic north.
Great trick if you’re ever lost in the wilderness, you might think, but too much iron is also associated with constipation, so I’d only be able to check my bearings every 3 or 4 days.
In the meantime, until I see the specialists, they have told my GP I might benefit from a bit of venesection, so on Wednesday I will come out of the health centre ½ a litre lighter.
Wonder if it will help with weight loss…