Multiple sclerosisBMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4470 (Published 26 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4470
- Debbie Purdy, patient1,
- Wendy Leedham, General practitioner2
- 2Farrow Medical Centre, Bradford BD3 0HX
- Correspondence to: Debbie Purdy
- Accepted 15 October 2009
I first experienced my body refusing my directions in the summer of 1994. Less than half a mile from home my knees just wouldn’t hold me for another step, and I collapsed on the kerb. People going past probably thought I was drunk—a reaction I was to get used to. I went to my GP a couple of weeks later, because I was moving to Singapore and wanted reassurance that the collapse and a few other random experiences of unresponsive body parts were just a reflection of a more sedentary life since coming back to the UK from Hong Kong in 1990. I had spent five or six years abroad, experiencing life.
The GP didn’t even examine me—I made it pretty clear that I was returning to southeast Asia to solve the problems that my lifestyle change had created, and he went along with that.
I went to Singapore in September 1994 but returned to the UK several times in the following months for family funerals. That Christmas I saw a practice locum in Yorkshire who thought that my recent emotional turmoil was to blame for my odd symptoms (tiredness, some blurred vision, and wobbly walking) and referred me to a therapist. My dad’s doctor in Sussex thought I should see a neurologist and referred me to one in Brighton.
Both appointments came through for March 1995, so I went home first to Sussex to see the neurologist. He sent me straight for an MRI scan the following week. The technician was really thorough, explaining exactly what I should expect while I was in the MRI tube for about 45 minutes. The conveyer slid me in and, …