I only learned recently that in medicine at least, ‘syndrome’ describes any collection of symptoms with no distinct, identifiable cause. It’s a diagnostic shoulder-shrug and I’ve been given two of them in the last year, both both of them are hugely annoying and largely unpredictable.
The first one was Reynauds. I’d lived 32 years without it being a problem at all, and then suddenly last winter I started to notice my fingers getting cold even when I thought I had thick enough gloves on for the conditions. Now it can happen even at 15 degrees or so, which hampers my ability to work and enjoy myself. So pretty much everything.
My (limited) understanding is that it’s a nervous system complaint, whereby my body overreacts to being mildly cold and constricts blood flow to my fingers. They go white and numb and it can take an hour over a radiator to nurse feeling back into them. It sucks and my GP has no real suggestions. Otherwise healthy 30-somethings are not top of their priorities. They’re more interested in keeping nonagenarians dribbling into their soups for just one month more.
Apparently it’s more prevalent among female teenagers, so it’s not only deeply inconvenient but embarrassing too.
I thought it would be warm enough in Portugal and Spain in Spring for me to forget about it, but it’s been a problem here too. The houses are totally uninsulated and it’s been pretty chilly in the morning and at night. Camping and rain exacerbate things.
The second one is IBS. Although to be fair I’m not sure I even have it. I told my GP I’d been farting a lot and she just said: ‘hmm, sounds like IBS’. It wasn’t exactly an in-depth conversation.
I’ve identified various potential culprits over the last year: onions, beans, milk, wheat, gluten, brassicas, sugar, beer, etc etc etc. I’ve experimented with dropping these out of my diet for a few weeks at a time to mixed success. I was fine in Thailand, which led me to think it was bread or wheat or gluten. But I’m also fine now, and I’m eating loads of delicious bread and pastries. So my latest conclusion is that I’m actually Work-Intolerant. My body actually physically rejects work. I can’t do anything about it boss, really!