Well. This week I've gone from being very tired, to being in a lot of pain, to being unable to walk up the steps between my lounge and the hallway, to being unable to hold a cup of tea, and back to being exhausted again. I need to go back to work on Monday, which is worrying me, but I'm going to talk to HR and only do the absolutely minimum - only teaching, as little admin as possible - if I can arrange that.
On Wednesday I finally got to see a GP who took me seriously. He was a little bit appalled that I hadn't been sent to specialists yet, and got me a very quick referral. Then yesterday I went to see the rheumatologist, who was really excellent. He thinks it's very likely that I have CFS/ME, although it could be fibromyalgia - apparently they are very similar. He took me very seriously. He also took The Girl seriously, and treated her like someone who knows my condition better than I do, which was actually very useful! I'm being referred on to some helpful people, hopefully including physiotherapy and other specialists. He was very matter-of-fact, in the way of one who knows intellectually what an illness is like but hasn't thought too much about what the experience is, but then that's doctors for you. He wasn't great on the subject of how to manage the condition, though. He gave me some advice that conflicts worryingly with every other bit of advice that I've had about this problem (he said I can't do any damage to myself so I can pretty much keep going as normal, whereas I've been told by other doctors that I could make myself very ill if I don't rest, and that's just what has happened to some friends of mine with ME, so I'm wary). So we're waiting to make any changes until I see the consultant he's referring me to, who apparently is an expert on CFS and similar things. He thinks I can get to see her quite quickly, so that's encouraging. I want to know exactly what I need to do to get better, and then I will do that. The best thing about it all is that he's referring me to himself under the NHS, so that I can immediately get NHS treatment for the long-term things that I'll need. I think he quite quickly realised that I couldn't pay for many private appointments, and that I'd rather not, too (for ethical reasons). He was very good about this. So, I've sort of 'skipped the queue' with regards to getting treatment, but if I hadn't then there could have been some painful and frustrating months of waiting. I can just about live with the way I've approached it.
The Girl has been utterly amazing over the past three weeks. There've been times this week when I couldn't hold a cup of tea, and she's been doing absolutely everything from cooking the dinner to going out to get me chocolate biscuits to moving the TV into the bedroom and back into the lounge again. And she doesn't seem to mind in the least. She is fantastic.
THE GIRL = BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER. PARTICULARLY GOOD WITH LIFTING TVs AND GOING OUT FOR CHOCOLATE BISCUITS.
As for news that falls into the category of 'the world is a crazy place', The Girl's father has invited me to join them for their New Year celebrations. In France. With their entire family. And various family friends. You should have seen The Girl's face. She gave up frying the dinner altogether, and just stood in the middle of the kitchen looking utterly terrified. I think she thought her father had completely lost his mind. Which it's quite possible he has. I am bemused. But pleased.