Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

January 24, 2013

Summertime Blues

Filed under: fitter/happier — Tags: , — lexifab @ 11:21 am

Not to dwell overly on my state of mental health, but I’ve been a pretty grumpy arse for the past six months or so. First of all, sorry to anyone who’s been on the receiving end of my perpetually crappy mood. It wasn’t you, it was me (obviously).

I’ve been lethargic all the time, sore most of the time and more prone than usual to mood swings. And the direction of the swing was generally away from ‘stable’ and towards ‘surly, miserable jerk’. Every day I would hit a wall around lunchtime where I needed at least an hour’s sleep or I would become a blank-brained walking corpse for most of the afternoon. Guess how often I get to have a lunchtime nap? Yeah, never.

I’m sure it’s been as much fun for everyone else as it has for me.

It finally got to the point around Christmas that I went to see a doctor, just to see if there wasn’t something to the grinding tiredness. I got some blood tests done. I made sure I got them done first thing in the morning, so that the mild sense of disquiet that usually goes with blood tests – “What is this going to show up that I’m not ready to hear?” – didn’t turn into full-blown irrational dread. Which is pretty likely what would have happened if I’d waited until the middle-of-the-day brain crash set in.

It’s good news, as it turns out. Surprising, but good. First off, the tests showed that my iron counts are good (which I knew, because the Red Cross Blood Bank would not let me donate if I were anaemic) and my cholesterol counts, which were borderline-problematic a couple of years ago, are now down inside the safe range.

What was not so good is my Vitamin D count, which is about half of what it should be. Vitamin D deficiency is potentially (though not definitely) linked with a whole bunch of unpleasant conditions. I’m apparently well on my way to osteomalacia (aka “rickets for grownups”) – symptoms include chronic muscle soreness which generally presents as “chronic fatigue”. Oho.

Fortunately the treatment is pretty simple – get more sunlight. Unbelievably, it looks like the sunsafe habits psychologically ingrained by decades of living in North Queensland and listening to a cartoon pelican with a thpeech impediment exhorting me to “Slip, slop, slap” have worked a little better than intended. The fact that I spent almost all my daylight hours in an office in a business suit probably doesn’t help.

The timing of this medical discovery is kind of hilarious, because from today I am participating in a 12-month study of seasonal Vitamin D variations at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. It would be annoying if I had to drop out because I need to make a conscious effort to elevate my D levels, either through increased sun  exposure or by taking supplements. I am hanging on a call back from the research coordinator on whether I would be skewing their results if I deliberately control my D levels. I think that it probably does unless the size of the study is sufficiently large to absorb participants who behave abnormally.

Anyway, if you see me and I’m stupid-tired or stupid-cranky, remind me to get out for a walk in direct sunlight, huh?


  1. Ow, that’s no good. 🙁 Last year my vitamin D levels were very low and it didn’t have anything to do with the sun… apparently the final postproduction stages on vitamin D are done in the kidneys and it was one of the symptoms of my kidneys going over to the Dark Side. So I would go with the supplements and see if the doctor is happy to analyse any other bodily fluids. #unsolicitedmedicaladvice

    Comment by Chris — January 25, 2013 @ 7:27 am

  2. That was actually quite a relief to get to the probable cause and find out it was “just” vitamin D. I had a much nastier list going through my head. Also good that its relatively easily fixable to get to feeling better.

    Comment by Jenny — January 25, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

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