Effect on the Patients World

Any chronic condition will have an impact on the patient's world. Family relationships may change, because of employment, energy levels, libido, depression, and so forth.

"My fiancé was desperate to have children. We parted as I was infertile."

"I am likely to be infertile, but so far this hasn't been a problem. Of course, you never know how things change. A few years ago I watched a TV programme on premature menopause where other women were effectively in mourning for the children that they were never going to have and saying that they felt unfeminine because they didn't have periods. After watching this I wondered whether I was "normal" because I have never felt any sense of loss for my fertility or femininity. I've always regarded the lack of periods to be the plus side of hypopituitarism."

The impact may differ during the initial acute period and later chronic-care stage. Patients and supporters may have different needs regarding information; some may try to ignore what has happened. Parents may experience guilt that they may have passed the condition onto children. Several patients report that their relationships with their children suffered as a result of irritability, depression, tiredness, and so forth.

"My children asked if they could live with a friend who had the energy to play with them."

Family and friends may be frightened if the patient overdoes things with insufficient cortisol. This can result in rapidly becoming ill and becoming delirious, even unconscious. Although recovery is quick once an emergency injection is administered it is a very shocking event for others. Family members should know how to give the emergency jab, and where it is kept.

Loss of a job can be devastating. Employment can give you a place in the world and questions such as "What do you do?" or "What are you?" are common when meeting new people. So how should you answer? Are you retired? Do you explain that you're ill (when you look OK)? Work also provides a social community because most people work with others. Being at home all the time can be lonely and boring unless a replacement activity is found. Reduced income is difficult to deal with.

"I never ask people what they do, as it's a question I find difficult to answer myself."

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