It turns out that the CFS clinic doesn't actually have a general doctor on staff let alone a specialist! It is just 'occupational health' people who are there to give you some tips on how to cope with the condition and accept it. Now don't get me wrong, this is great for people who have a definitive diagnosis and only need disease management techniques, but I do not.
She tried to tell me that the doctor had done all the blood tests necessary for a diagnosis which I thought was, quite frankly, laughable. They have done the basic bloods to check liver, kidney function etc. and rule out things like glandular fever, anaemia, diabetes, leukemia etc. There are however so many other possible causes of chronic fatigue that are not included in these tests that you have to wonder how many people there are out there with undiagnosed autoimmune diseases, cancers, multiple sclerosis, lyme, chlamydia pneumonia, active viruses like parvo etc., even TB or AIDS. Even my doctor has implied that more tests need to be done before a diagnosis can be made! In order to make sure they are the right tests he wanted the specialist to do them...
It seems to me that when working with a public health service like the NHS you really have to advocate your case for further tests and a proper diagnosis because of course they would prefer you didn't - it costs them money. That's why there are people like the occupational health person I saw, they are there to protect the specialists from being swamped.
So the conclusion of my visit, because I pushed for it, is that I will be getting a referral to an MS specialist who has also worked with ME patients, and that this new doctor will be able to run the appropriate tests.
I did learn a couple of interesting things during the meeting though:
1. Apparently only a small subset of CFS sufferers have the acute intolerances (to food and airborne chemicals or particles) that I have.
2. Most CFS sufferers have a low cortisol (adrenal fatigue) whereas I have high cortisol levels and have been taking stuff to lower them for the last 6 months or so. The naturopath who discovered this said that my body was producing extra cortisol to reduce the symptoms of a chronic background infection by suppressing my immune system. By lowering the cortisol levels my neutrophil count went up and my flu-like symptoms got notably worse.
3. Most CFS sufferers have unrefreshing sleep even if they do sleep through the night whereas, although I had some sleep problems initially, I now sleep well (7-8hours) and I always feel better in the morning and decline throughout the day.
Incidently, this meeting cost me a lot... I went in walking but had to be wheeled out and manhandled into the car because I did not have the muscle strength to stand even with help. Glutamine supplementation is helping my recovery but I am still exceedingly tired and getting a fair frequency of nerve pains...
All in all I am very pleased that I got this appointment at least a month earlier than I would have, otherwise I would have been quite frustrated by it. As it is, it was useful, just not immediately so. Let's hope the visit to the ENT (rescheduled for the 14th) goes better!