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On Being a Patient |

The Genie in the Bottle

Michael Bernstein, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Murray Hill, NJ 07974 Requests for Reprints: Michael Bernstein, MD, 19 Warren Place, Murray Hill, NJ 07974.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(7):595-596. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-128-7-199804010-00013
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In the fall of 1992, my 1-year-old granddaughter developed classic erythema infectiosum. Her face took on the typical “slapped cheek” appearance, and she developed fever and malaise. I suspected that her parvovirus B19 would in all likelihood infect her grandfather, and it did: I developed fever and severe joint pains. Even after these symptoms disappeared, however, I felt poorly and could never seem to recover from an increasing sense of fatigue that persisted and even worsened. In 6 weeks, my hemoglobin concentration decreased to 10 g (possibly due to the parvovirus), and I lost 22 pounds. I had no appetite, despite my wife's best efforts to provide me with my favorite dishes. I simply could not eat more than several hundred calories a day.

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