Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Doctor Appt. Update

So I went to the doctor this morning to get the low-down on my blood pressure (get it? low-down? har har). I kind of feel like it was a big fat waste of time.

Okay, so I admittedly have a deep-seated prejudice against doctors. So it's unlikely that I would come away from any doctor's office with rave reviews.

This is my PCP. I've never met him before, as we changed family doctors after our previous one missed Michael's cancer (that's right!), or rather, failed to refer him to a specialisit until SEVEN MONTHS after he first brought alarming symptoms to her attention. Yeah. So after that we kind of decided maybe she wasn't the doctor we wanted to entrust our care to. So this is a doctor new to us. Highly recommended, actually, by Michael's oncologist - who is actually a doctor I very much like. Anyhow, this new doctor, however, happens to be out of town currently, so I saw some quack doctor filling in for him.

On the plus side, when I arrived, the waiting room was pretty crowded, but they were moving patients right along and I didn't have to wait long at all. I filled out the requisite paperwork and then was called back.

(Kind of a funny aside: on the wall was hung a sign that said "A FEE OF $25 IS CHARGED FOR FILLING OUT FORMS." I shit you not. I almost laughed out loud at this. Seriously? They're going to charge me to fill out forms pertaining to me? I mean, isn't clerical stuff part of the office staff's job? I love when they ask you for your insurance card so they can make a photocopy of it, then give you a form to fill out that asks you for your detailed insurance information. Dude, you have my freaking insurance information! And don't bother asking me for my driver's license number or social security number, because the only reason for you to have that information is for collection purposes, but I have insurance so you don't need to worry your pretty little heads about collecting anything from me!)

Anyway, so I go back and the nurse weighs me and measures my height (apparently I've shrunk an inch over the last few years) and takes my blood pressure. It was high. 162/96. A few minutes later the stand-in doctor comes in. I explained to him about the stress and anxiety I've been under with my husband's health, and also that my bp always tends to be noticeably lower (though still on the high side) at home than in the doctor's office. In a nutshell, here's what he told me:

  • Stress does not cause high blood pressure (this after admitting that there is such a thing as "white coat syndrome" - a particular stress having to do with being in a doctor's office that causes some people's bp to elevate);
  • Caffeine plays very little in the role of blood pressure
  • My alcohol intake is most likely the biggest culprit and I need to seriously cut back.
That last one is the one that has me throwing my hands up. I am NOT a heavy drinker by any stretch of the imagination. I like to joke about drinking, but the honest truth is I have the equivalent of ONE drink 4 - 5 nights out of the week. Once in a while when I go out I might have two or three drinks. That's it.

He said that he could give me a prescription for a bp med today, but when I told him that I'm still breastfeeding he informed me that he's not sure if any bp med is safe while breastfeeding. "Probably," he said. But, he said, it would probably be better if I just stopped breastfeeding. And that got under my skin too. As if it's that simple, that cut and dried. I have a toddler with Down syndrome who does not drink out of a cup yet. Yes, I need to work on that, but I guess what bugs me is just the black and white perception.

What we finally decided is that I will work at making certain lifestyle changes - eat better (less salt - I do love my salt!), try to get more exercise (though, seriously, with all the running around I do, I hardly live a sendentary life, and at 5'4" and 128 pounds, I am not overweight), I don't know about the alcohol . . . whatever . . . and monitor my bp at home for the next few weeks and see. And then go back and see my new real doctor for a follow-up.

So basically I feel like I am left standing here, still at square one. I don't know if I actually have chronic high blood pressure, or if it's situational, or even if it's hereditary. My dad had high blood pressure, but he also had a terrible lifestyle - he was grossly overweight, he was a heavy smoker, a severe alcoholic - so his hypertension could very well have been totally lifestyle induced and not genetic.



diane rene said...

ugh! kinda makes you wish you'd waited til the other doctor got back, huh?
hey, at least you have a number to go by, and if you monitor at home too, then you can watch it AND watch for REAL triggers. I believe stress plays a HUGE part in every aspect of health and if it didn't play a role in BP, then why do they tell us to eliminate stress??
hopefully the real doc is awesome. I am in a similar boat - my PCP (who I cannot say enough good things about) has been put in the position where he can no longer take office patients. I have yet to go to one of his referrals, but I am anxious to start weeding them out. I am thankful he did not refer me to one of the docs I have already seen, cuz they are morons.
good luck, and keep a log of the events of the day, emotions, etc when you check your BP ... my dad did that and found the oddest things would set his BP off.

heather said...

Here's my take on this from my personal experience as a home health nurse. Stress shouldn't cause that high of blood pressure. It can raise it some but not enough to make a person hypertensive. Pain increases blood pressure. I don't think your alcohol intake has anything to do with your blood pressure. As a matter of fact a daily glass of wine is now recommended for better heart health. Decreasing your salt intake will help if you are having high blood pressure readings. I think you need a small dose of blood pressure medication and there has to be some that is safe with breast feeding. Too many women have hypertension while pregnant to not have a medication available. I think that doctor was a waste of your time. Did he do any blood work? I'd recommend just seeing your regular doctor for your follow up (which actually is not a follow up but at this point is still your initial evaluation).

FogCityNews said...

There are definitely some blood pressure drugs that are safe while BFing! Especially since Finn's out of the "newborn period." Check out Dr. Hale's website, he's the author of "Medications & Mother's Milk." Here's the link to the page on Antihypertensives:


Lisa B said...

Can you check with your midwife and if she does not know have her check with an OB she feels confident in about a med safe to take while breastfeeding? Or may be your ped has a med he knows is ok?? That doc you saw seems ultra lame!

christina said...

sounds like a complete waste of time. i hope you dont have to pay another $25 when the new "real" dr comes back.

Talley Images said...

Sorry - i usually feel this way when I take the kids to a dr (I rarely go myself) - just give them tylenol, fluids and plenty of rest.. ugh I could have done that myself...

And as for the $25 form fee... i think that is referring to when the receptionists have to waste their time filling out forms for people who cant read or whatever... I dont think it means you have to pay for filling out your own forms... ugh, but that would be something