Based on a single blood pressure reading at my doctor’s clinic, I was prescribed blood pressure medication. This Rx was given to me in lieu of my diabetes medication. The offending blood pressure reading was 160/93. Pretty bad, right? Both the systolic and diastolic were above normal, but still technically “mild” range.
I suppose it might have interested my doctor to know that during that blood pressure test, I was experiencing a mid-grade anxiety attack. You see, as the nurse assistant was wrapping the blood pressure sleeve around my arm, she asked me what I would be wanting to talk to the doctor about that day, and I responded with something like, “I don’t even know where to begin!”. She then informed me that I could only choose a single issue to discuss due to time constraints! I didn’t expect this at all, so my heart rate shot way up — I could feel the familiar pounding in my ears, and when that blood pressure reading popped up on the display with a beep, I was hardly surprised to see the result.
I know that state-funded medical care isn’t exactly the creme de la creme or anything, and as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. However, I’m new to this, and I had no idea that I would be asked to make separate appointments to discuss separate health issues. (Is this “the norm” now?) Perhaps I am just more naive than I thought, but I went in there that day hoping to crack into a couple of issues that are important, and I did not foresee being immediately shut down and forced to choose just one. It’s not like I was there to talk about a sniffle or have her look at a suspicious mole. I was there to discuss my possible diabetes, my untreated PCOS, the tumors on my adrenal glands, my depression and anxiety, and my sleep apnea. I even asked the assistant, “How am I supposed to be able to prioritize so many potentially horrible problems, and just pick one?” She was no help, but did steer me towards the diabetes issue, so I stuck with it.
So, with my anxiety switch fully flipped, it’s no wonder my BP was elevated. Never mind the fact that every visit since then my BP has been normal. If she knew a single thing about my medical history, she would also know that I have never had any blood pressure issues in the past, either. But apparently that doesn’t matter to my doctor, since she has pigeonholed me as just another fat, apathetic diabetic. And since I’d need to make a whole separate appointment just to tell her “I have bad anxiety issues”, she’ll never know why that BP reading was so artificially high.
Needless to say, I haven’t taken my blood pressure medication yet. I hear it’s a real bitch (and horrendously dangerous) to ween yourself off of after you’ve gotten things under control. I don’t want to have a stroke because some uninterested doctor who couldn’t pick me out of a crowd decided I needed to be on it based on one sketchy blood pressure reading. No. No no no.
I have so much more to say about my health care experiences thus far, most of it terrible, but I don’t want to be too much of a downer today. I just wanted to say that if they are going to leave so much self-diagnosis and medical footwork to the patient, then I am also going to question the validity of some of my so-called doctor’s decisions.