I went to my primary physician today for a routine checkup. As a middle-aged man on blood pressure medicine, it’s probably good to make sure things are functioning as expected on a routine basis, and today was the day for that endeavor.
I don’t really care for my doctor. He is a replacement. A year ago, the doctor I had been seeing for two decades gave his shared practice two weeks notice and he retired somewhere down south. He left no forwarding address and the folks left behind don’t speak well of him leaving. His patients were divided up between the two remaining doctors.
The first time I went to the new doctor he didn’t bother to come in that day, despite pleas from the desk clerk letting him know that he already had the first patients of the day waiting in the waiting room, and I was one of those people.
Anyway, I went in today feeling pretty good. I’ve stepped up my regular exercise. I’ve lost a few pounds since my last visit and I was in a sunny mood. The drive was pleasant, the desk clerk was relatively friendly and the wait was short.
The nurse ushered me in, did the routine vitals and such. She called out all my numbers as she assessed me. Saving blood pressure for last, she used my right arm for the task and then gave me an alarming look.
“138 over 92”.
Now, that’s fairly high as far as normal folk go but it’s considerably lower than it was two years ago. Her look said, “Your head is going to explode at any moment” and followed up her alarming look with a gaze of disapproval. I told her of my tendency to have white coat syndrome, where my blood pressure is always high on the first try but comes down considerably on the second reading. She told me she’d leave that up to the doctor.
The doctor, a heavy-set man that has a hard time walking and breathing at the same time, plopped down in the chair and started rattling the keys on the keyboard. After confirming my birthdate, he informed me that my blood pressure was high and that it was obvious that my current medication wasn’t cutting it. He was prescribing another med to go on top of what I had. I asked him to take my blood pressure again, because I had just checked it this morning at home and it was 126/84. He told me he had a good reading the first time and he went about pounding on the keyboard, prescribing some sort of medication that would make me pee more. He asked me a few questions and I responded in monosyllabic, irritated sounding grunts. He walked over, pounded on my stomach a few times and told me to come back in a month. He shook my hand on the way out.
It was at that moment that I decided that 1. I needed a new doctor immediately and 2. I wasn’t ever going to see this man again.
Now, as I get older I understand that I’m going to need a little more care and maintenance to keep this masterpiece running in tip top shape. I don’t mind getting my oil changed once in a while. But as the driver of this vehicle, I know what works and what doesn’t and I really don’t appreciate a doctor that doesn’t listen to me.
By the way, when I got home my blood pressure was up, it was 128/86. I fully blame him for it.
It’s obvious that we’ve become a culture that throws medication at symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem. I know the root of the problem, I need to shed 30 pounds, I need to cut salt out of my diet and I need to considerably ramp back the caffeine I consume on a daily basis. (I’m drinking an iced tea as I type this blog entry).
But my body is my temple and it deserves more than throwing more chemicals at it. Either I’m going to Tibet for a full physical, psychological and colonic cleanse or I’m going to find a family physician that is willing to work WITH me as their patient instead of throwing medication at me.
My temple is going to be back in tip top shape on my terms.