The family doctor: Good for what ails you

The last word about dads on Father's Day

Today, a question: Do you, a responsible person, remember to
treat your body like the little temple it is by eating healthy,
exercising regularly, lowering stress and by seeing your doctor
regularly for life-saving check-ups? Yeah, me neither.
Today, a question: Do you, a responsible person, remember to treat your body like the little temple it is by eating healthy, exercising regularly, lowering stress and by seeing your doctor regularly for life-saving check-ups? Yeah, me neither.

So when I went for a periodic exam and the nurse took my blood pressure three times, I began feeling just a wee bit nervous. “Hmmm … that blood pressure is pretty high,” noted the doctor when she appeared. “You might want to get that checked out by your regular physician.” Oh, boy …

Now let me just say I have nothing against Doctor C., my regular physician. He and I go back a long way. Thirty years or so. And he’s always been quite a kidder. “You’ll feel lots better after the surgery,” he remarked brightly the first time I met him at his office all those eons ago. “Oh, hahaha!!” I responded, once I got myself in on the joke.

But these days, as I am getting somewhat, um … “older,” I occasionally feel a slight pin prick of dread when he comes through the door of the examining room. “You’re killing your pancreas,” he told me a couple of years ago after reviewing my blood test, and no, he wasn’t kidding. But he certainly gets me to clean up my act – at least for awhile.

So recently, as I waited on the paper-covered table, legs swinging nervously back and forth, I was apprehensive. My blood pressure was not where it should be. At all. I’d even scheduled a massage the day before to relieve some stress and skipped coffee that morning, but alas. This was a problem.

“Hello, beautiful!” Dr. C. greeted me when he came into the exam room. Now THAT’S the way to begin a conversation in my book. I felt better already. Hoisting my wrist and stashing it under his arm, he slapped on the blood pressure cuff. Now I don’t know about you, but I think pythons would exert less pressure than that blasted cuff. My opinion is that having one’s arm feeling like it’s being forced through a meat grinder might contribute to high blood pressure readings. I’m just saying.

“Write down everything you ate over the last 24 hours,” he ordered, handing me a clipboard and becoming Dr. No Nonsense. I obediently complied. Fortunately it hadn’t been the WORST day of food intake ever although pizza for dinner didn’t improve my doctor’s mood one iota.

“Do you realize how much sodium is in ONE piece of pizza?” he demanded. Well, no, but he was about to tell me. “NO packaged foods from now on, NO restaurants, you’re to eat ONLY fresh food!” he went on. “We have to get this under control right now. I want you to get a full blood work panel. Meanwhile, I’m prescribing blood pressure pills.”

Oh, no … and with that went my proud claim to being on “zero medication” – other than a bit of Ibuprofen to help with random aches and pains. How depressing. My days of living fast and loose with my lifestyle were catching up at warp speed.

At home that evening I was naturally feeling a bit peckish. “You’re awfully cranky tonight!” my spouse noted, picking up his drink and snacks and making off for another room. Well. What can you expect? I’m a sick woman!

But I was a good girl and picked up the blood pressure medicine. And I showed up at the lab to have a couple of dozen (or so it seemed) vials of blood drawn. In the cubicle next to me a gentleman about my age was settling into his chair to have his blood drawn. “Is there a place here where I can lie down for this?” he asked the phlebotomist who was applying an elastic strap to his upper arm. “I fainted doing this a few years ago.”

“It’s always the men!” mouthed my phlebotomist, a large and ultra-friendly blonde-haired woman. What? Is everybody a comedian around here?

The following week I dropped back in to Dr. C’s office where my blood pressure was a tad lower but still wasn’t winning any prizes. Turning his head to make a note in my file, I waited for more dismal news of impending doom, and then it came: “When your blood pressure normalizes, I’m sending you for a colonoscopy. Ah! I see you have ‘blah-blah’ insurance. Did you know they are bundling their tests now?”

Mutely, I shook my head no. “That’s right,” said Dr. C. “When you go in for your colonoscopy, they’ll also have you do a treadmill test.”

As the blood drained from my face, I mercifully noticed a mischievous smile playing about the corners of his mouth. Oh, boy, that Dr. C. He is SUCH a kidder!

Leave your comments