Monday, February 21, 2011

Time flies

Since I needed a new prescription for my blood pressure medication, I had a doctor's appointment today.  Dr. G. is always overbooked because everybody loves him as much as we do, even though he yelled at us last October about Cliff's weight gain.  The lady in the office wouldn't book me with a nurse-practitioner because she said it's been a long time since I've seen a doctor.  Hmph.  It hasn't been that long, I thought.  She offered to give me an appointment with Dr. H, but I told her I don't care for him.  
Some time back, we booked Cliff with Dr. H.  He shuffled through the late Dr. D's notes and gave us the three prescriptions Cliff needs; unfortunately, he looked at the wrong note and prescribed the wrong strength of Metropolol.  Now, I could understand this happening, because there had been changes in the past; so I figured he probably skimmed past the most recent one (a time-release) and saw the one Cliff originally took.  The prescription he sent home with us was double the strength, and not time-release, and Cliff was to take it twice a day.  
What I hold against the man is this: he wouldn't listen to me when I called back and said, "This is not the dose Cliff takes; if he takes this, his blood pressure will drop far too low."  
Oh no, he tried to figure out a reason why he'd changed the prescription and was not going to change it.  I was almost in tears by the time I finally convinced him.  The man is young, but that's no excuse.  Doctors need to listen to their patients.   
So, the office lady suggested Dr. John for this visit.  I didn't even know they'd added yet another doctor, but I said yes, I'd try him.
Today I met this doctor, and I liked him just fine.  I told him I usually see the nurse-practitioners, but that the lady in the office insisted it's time I saw a doctor.  He looked at my charts and said, "Yes, I'd say so; the last time you actually saw a doctor was in 2006."
Wow, that was the time Dr. G stitched my leg up, just a few days before Cliff's heart surgery!    
Honestly, there isn't that much for a doctor to do with a healthy specimen like myself, but he asked all the right questions:  "Any diabetes in your family?"  My mother.  "Any heart disease in your family?"  My mother took a prescription to help her frequent atrial fibrillation, but she lived to be ninety-two.  "Why was your blood pressure medication changed?"  Because the first one gave me a chronic cough.  "That's very common," he said.
He listened to my lungs and heart and my stomach (seriously, my stomach?  He probably heard it growling from hunger).  He asked about my last mammogram, and I told him it was around a year ago just before my breast reduction.  He made a note of this surgery, since I'd never mentioned it to anybody at this practice before.
"Have you had other surgeries?"  
I told him about my minor knee surgeries, and that I have knee issues but so far have avoided knee replacement.  
"When did you last have a pap smear?"  
No way, Jose.  Just leave me alone unless I get symptoms, OK?  I had enough of the embarrassing pelvic exams over a span of thirty-five years, and I never got over the blushing.  
I didn't say all that; actually I just told him it had been a long time, and he moved on. 
"Have you ever had a colonoscopy?"  
No, I would have, but I never knew who or where to call for an appointment.  I explained to him that one of my dad's brothers died of colon cancer, and that my sister had some issues a couple years ago.  
"I'll call and take care of the appointment," he said.  
They're supposed to call me and set up an appointment; we'll see if I finally get this done.  I know all about the procedure, having heard first-hand stories from many relatives.  Everyone says the worst part is the preparation.  They all say to stay very close to a bathroom during that time.  
My worst worry is having to spend a day without coffee, but I'll live.  

Here's something I'm wondering:  One of the most common search phrases that brings people to my blog is something like this:  "Can't stop coughing" or "coughing my head off" or "coughed for three years".  
I just happened to connect the coughing to my first blood pressure medication on my own, then did some Google searching to confirm my suspicions.  But I wonder how many people have a chronic cough without ever connecting it to their meds.  I wonder if doctors ever quiz people about this, or warn them this can happen.  I can visualize people on Ace inhibitors losing sleep from all that coughing just like I was, never knowing the cause.  


Midlife Mom said...

One thing I have learned in my ventures into medicine and doctors over the years is that you have to be your own advocate. You were so right to call that doctor on Cliff's prescription mix up but he didn't have any right to be rude to you and practically get you into tears. Glad you stuck with it and got it straightened out! I normally go to a PA, can't remember the last time I saw a doctor! Yes the prep is the worst part of a colonoscopy, the rest you sleep through, but it is soooooo important!

Hollie said...

Glad you liked the new doctor! I'm like you on the pap smear...ugh!

Forty Pound Sack said...

I hate when doctors don't listen. They can be the smartest doctor in the world but if they don't hear you you might as well be treating yourself.

Anonymous said...

I've followed your blog for quite a while now and because of it I read about your chronic cough due to your BP medicine. My husband was put on the same medicine a year ago and has always had "a tickle" in his throat that caused a cough. His cough was driving me goofy and quite a few times I mentioned your reference to the medication side effect. He said it doesn't bother him that much, me on the other hand was scared I might snuff him out with the pillow during the night! I finally made him read the answers from numerous google searches..he is now on a different medication, no cough but now a little swelling in his ankles that the Dr. is keeping a eye on. So, THANKS! (for blogging about your day to day life!)

Lindie said...

I think having the pap smear is important. I am 65, had a hysterectomy, and still get it done every year. Hate it as much as I hate my yearly mammogram but I do it. Wish they had a better test for our ovaries too. I had a colonoscopy about 5 years ago and it wasn't too horrible. They said for me to come back in 10 years. I am on Lopressor too, (metropolol) It is very important if they ever reduce the medication that you are weaned off the difference over a period of 8 weeks. I refuse to let the doctor reduce mine. My husband died 10 days after they reduced his by half. 6 months later the AMA announced that part about the weaning over 8 weeks.

madcobug said...

My DIL had a cough from her first B/P medicine,I remembered I had heard certain meds would cause that. She call her doc, he changed her med and that stopped the cough.Seems like that is more common than we know.