Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's my blog, and I'll whine if I want to.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know that getting old beats the alternative. But damn it, my head is still young.  For pete's sake, on Monday Sr. Jeanne introduced us to "Big O notation" and I had an extremely hard time not giggling.

So, this may get a little TMI-ish, so feel free to turn back now.  But, I use this blog for cathartic reasons, and as a diary.  I scroll bag through old posts and realize how much I'd forget had I not written it down somewhere.  So I'm writing it down here.

About 8 years ago my periods went from on the heavy-normal side to holy-hell-what-the-heck-is-happening-to-me??  I had tests and procedures, including a surgical D and C to spring clean the ol' gal.  I was anemic, perpetually run down and basically hated my reproductive system.  Eventually it was determined that my hormones were wonky.  I would have thought that it would have been more economically efficient to start there, but I guess they were ruling out cancer and aliens.  Turns out that good old fashion birth control pills regulated my hormones and gave me, for the first time in my life, a light/normal cycle.  The dosages have tweaked over the years, accounting for age and more hormone fluctuations, and everything is grand.

Sort of.

My doctor is vigilant about his "older" patients, and makes us come in every six months for a blood pressure check, since high blood pressure and the pill leads to higher incidents of stroke in women over 35.  Last week I went in for my BP check and he wouldn't write me a new prescription.  I don't recall what my first or second reading was, but the final one was 130/100.  Too high for him.  "It has to be 130/90 or lower".  He laid out my options:
Leave the BP unchecked and go off the pill;
Leave the BP unchecked and have an ablation; 
Leave the BP unchecked and get an IUD  inserted;
OR simply see my family doctor and address the BP with medication and call his office when I had a 130/90 or less reading.

I don't know what anyone else would chose, but after a long angry pity party it finally occurred to me that this does come with my genes.  I could ignore the issue, but I'd feel awfully dumb dying of a stroke or heart attack when I had this opportunity to address the situation.  So I went home and called my family doctor and set up an appointment with doctor for two days later.

Maybe letting me sit in an empty waiting room for a half hour after my appointment time was part of their blood pressure check strategy?  It worked. :P  My weight went up 5 pounds in two days and my BP went up to 130/110.

What I thought would be a "yup, your BP is high, here's your Rx. Watch your sodium, and for heaven's sake, lose some weight already" turned to a long talk, an EKG and blood work.  The good news is, my heart is in good shape (according to the EKG) and my sugar level is "beautiful" (according to the blood work).  We discussed my arthritis, my family history and how well I'm sleeping.  Which is curious, because when we moved in June I hurt my right shoulder.  It's gotten better over time, but progress has been sloooow.  And every once in a while I'd do something stupid, like sand a board, that would set me back in the healing process.  We've been settled in for 3 months now, but the pain is still present enough that I have trouble sleeping on my side - and surprisingly,  it hurts almost as to sleep on my left side as it does to sleep on the injured side (because of the way the shoulder curls in this position).  So I've been sleeping on my back, but I'd much prefer to sleep on my side.  I've had several occasions where I've woken myself up because my tongue has lolled back and covered my airway.  I don't know why I don't just breath through my nose at that point, but apparently I'm not.  The doctor sort of grabbed onto this revelation and quickly noted that I had gained 10 pounds since my last visit. What she didn't know what that I had recently lost 20 pounds, and as it goes with many of us who struggle with weight: lose 20, gain 30.  (If you ever wonder what makes a person give up their weight, there's answer.  The fear that you're just going to make it worse.)  I knew that she was headed to sleep apnea as the root cause: elevated blood pressure and weight gain are two prime symptoms.  MYSTERY SOLVED.

Before she could shove me off to a spendy sleep clinic I pointed out that the waking myself up thing only happened on my back, and I was only sleeping on my back because of my shoulder pain.  Have I mentioned that my regular doctor was out of town and I ended up seeing the other doctor in the practice?  Or that I've never really like this particular doctor, who on her best day is "kinda weird" and most days comes across has judge-y and condescending?  Yeah. That. So I mention the shoulder pain is the reason why I'm sleeping on my back and waking myself up never happened on my side, to which she says in a judge-y condescending way "Do you want a pain killer for that??"  The answer, in my head is a cross between "YESSSSS!  I WOULD LOVE ONE!" and "Look, you condescending little twit, I didn't come in here to whine about my arm, so don't treat me like some street urchin in here trying to scam you for Oxycontin. Bitch."  Instead of letting either of those out I calmly said "Well, that's not why I'm here today, but I wouldn't say no."   Not surprisingly, she scowled and said "I'll put you on (whatever), it's non-narcotic."  (apparently my entire "my gyno sent me because I have high blood pressure" was just an elaborate ruse. Right.)(Grrr.)

This is already too long, so I'm not going to outline the rest of the visit - I was in the office from 10:30 to 12:30, so...yeah: you're welcome.  :)

However, I will say this. When you watch medical dramas - ER, Grey's Anatomy, etc. and you see a patient getting an EKG I can guarantee it will ALWAYS be a man.  Why? Because it's a naked from the waist-up procedure that, despite giving you that piece of modesty tissue, leaves your left naked boob hanging out.  Which is my favorite part of everything.  Oh well, at this age, and with my family history, I guess I'm lucky to still have a left boob.

So anyway, I'm on a very low dose of diuretic for the blood pressure, and she did give me the prescription for my shoulder.  She also told me to find omega-3 in a 1000mg dose. Heh. Good luck with that. :P  Easy to find fish oil in 1000mg, but the actual omega 3 is only 300 or 500. Fortunately Amazon saved the day on that one.  The picture at the top of the post if my morning routine, a half a BP pill and two of those horse pills (the omega 3 jobbies). This morning I was convinced I was going to throw up after I took them, they sort of sat in my throat at that spot that says "I could go either way from here.  Better be careful."

I go back for a follow up in two weeks to see if we've brought it down.  In the meantime, I'm "watching my sodium" - which mostly means I'm feeling stunned and overwhelmed at how much is in everything we eat. :(  I'm also resting more comfortably, and back to sleeping on my side.  So one way or another, I'm going to be okay.


  1. Absolutely .... you are entitled to blog about whatever you want to. If someone is offended or does not like the topic, they can close the window and move on.

    Kudos to you for making healthy choices. I get so sick of doctors constantly whining about weight issues. Those of us who need to lose weight know it and don't need to be reminded. I have started to refuse the weight on visits where it is not necessary. The nurses look at me like I have called forth the devil but oh, well.

    On the sleep side of things, a sleep study changed my life.Long story short, I did not think I had sleep issues, had the study and found out that I stopped breathing 120+ times an hour. Using a sleep machine has improved my quality of life one thousand times over. My medical equipment provider offers a free service to test for sleep disturbances to determine if you even need a sleep study. A pulse oximeter clip attached to a small device is worn on a finger overnight. The data gets uploaded and read. Super easy. They just required a physician order for it.

    My company is Airway Oxygen. I know they have locations in western Ohio but won't know about your area. I can't believe that other durable medical equipment companies don't offer the same thing.

    And the Big O. Sister Jeanne! Sister Jeanne? The one who prayed for you??? She has to know the other meanings of term! Speaking of the Big O, I thought when I started reading your post that it was going to get juicy! (Oh my gosh! I just realized what I just wrote!)

    1. Huh. I guess I figured if I had a sleep issue I'd know. So how did you know to be tested? And did Jim ever notice you having issues? I know I've woken myself up from not breathing, but one morning Kerig said I was having breathing issues the night before. But again, these all happened when I was back sleeping. I'm happy to report that the prescription she gave me for my shoulder has REALLY helped and I'm back to my side sleeping and so very happy about that!

  2. Forgot to tell you that Jim takes a prescription fish oil called Lovaza. It is a more refined oil with no after-taste.