Back to the GP today to review my blood pressure. If you read my last post, I chuntered about a ridiculously high reading from the nursing assistant (or whatever) at the practice. Since then I have read up on best practice for taking BP readings and have been monitoring my own at least twice daily.
First that high reading. Most of the sites I have read say that you should be seated comfortably, feet not crossed, arm supported and relaxed. NOT chatting away as the readings were taken with crossed legs and a self-supporting arm! I’m generally reluctant to criticise, but this was the same person who was not trained sufficiently to be able to take the blood samples from the back of my hand (because finding a suitable vein inside my elbow proved problematic). Draw your own conclusions.
Anyway the first thing the GP did was check my BP the old fashioned way with cuff and stethoscope – high but in the same range as I had been recording myself. I think he was helped by the data that I showed him on my twice-daily checks.
I ask about my bloods – had to ask – and discover (no real surprise) that cholesterols are a touch high but kidney and liver functions fine.
So I express my concern at being drug-dependent for the rest of my life and whether or not lifestyle changes (I need to lose weight and get more active) will make enough change quickly enough for the forthcoming operation. On the question of BP, the answer to the first part is ‘maybe’, but the second part is ‘no’. So the discussion goes – “So can I take the necessary drugs for long enough to get the operation over and then look in more detail at lifestyle measures?” Dr Y agrees, and I am pleased to hear that the prescribed drug – Ramipril – could control my BP in 2 to 3 weeks. So I agree to that route after checking on potential side-effects (dry cough is apparently the most likely) and I had to ask about others which led to his reference book coming out and a longer list of rarer but still possible side-effects one of which was rhinitis. Now the last thing I want when some surgeon is going to poke a drill, some scissors and a vacuum cleaner up my nose is something else wrong with my nasal apparatus so I shall watch out for that one!
On to the elevated cholesterol levels – I ask about the LDL/HDL/Triglycerides split to find nothing especially unusual about the split. “Given what you have said about lifetime drugs, I suppose there is no point in my usual conversation about statins is there?” “True”, say I and a helpful chat follows about the largely minimal effect of diet on cholestorel levels – “If your body wants to run a high cholesterol regime then the liver can make enough of it from whatever you eat, so diet doesn’t really matter unless it is extreme”
Our final chat is about whether he can help me get a ‘not before’ date for the operation. I would like to book a short jolliday but unless I can be sure I will not have to cancel because of being called in then I’m not going to commit the £££. Unfortunately not, so it’s back to the surgeon’s secretary to see if she can help.
So I leave with a script for Ramipril, a request to come back in 3 weeks and an explanation that if my BP is under control by then he will let the surgeon know and I may be listed then. The delight is to find that, because I am over 60, it is free – I always thought the limit was 65 🙂
Call in at GP’s reception on the way out. “Dr Young would like to see me again in 3 weeks, so please can I book an appointment?” Computer says no. “We can’t do that, we only have on the day appointments, a few for up to 2 weeks hence. You can book online but only 2 weeks beforehand” What is the point of this!? It’s easily solvable – Dr gives me a chit to ‘allow’ an appointment to be booked in line with his wishes. It’s as if the system were running the surgery for its own benefit rather than that of either the Dr or the patient. Feedback and suggestions will be on their way. Put appointment in my diary to book appointment!
Well, it’s moving forward. I’m still totally sanguine (bad pun!) about this and really just wish it were all over and life could return to normal.