Friday, November 24, 2006

Hypertension 12: Doctor vs. Doctor vs. Doctor, and Then There's None (cause I'd be dead)

There are the doctors, and then there is you, the patient. And let me tell you, as a patient you have to be.

The family doctor thought his prescription medications were fine but that the Chinese herbs were, probably, unscientific and therefore not to be trusted. The specialist approved of the herbs.

One doctor prescribed a Hypertension medication that I had to quit after three days--all I wanted to do was sleep. Another doctor told me that medication was 'contraindicated' because of my weight.

I developed 'floaters' (little dark spots in your vision which come from crud in your eyeball). One doctor said the floaters could be related to Hypertension. An eye specialist laughed. My optometrist was not sure.

One specialist said the side effects of the medications he prescribed were not caused by the medications he prescribed. A second specialist changed the medications because of the same side effects.

One doctor said the side effects would go away. A second doctor said over time I would get used to them. A nurse told me they would stay forever.

Several doctors, over several years, have suggested I take an anti-cholesterol drug. When I finally agreed to start on one—as part of my Hypertension treatment--the doctor said it did not matter what time of day I took it. But a nurse (nurses seem to consistently provide the most realistic information) told me I should take it in the evening, after dinner, as that was when my liver started producing cholesterol.

One day, a specialist and his intern discussed in front of me (he was training the intern, and I appreciated their honesty in using me as education) changing my medications to reduce the negative side effects. The intern recommended increasing the dosage of a med I was already taking. The specialist told him that would only make the negative side effects worse. Instead he changed one of the prescription medications I was taking (from Caduet to Adalat XL). I told them listening to their conversation was like watching "House" on tv, except for the sarcasm. We all had a hearty (haha) laugh.

Most doctors who have prescribed anti-cholesterol medications told me I would have to get regular blood tests to check for liver damage, but never explained much about it. One never even mentioned possible liver damage, just said I would have to get regular blood tests. When I asked that doctor about what damage it could do to my liver, he was actually offended. Offended! He told me that he had prescribed it to many patients with no problems.

He never answered the question.

Him I never saw again.

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