Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hypertension 13: Back to Square One

Up until late August, 2006, my Western specialist had accepted the herbal treatments--they were working. But, for whatever reason, they stopped working. Perhaps I had grown resistant to the herbs and required stronger ones. Perhaps none of them would work any longer. The Chinese doctor wanted to try stronger ones. But there was a problem.

Chinese medical treatments for Hypertension are not recognized by Canada’s socialized medical system. They are also not recognized by my private insurer, through work. And they appeared to carry little or no weight with my employer, either. I had developed problems at work due to the side effects of the medications I had been taking. I’d slowed down, had memory problems, was cranky.

I needed treatments that the “mainstream” would recognize. And, of course, treatments that would work quickly.

My Western specialist, who had supported the Chinese treatments until they stopped working, was the key player. He was concerned that my blood pressure readings placed me at Stage 3 Hypertension. He recommended I start back on prescription medications, and he did not say it in a way I thought I could ignore or even question.

So in late August he looked at my higher readings, and started me on a new prescription medication. That medication, in lay terms, blocks the reception of adrenalin by my blood vessels. My understanding was that when I got stressed out my adrenalin production increased, which in turn increased my blood pressure. Stress in my life, including at work, was a factor.

The specialist suggested at the same time that I consider a two week trial from work, to see if being in a less stressful environment would help. I had refused taking any time off work as I was concerned about what my employer would think. My work? Let's just say that I am a civil servant, and for 19 years have been an investigator—a professionally suspicious person. Pretty much anyone who was been in a 'front line' job will tell you that it direct service can be stressful. In my line of work someone always was angry—you had to decide if someone was right or wrong, and that left one side or the other upset.

As a Golden Employment Rule, it is rarely a good idea to let any employer know you are unhappy in your work or that you are having difficulty doing the work. Especially these days, when production is everything.

But then I had to take a work-related seminar on a Monday. To avoid losing work time, I worked at home on the weekend—but my effort was not apparently recognized and the pressure continued. The workshop? Ironically, on managing work-related stress.

That was the point where I decided to take my specialist up on his recommendation to take two weeks off work and see if being away and being engaged in less stressful pursuits, would have an impact on my blood pressure. So off I went on two weeks' medical leave.

The specialist was now directly managing my treatment.

No comments: