Yeah. Um. So, remember last year about this time? I went in for my yearly physical and I came home all psyched because I was healthy as a horse and all that jazz? I even blogged about it: Benefits from Running and I was all... I run. Ergo, I am healthy and awesome! Boo-ya!
Well... in the interest of full disclosure, apparently, I'm not quite that healthy. At least not this year.
So, last Tuesday I walked into the doctor's office feeling pretty good. Sure, I had been on a 3 week bender of booze, late nights, onion rings and ice cream... but, previous to those 3 weeks, I'd been dropping pounds, watching what I eat, and feeling really good. So, I assumed that it would be a routine exam and I'd leave like I did last year, all big headed about how healthy I am and how I'm going to be around to write annoying and bragg-y posts for the next 80+ years. (Yay for you!!)
Now, I'm going to set the scene for you. I go to the Vanderbilt Clinic. And I go there for 2 reasons:
1. I think that Residents are by nature more curious than doctors who have been in practice for years and years. And more curious= more apt to listen to me and my issues and look for causes and solutions.
2. If anything is ever wrong and I have to be referred to a specialist, I automatically get referred to a Vanderbilt specialist. Bonus!
But, you really have to weigh the good with the bad, and the two bad things are:
1. I end up paying a lot more out of pocket costs because everything gets billed as a "hospital service" and my insurance company automatically opts out of paying for such things as a tetanus shot when you get it at a hospital. Grrrrr....
2. Every few years you get a new resident. And since my yearly appt is in July/August, when I say new... I mean FRESH OUT OF SCHOOL, which means, if you're one of the first women's exams they get... be prepared to have to direct them with the speculum. (Learned that the hard way. Ouch).
Overall, I'm very happy with the Vanderbilt Clinic. I had a new resident this year, and when he looked over my charts, he made mention that my blood pressure seemed a little high, but he didn't seem all that concerned.
Enter the Resident's Boss... Chief Resident? (I dunno what to call him, I don't watch enough Grey's Anatomy to get the terminology right.) He comes in and immediately sits down next to me and tells me that my blood pressure is high and that since I'm an otherwise young and healthy individual who exercises a lot and eats well, that it's a concern and that I need to start taking something for it.
Ummm... excuse me?
You talking to me????? The girl who runs and eats healthy and who is only 29 has to take blood pressure medicine??? Awwwww... hells no. There's got to be some mistake here. I don't have high blood pressure. Other people have high blood pressure. Old people and people who are unhealthy.
My blood pressure when the nurse took it that morning: 148/90
I was pissed. Livid! I was determined that the test was administered wrong and decided to wait a few days and re-take the test. There is no way I have blood pressure so high that I need to take meds.
So, I stressed about it all week. I researched hypertension (the actual name for high blood pressure), I decided that I'd just stop taking my birth control pills (which can cause hypertension) and try to eliminate as much salt, alcohol, and caffeine from my diet as I could. That I would just control this on my own. Or, maybe I don't actually have high blood pressure, at all. Maybe, the one test they did was wrong. They should have tested me more than the once. Ha! I don't need no stinking medicine.
Friday morning I tested myself... 155/94. And then my anger switched to fear and I freaked out. This lasted for a good hour or two. Until my head finally cleared and I realized that I am not the type of person that stresses out over things, so why stress over this? Sure, it's something that is important, but, I shouldn't be stressing over it, when it's something that A. is made worse by stressing and B. can be controlled fairly easily. So, I went to the drugstore at lunch and picked up my prescription.
It's a serious thing and I'm going to take it serious. It's not a reflection on me or how I live my life, despite what everyone (me included) thinks. It's not something to be embarrassed about. It is what it is. I have high blood pressure. Maybe it's from my genes, maybe it's from something else. But in the meantime, the important thing is that I'm aware of it, so, I control it.
So, let this be a warning to us all... Sure, we may feel like we're healthy because we eat well and exercise, but that doesn't automatically guarantee that everything is perfect. Go to the doctor and get your healthy-ass checked out every year. You might thank me later.*
*You like that? How I want to take credit for saving your life in advance? Yeah, I may be riddled with hypertension and whatnot, but my big head is still fully intact.