Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't blame the patient

Yesterday I went to my oncologist, or actually to my oncologist's nurse practitioner as she is out on maternity leave. My blood pressure was a 'tad' high. She did not like that. Especially since it has been steadily rising for the past six months. She called my new PCP who I haven't even met yet who agreed I should be seen by a doctor. Since I was complaining of headachy/pressure she also mentioned imaging of my head - not something to look forward to.

My new PCP couldn't see me so she sent me to see another doctor in the same group, Dr B. He started by telling me that he 'collects' cases of high blood pressure with underlying causes. He thinks my blood pressure is because I am overweight, eat badly, don't get enough exercise, have too much stress in my life, and eat too much salt. I tried to tell him:

- my weight has been stable for the past year even though I have been trying to lose weight.
- I don't eat badly. In fact I eat lots of fruit and vegetables, don't eat processed food, make most things from scratch, and use skim milk and reduce fat foods.
- I go to the gym 3x a week and go for walks regularly.
- I don't cook with salt.
- I have been trying to reduce stress. The higher stress in my life for the past month due to meds changes and my BP has been going up before then.

He dismissed it all and told me a story about a guy who came to see him and had high blood pressure and basically had been living as a couch potato. He lost 50 lbs, ran two marathons and came back six months later and still had high blood pressure.

There is no high blood pressure in my family at all. In reply, Dr B also told me I might just be genetically predisposed to have high blood pressure.

He then gave me a handout for healthy eating. It actually is not helpful as I have a five page print out of an article - page 1, page 3, page 5, page 3, page 5. So I didn't quite get the healthy diet that he wanted me to have but didn't realize this until I got home.

As a follow up, I am supposed to measure my BP at home every day for six weeks and write it down and switch to his healthy diet. Then I am supposed to meet with a BP specialist to see what my real BP is.

I left very aggravated. He didn't care what the root cause was other than to blame me. I am glad he is not my new PCP. I think he raised my BP just by blaming me. As patients we go to doctors to find out what is wrong with us, not to be blamed. Its not my fault I didn't fit into his 'collection'.

But otherwise, the oncologist nurse practitioner thought I was fine.


ChuckieFrog said...

I agree! Plus they never figure it might be them, like "white coat syndrome." I always have high BP with my regular doc and low BP at the oncologist, low BP at home. bP is just strange and there are no easy answers. I think it is largely a side effect of meds.

Rebecca Bany said...

The "white coat syndrome" happens to my mom. How sad that they didn't even bother to hear what you had to say. Frustrating.

Judie said...

Wow...what a bad experience. My bp goes up a little sometimes...although when I went in to get my tubes tied the nurse remarked on how low it was. I told her it was because I was there and my 18 month old and my 4 month old were not - I was perfectly relaxed!

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