Thursday, 11 May 2017

Medical tensions

Before I went to St John's to celebrate the mid-week Eucharist this morning, I had a GP appointment as part of reviewing my blood pressure medication. It's a bit difficult really, as our local practice is very busy, so over the course of a month I have seen all three of the practice doctors, all of whom approach the issue from their own angle. Recently I've been trialling a supplementary medication, with a view to observing negative side effects. After discussion with Clare, I concluded the new medication made me feel more physically stiff and tired, with little impact on the symptom it was meant to correct. I ran out of the supplement last weekend. Since then, I've had more energy, felt years younger and regained the spring in my step.

I'm instinctively critical about insisting on tackling perceived symptoms with new drugs rather than first considering systematically what the underlying cause might be. Hypertension accompanies ageing. Both my mother and her mother had chronic hypertension, couple with poor diet. Both of them died younger than I am now. I may have genetically inherited a vulnerability, but this needs testing. I feel somewhat guilty for taking up unnecessary doctor time when the NHS is under such strain, as I am well, healthy and active, for the most part. But, I feel that doctors unintentionally project their anxiety on to me about the risk of a stroke or heart attack, on the basis of statistical presumptions, and don't look at the whole life picture.

Anyway, I had a good conversation with one of the GP team today, who has registered my concern and ordered blood tests, yet to be completed, as the practice nurse failed to get blood out of me on my last visit. Having completed a month of blood pressure monitoring, I delivered a chart of readings to the surgery for evaluation last Friday, but it wasn't to be found, having ended up in someone else's in-tray. Thinking it was lost, I made a copy and took it to the surgery, but was told it wasn't required, as the location of the unavailable chart was known. So I tucked it into my pocket and forgot about it. This was of no help when discussing monitoring results without evidence to consider today. At the end of the St John's service, I found the chart tucked in with my specs, and walked home via the surgery to drop it off with a note for the GP I'd seen, giving my mobile phone number, since I was out of the house the rest of the afternoon.

After lunch, I drove Ashley to Chepstow again to visit the CBS radio suppliers. There was a sudden heavy downpour as we sped along the A48, and my mobile started ringing. I grabbed it and handed it to Ashley to answer. It was the GP I'd spoken to earlier. He apologised for my current indisposition, and was given a message to relay to me, to say all was in order, and that she'd ring me tomorrow to discuss! We laughed, as old men do, when confronted with ailments to contend with while striving to continue business as usual. As long as the spirit is willing, there need to be workarounds for the weaknesses of the flesh.

After supper on return from Chepstow, I had a funeral service to prepare for tomorrow and a sermon to write. No time to languish in front of the telly.

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