Last Wednesday during a routine work related PPD test and annual evaluation, my blood pressure registered at 240/110. I had 0 symptoms. No light headedness, no blurred vision, no headache, no nosebleeds, nothing. I was ordered to go straight home and call the doctor. I did that and was offered an end of February appointment. To say I was shocked was putting it mildly. I was told that I could go to the Emergency Room at our local hospital. Not the Urgent Care clinic located in the building and operated by the doctors who practice there. I declined both the February appointment and the ER visit. Hung up the phone and spent most of the rest of the day alternately scaring myself (that’s great for the BP, I’m sure) and breathing deeply and rhythmically.
During a conversation with a friend the next day he called his wife’s doctor and spoke with her receptionist. He got me an appointment two and one half hours later. He’s not very big on doctors and has to see them a lot for problems he has. He’s a veteran and uses the VA Hospital locally even though they aren’t able to help him much. His wife also has some serious health issues that placed her near death and facing surgery until they accidentally found this doctor last October. She’s improved enough that there are no longer any midnight trips to the Emergency Room and she no longer has pain. Having a recommendation by someone who doesn’t like doctors to a doctor who practices medicine a lot differently from most was enough for me. After all, I couldn’t get an appointment with my own doctor as quickly, and I needed help.
I’m used to long waits in the exam room and maybe 10 minutes with the doctor. Having orders barked at me, a script issued and a $125 bill to pay. I have no insurance so I have to pay it myself. I was told, this doctor is different, but I’m a hard sell.
I arrived, spent 15 minutes filling out my health history. The receptionist asked a couple of questions, told me the DOCTOR would be with me shortly. I expected a nurse to come collect me and escort me to an exam room where she’d take my BP, ask me a couple of questions and then tell me the doctor would be with me shortly. Imagine my surprise when the doctor came into the waiting room, extended her hand and introduced herself. She then explained she’d need a minute to read my history and she’d be right back to get me. When she came back she lead me to an exam room where she sat down with me and asked me “What would you like me to do for you?”
She sat with me for close to 45 minutes during which she gave me a much more thorough physical exam than I’ve had since I was a teen. She asked me questions and listened to my answers. She even answered my questions. She was quite clear with me that while she believes that given the right tools the body will heal itself, in this case the right tool might be a medication to lower my pressure. I opted for the natural amino acids treatment. In 5 days my BP is down to 145/88. Still high, but heading in the right direction. I was in that office for an hour, most of it actually with the doctor and the size of my bill was…$85.
This is a Doctor of Osteopathy as well as an MD. She is part of a Wellness Clinic where Acupuncture, Reiki, Chiropathy and Mental Counseling are available. In the next building there is a health food store where one purchases whatever supplements she prescribes. Some of these supplements are not available to the general public without a script from a doctor. This is a place where I will be treated, not just my symptoms. Me, the whole person with health issues. Something that no standard medical practitioner ever does. Something that I have felt for years was wrong.
The last thing she said to me as she walked me back to the waiting room was that WE will get my blood pressure down and I will live a healthier life. For someone who is as tough a sell as I am, I believed her.