Stress, health, and other concerns

I’ve spent more time at the doctor’s office in the past month than I have in the past two years. Nothing terribly serious, but it’s not been a particularly fun month. I went in a few weeks ago to get my birth control prescription renewed. I’ve never had any problems with it in the past and figured it would be a 15 minute maximum visit, as per normal. It was my first time seeing this doctor so I had to go through the whole new patient process which involved filling out a lot of forms and answering a thousand questions for the hundredth time. Annoying, but expected. Anyway, as is normal procedure with birth control pills, the doctor took my blood pressure and was concerned that it was a little high. Not high enough to stop the medication, just high enough to make me come back every week to get it checked again.

She, as well as her medical student and the four nurses who I’ve now spent time with, have all mentioned that it’s quite common for people’s blood pressure to spike a) in the doctor’s office in general, and b) when repeated tests/visits are ordered. It’s been proven twice now that if my blood pressure is taken 3 times with 5 minutes in between each, it goes down steadily and reaches a perfectly normal reading by the end of the process. Now this sounds like good news, right? Right. My blood pressure at the mid-point of my visit today, on my 5th reading, was 113/76 which is fan-freaking-tastic. I have anxiety. Doctors stress me out. Anxiety and stress cause spikes in blood pressure. So then, it seems perfectly logical that it would be higher when I first get there and first get examined by a doctor who I find to be the opposite of calming and lower when I’ve been sitting alone in a room relaxing for a few minutes.

However, apparently this eventually normal reading was not satisfactory enough for my doctor. No, no, no, I’ve been ordered to do a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring at some point over the next two months. I was told to call and make an appointment “whenever was convenient for me”, but when is it really convenient to wear a blood pressure cuff for 24 hours straight? Never, that’s when. So I figured I might as well just do it and get it over with so I’ve booked their earliest appointment which is in a couple weeks and I guess I’ll just plan on being a hermit that weekend so that my arm can be squeezed incessantly in peace. I’ll be in the middle of my teaching placement so I’ll likely be spending the weekend planning lessons, so hopefully it won’t be too disruptive. Oh well, I guess we’ll see. I don’t really see the point in this whole process seeing as it’s more or less been established that I just get nervous around this doctor and my body reacts accordingly. Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but it seems like a waste of time and money to me.

On a semi-related note, I’ve been getting into a nice little exercise routine of walking home from school (approximately an hour walk) twice a week, doing yoga once a week, and at least one other workout each week as well as my meditation practice. I’ve also been doing very well with making (healthy) food at home and bringing breakfast/lunch/snacks with me to school/work rather than wasting precious money and calories on junk. Overall, it has made me feel better both mentally and physically, and I’m hoping that if I’m consistent, it will help keep me slim and my wallet fat!

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