Thursday, October 07, 2004

My name is Witho...

... and I have a phobia.


You see, I don't have good genes, I don't come from good stock. Regular readers will know what I'm talking about. Suffice it to say, I worry about my health. I worry that one day someone's going to "find me out", someone's going to tell me that I'm really very ill indeed. Each time I visit the doctor, the anxiety attacks become more severe. They start in the waiting room. I try the deep breathing, I try to think about nice things: clouds, rainbows, herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, that kind of thing. But I know I'm just not in control - my body is taking over, the shaking, the pulse racing, the reverberations of my pumping heart which can be felt throughout my body.

The light comes on next to my doctor's name plate, I struggle to hang my numbered disc on the hook next to his name because I'm shaking so hard. I make my way to the consultation room, just trying to remember what calm is like because I'm so far away from there right now. The doctor is friendly and smiling:

"So, Witho, what can I do for you today?"

"I've run out of pills, I need a prescription"

"Okay, I'll just take your blood pressure"

"It's going to be high"


"I'm phobic about doctors, I'm feeling very nervous right now, I'm guessing that this would affect my blood pressure"

"Yes, it would"

*takes blood pressure*
*it's very high*

"Hmm, yes that is very high"

"Yes, I told you. I'm not normally like this, it's because I'm in a doctor's surgery"

*doctor checks for various other signs of high blood pressure*
*none found*

"The thing is, the pill is contra-indicated for people with high blood pressure"

"Yes, I know that"

"I need to know that your blood pressure is only high in this situation, and not all the time"


You see, here's where the problem lies. The only time I get my blood pressure taken is when I'm at a doctor's surgery, and when I'm at a doctor's surgery, I have an anxiety attack. Up until now, the reading has been within an acceptable margin and the doctor has "let it pass", but today, it went up a notch too far.

I don't blame the doctor, he's just doing his job. But I know that the "me" at the Doctor's surgery is not "me" at all. So how do I find out what my "normal" blood pressure is?

He has suggested an "ambulatory blood pressure pack" which you wear all day and it takes readings at random intervals. But it's not as if I wouldn't know when it was happening (Oh, there seems to be some kind of contraption inflating around my arm; hmmm, I wonder what that could be... *skips off, contentedly*) and I'm guessing I would go into panic mode in the usual way, with predictable results.

In some ways, I'd just rather not know if there was something really wrong. Let nature take its course - it'll have you in the end, anyway, as I know only too well...

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