It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy (yes, I did just quote Lit) and this week an appointment with my allergist made it all crystal clear.
You go in for an alleged alcohol allergy, prepared for 30-some needle pin pricks and possibly an ugly surprise that you’re allergic to the skin on apples. However, I left without my allergy test and with a prescription for a litany of blood tests for my extremely high, concerning blood pressure.
25 is too young for high blood pressure, you say? Yes! IT IS. To be fair I know very little about blood pressure, except I’m glad I have it generally; that means I’m alive, right?
How do you go about finding a good doctor in a new city? I was overwhelmed by the task and because of that have been using an urgent care called City MD. City MD happens to be *awesome*. I’m not joking. I know those places are typically where the sick go to die; the staff is terrible, the waits are long, and you may very well catch something you didn’t have before you got there. But, the City MD on 57th Street is stellar. I can’t give it enough compliments. The doctors are competent (and good looking!), the location is clean, and I’ve never waited for more than 5 minutes.
Since you can’t replace an internist with urgent care, I decided I needed another way to find a good doctor. Most of my friends are treated in NJ or CT where they are from, but I can’t rationalize trekking home to Baltimore forever for medical attention. A coworker recommended ZocDoc. ZocDoc is an online service to locate, review and rate doctors. You can also make appointments online. SWEET! This is right up my alley. How have I not heard of you sooner, ZocDoc? Enthusiasically, I tweeted my lust for ZocDoc and recieved an e-mail about ZocDoc stars – at least I think that is what it is called. Similar to Yelp Captains (okay, I’m completely failing on nouns right now, but I’ve been at an Advancement conference all day and am on my second glass of red wine) you get some perks for being an ambassador for the company. Once I learn more about it, I’ll elaborate on my adventures. Another goal for the life list: make it to the point where I can blog about people, shops, products, and companies and never have to pay for a thing again. (Pst- if you think I do this well, you should probably give me some Klout. No really… do it!)
Well, on my doctor hunt, I screened based on the obvious criteria: close (read: lazy), cute (I would settle for not creepy), and cheap (within network). Dr. Feigenbaum‘s education and reviews factored into my decision making too… So, I found my guy and set out to try and solve the great alcohol allergy mystery 2012.
Dripping and shivering from the unexpected snowstorm happening, I was informed there are no tests for alcohol allergies. Well… hmph. These welts I’m getting *are* a problem. If my primary health care physician can’t help, Dr. Feigenbaum must! I won’t leave his office until he at least looks at the photos…
So, these circular welts have got to go. I decide a consultation is worth the copay, even if we don’t come to a conclusion.
Dr. Feigenbaum rocks. Really, rocks. He is thorough, laughs at my awful jokes and treats me like a moderately intelligent person, not just a menial patient. He is impressed by my piercings, and calls me a do-gooder for wanting to study ethics. I won’t hold this against him. When we get to the basics, he takes my vitals to make sure I’m A-OKAY to take the test. He pauses. Right arm blood pressure is high. I ask how high? He looks concerned. Crap. He takes my pressure at least 3 more times on the right arm and one on the left. We go through more questions; what is my family history, has my doctor been concerned in the past, has anyone in my family died from a stroke? STROKE?! I’m 25… you don’t tell a girl with anxiety problems her blood pressure is concerning and ask about strokes. Do you want me to conk out right here?
So, quick… I make a joke. What, do you think you’re in middle school? Are you worried someone is going to steal your protractor (chair)?
The joke doesn’t really ease my tension. Dr. Feigenbaum is full-on refusing to do my allergy test in case I have a bad reaction and my blood pressure is already this high (understandably) and urging me to make an appointment with a primary care doc before the end of the week.
It’s too bad, he said, everything is all set up. I encouraged him to go for it, maybe it is white coat syndrome (Dr. Feigenbaum was in a navy sweater)… I sit nervously while he leaves the room to “let me meditate” and hopefully the BP will go down.
Here is my view. I attempt to meditate on the fact this will be fodder for my blog – brilliant. I whip out my iPhone. The story may be good… but the illustrations are mediocre at best. Dr. F (we’re on initial basis at this point) returns, takes my BP – shakes his head. He is no longer amused by my profanity and I suspect he saw me photographing his white-out labeled chair. I appreciate the fact he is legitimately concerned for my well-being, but would prefer he give me the allergy test and let me live in my own blissfully ignorant reality.
Dr. F sends me home, with a script for a bunch of tests and a joke (it wasn’t, but it should have been) to see if I wanted to test out not drinking until I see him next: first week in December. This man clearly doesn’t know about our Thanksgiving family tradition to drink champagne until the first person has to take a nap on the floor.
So, the saga continues… Dr. F’s primary health care physician, whom he referred me to, is out until December. He helped me find a Nephrologist (kidney doc) – really, at least my vocabulary is expanding because of this. And I saw him on Friday. All in all I get the goody prize of BP medicine, a BP monitor (not covered by my insurance), the luxury of feeling like an 85 year old, and a kidney ultrasound. Dr. B, my Nephrologist, doesn’t think this really is my fault (no more quoting Lit). He believes I could be in better shape… no duh… but we need to determine the cause of this; heredity, hormonal probem, thyroid? So, stay tuned. My life is basically mystery diagnosis: mysterious alcohol induced welts and mysterious, dangerously high blood pressure. Can you solve this for me? I’d like to go back to being a New Yorker not on anti-anxiety meds.