For a few weeks, recently, my mother was worried about me. Okay, she’s always worried about me, but more worried than usual, because my blood pressure was high. My blood pressure has been relatively high since December, but my primary care doctor wasn’t especially worried, so I ignored it. But then I went to the gastroenterologist, to finally see about my first colonoscopy, he said I’d need an okay from the cardiologist before he could move forward; so I went to the front desk and made an appointment with a cardiologist in the same office, where the wait is approximately an hour and a half and the doctor generally ignores whatever I say.
But while I was waiting for that appointment to arrive, my blood pressure (measured on a home blood pressure monitor), kept going up and up, especially the bottom number. And Mom said I couldn’t wait for my scheduled appointment and instead made me an appointment with her own cardiologist, for the next morning.
I got up early and grumbled as she drove me to the doctor’s office, and then I grumbled through the tech taking my blood pressure four times, twice on each arm, and then through an especially thorough EKG, and then there was an Echocardiogram in another room and blood tests in a lab down the hall. I was exhausted from the whole ordeal, but I had to go to work afterwards, so I grumbled as much as I could at home and then switched into teacher mode on the drive to the synagogue and tried not to grumble for the rest of the day.
The next day, after tests showed I didn’t have a blood clot or heart damage, the cardiologist prescribed a diuretic and told me to call my gynecologist to see if she could change or just stop my birth control pills (prescribed for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and painful periods), because they could be raising my blood pressure and adding to the risk of blood clots.
I started the diuretic the next day, and stopped taking the daily birth control pills, and after a week, my blood pressure was back to normal, but I was dizzier than usual, and in more pain and still dealing with all of the other long term issues no one has been able to explain (headaches and dizziness and exhaustion and muscle pain and intermittent walking problems and nausea and belly pain).
Then I had to go for more blood tests and an echo stress test (which is a beast of a combination, with a treadmill and a thousand wires and a torture device rammed into my rib cage at random intervals), and I was told that my Normetanephrine and Aldosterone numbers were off kilter, both related to the adrenal glands in some way, and a possible cause for the high blood pressure, and I’d need to see an Endocrinologist and a Nephrologist for further testing. No, wait, not an Endocrinologist but a Gastroenterologist, but not the Gastroenterologist doing the colonoscopy…oy. So I had to put off the colonoscopy, which means I’ll have to go for an extra consult closer to the colonoscopy or else the insurance won’t cover it, and then there’s the new Gastroenterologist, who is hopefully the right doctor and not a miscommunication, and then I may still have to go to a Nephrologist, and who knows how many tests and appointments will come from all of that, or if I even have an issue with my adrenal glands, or if it’s at all related to the rest of my symptoms or yet another tangent.
And, yes, I know I have to do all of it, of course. But I’m so tired, and I’m in more pain than I was before, and I still have to teach, and the weather is getting warmer, which makes everything worse, and… I clearly have a whole lot more grumping to do before this is over.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.
Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?