Self-diagnosing–Part 2

Ok, if you’ve already read “Part 1″ then you are caught up to date on self diagnosing things.

This is more of a personal medical story. For those who don’t know, about 7 years ago I had Lymes disease.  I had no idea I had it but thought I had gotten a really bad case of the flu–over July 4th weekend!  I literally was so sick I should’ve been in the hospital but being a RN I just stayed in bed and dealt with it. I finally dragged myself out of bed to shower and found “the bullseye” rash, diagnosis confirmed by an MD several days later (good thing we had a digital camera and documented the proof).  We did the whole antibiotic route, orally  twice and then IV for a month and I was finally without the headache that was my major complaint for 5 months.

We live in the country part of NY where ticks are everywhere (don’t think they aren’t in towns and cities though) so doing a “tick check” has become a way of life. I’ve had Lymes again twice, which is hard to diagnose since once you have a positive blood test it will always be somewhat positive, but we treated based on symptoms and history.

Recently I was feeling like crap; worn down, tired, achy and… I had a major headache! The headache is my “warning alarm” that something is amiss because I exercise and work nights so achy and tired are somewhat normal for me.  I finally convinced myself it was Lymes again (despite not having a known tick bite) and went to my doctor. He has ‘walk in’ appointments so there is usually a wait unless it is an emergency.  Despite the anticipated wait I love this guy; he is actually a PA and takes time to listen to what you are not saying as well as what you are ‘complaining’ about. Unfortunately the wait time was going to be more than I had so I made an appointment for the next morning after I worked the night shift.

I got in after a short wait (and a reminder to the staff of my appointment). I was tired, irritable and just wanted to get my labwork done and antibiotics prescribed. However…..self diagnosis was not what happened. My PA sat me down and talked. He took my BP (blood pressure) like normal and it was high–very high at 180/ 100. We chatted about things and he took it again–still high.  His diagnosis:  Hypertension.   Headaches can be a symptom but often there may be none.

He sent me home with a prescription which I filled. I took one and went to bed and…it was normal when I got up.  I sent him a message since I was still unconvinced that I had high blood pressure  that one pill could do the trick.  He allowed me to monitor it for a few days and like he anticipated it did creep back up to a lower, but still elevated, number. I still had a headache and bloodwork was normal for Lymes. I took the med and well, now I feel a lot better.

I guess the long and short of the story is that even though “you might know your own body” you can’t always be the one to judge what is wrong. Sometimes we are too close to our accepted ideas of what is the matter to look beyond that “box” for alternate solutions.  From now on I will leave the diagnosing to the medical professionals and just be aware that something is not quite in sync and be open to listen.

 

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