Friday, August 13, 2004

doctors and high blood pressure

Doctors are like mechanics. You often don't have enough knowledge of your own to decide if one is any good. But I've managed to gather enough evidence on my current doctor to make me decide I need a new one. It's annoying to look for a new doctor though.

My previous doctor retired and I just went to a new one for the first time about a month ago. I tried to describe to him a long-term treatment I have been taking from a previous cubed doctor. I described it to previous and previous squared, and they both either got it immediately or took my word for it (I don't know which). This guy seemed confused.

Actually, he seemed confused about a lot of things. He sort of acted like he had just gotten up from a nap. I wondered if he was on something.

Then, he took my blood pressure and it showed a little high. I asked him if he has a bigger cuff. He looked confused. I said that I've been measured high before by office staff, but then the doctor comes in and gets a larger cuff and measures it again, and I don't have high blood pressure. He brushed it off but didn't say any more about it.

I went back a few weeks later for some test results and he still looked like he'd been sleeping. Measured my blood pressure with the same cuff and told me it's high again. I explained the cuff-size thing again. Wouldn't you think a doctor would at least be curious enough to go on the internet if a patient said something like that? Apparently, he hadn't bothered. I was a bit more insistent this time. I told him that this has happened to me five or six times, with at least two different doctors. My blood pressure measures lower with a bigger cuff.

He brushed me off again. He told me that cuff size doesn't matter. He told me that I need to cut down on salt and get more exercise. He hadn't bothered to ask me how much salt I eat or how much exercise I get. I swim 1000 yards or more about five days a week.

Then I looked it up on the internet and found out that my arm is over two inches larger than the largest size for a regular cuff. I mentioned it to a woman who is a former nurse and she said she could just look at me and know that I needed a large cuff. And this doctor had never heard of such a thing. So I need a new doctor.

I wonder how many people are going to be taking blood pressure medication and have other treatments over the career of this doctor because he is too arrogant to listen to patients.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that only logicians and computer scientists are likely to get the "previous squared" stuff. This is a common notation and pun in logic, computer science, and fields of math that deal with objects other than numbers: I have my previous doctor, and my previous previous doctor. "previous previous" looks like "previous multiplied by previous" or "previous squared".

Hmm. I think I should write a post on non-numeric algebras.

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