Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I Should Know Better...
Every year, like clockwork, I breathe a sigh of relief on the day I go for my annual physical, because IT IS DONE. And every year, as I walk out of the doctor's office, a little voice laughs in my ear and says, "SUCKER!" Today was no different than any other.
My first appointment of the day was at the dentist office. Thankfully, and because of my OCD when it comes to my teeth, it only took the hygienist 30 minutes to do the cleaning AND I don't have to go back for another 6 or so months. A welcome outcome for someone as dental-phobic as I am. I really didn't expect any other news from my dentist and continue to hope that my 'not needing any further dental work' streak stays alive for a long, long time to come.
After getting home from the dentist's and a quick shower, I was off to the confrontation with my PCP. I had very little hope that the appointment would go well, but, as it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. I don't ever think I will consider this doctor a friend, or someone that I like very well, but today she was actually okay. And we really didn't have too much to disagree about.
I was surprised that the doctor spent somewhere around an hour with me today. I wasn't overly thrilled to find out that she will not be doing any pap smears (and maybe pelvic exams) on me any longer. She follows the guidelines that some association/group puts out and because I had a complete hysterectomy and have never had any abnormal pap smears, I (supposedly) don't need gynecological screenings any longer. While I don't enjoy pelvic exams, having one and finding that there is no problem always made me feel a bit more secure about my health. I guess this is part of getting older.
The doctor and I did go round and round about my staying on estrogen. She is adamant about me not needing HRT for any reason whatsoever and rather poo-pooed any of my concerns over going off. She insists that the risks outweigh any (imagined) benefit I might be getting from the drugs. Of course, I really couldn't come back at her with any facts, as I hadn't done research recently, so I just looked like a petulant child who wanted to eat a cookie instead of green beans. She very, very reluctantly agreed to write my prescription--but she HAD to be a bit snarky about 'if you come in with a stroke/heart attack/blood clot, etc, don't blame me because I told you the risks.' The same kind of treatment I got when I went in for my shingles vaccine. Obviously, the woman was sick the day that compassion and bedside manners were taught in medical school. After this, we moved on and had a pleasant time for the rest of the appointment.
First of all, she took me off of the statin I was on. YAY! Basically, I have been on it to help counter the possibility of any problems with the build up in my carotid artery. She said this drug could possibly be a part of my memory problem and as such, she thinks I'd be better off not taking it. She really isn't convinced that this medication would actually benefit me in any practical way and with my cholesterol NEVER being a problem, she thinks it is perfectly safe for me to discontinue it.
With my recent weight loss, my blood pressure has been on the low side of normal, so she halved my daily dosage. She feels as if I will be able to go off of BP meds if I continue to do as well as I have been. Also, I may be going off of my Prilosec sooner, rather than later--another bonus of losing weight.
All of my blood work came back as 'excellent' except for my thyroid levels. My numbers are quite low, indicating a hyperthyroidism--and I am being treated for hyPOthyroidism. This would indicate that I am being over medicated, but the doctor wants to wait and do some follow up blood tests before we tweak my meds--something I am thankful for. (I'd rather wait and be sure than mess things up even more if it isn't necessary.) She also had another blood draw done to check my B12 levels, as a low B12 count could also be part of my memory and brain fog problems. Just another thing to wait for.
Even though my exam showed no other problems, this appointment just lead to MORE appointments. Of course, I need to have my mammograms done and she is having an ultrasound done on my carotid artery to make sure there has been no negative change. But the biggest thing to come out of today is the testing that I will be going for because of my memory/brain fog issues. I am being sent to a neuropsychiatrist to undergo a battery of tests to make sure I am not in the early stages of dementia. This is to be a baseline with which we can compare future tests should there be a worsening problem. I was going to say no at first, but figured I may as well get it over with while we still have insurance that will cover the cost. The biggest problem with this entire ordeal is that it WILL be an ordeal. We only have one neuropsychiatrist here in town, so it will take a considerable amount of time before I can get an appointment. The testing itself takes several hours and I'm not sure how many days. After the testing, it takes some time for the results to be interpreted. All in all, I wonder if I will know anything until next year. ;)
The biggest thing I took from my appointment today is that I guess I CAN work this doctor after all. She looked at me quite a bit differently because of all the work I have done to get fit. She was encouraging and very congratulatory. It made me feel good.
I will need to have my thyroid levels checked again in six weeks and then have a follow up visit with the PA in four months. I would assume I will be seen four months after that and then we are back to next year and my next physical. And the world keeps turning...