Ooooo No! I though, what am I doing, what am I thinking, it was time to stop the whole denial trip and get real! With two high blood pressure readings under my belt coupled with the recent heart flutters I needed to get myself checked out thoroughly. Not to put too fine a point on it, there was much more at stake here than my ego!
After waking up the next morning I decided to call the Cute Lady Doc again to see if I could get an earlier appointment. I got as far as the nice lady on reception who basically told me that unless my leg was falling off then I would have to wait until my scheduled appointment. After much pleading and perhaps a little bit of sweet talking I was offered an appointment with another partner in the practice. Better than nothing I thought. No harm in getting a second opinion. The appointment was scheduled for the next morning which I figured I could hold out for. In fairness, by the time I came off the phone I felt almost instantly better.
Next morning I headed out for the Doctors Surgery to get my second opinion and a thoroughly good workup. Writing this I am not sure what I was expecting from this new Doc, perhaps a miracle explanation for my current predicament. What I got however was another high BP reading (156 / 95) and a referral to the cardiac clinic at my local Hospital coupled with an appointment to be fitted with a twenty four hour BP monitor to verify once and for all my blood pressure reading and I guess to discount the fabled “White Coat Syndrome”. By the time I left the surgery I was wishing I had got to see the Cute Doc instead. The prognosis was as follows: Three high blood pressure readings in as many weeks, ongoing heart flutters and a dull ache in the left hand chest region warranted further more detailed investigation. At this point in proceedings the fiddle was well and truly knackered! Or at least that was how it felt. The good Doc did take some time to explain the course of action which would follow should the 24 hour monitor prove once and for all that I had a raised BP. In short I would be labelled as Hypertensive for the rest of my God Given Life and be required to pop at least two or three different varieties of pills each day to keep my BP under control. The though of popping pills like my Mum and Gran had done when I was a child freaked me out completely. There has to be an alternative I thought. But let’s not jump the gun here. There is still the possibility this could all be down to something completely innocent.
In a previous blog I mentioned how the UK Health System was fairly good at being there when you really need it. Well, that is only true when you are really ailing, like for example your leg is hanging off or you cracked your head and knocked yourself out while playing a well known racquet sport. On the other hand, if you are waiting to get an outpatient appointment with any of the major care units you can pretty much expect to wait for months. With that in mind coupled with the way I was feeling about my BP and now possible heart condition there was only once clear way forward for me… Bite the bullet and go private.
Being lucky enough to have my own private health insurance I rang up and got an immediate appointment. In fact, as luck would have it, the consultant cardiologist was running a surgery that very evening. Now there is service for you. Well ok, you pay through the nose for it but at least it is there when really needed.
What happened next? Well wait until tomorrow and I will tell you.