I don’t like going to the doctor. The last time I went (2009), the doctor didn’t ask me why I was there, he didn’t take a medical history, he barely asked my name. The moment I walked in the door, he weighed me, he lectured me about losing weight, ignoring any contributions I made and suggested various pharmaceuticals he could put me on to help me lose weight, WITHOUT ME ASKING.
In other words, the conversation went along the lines of:
Connor: Hello, Doctor. It’s nice to see you.
Doctor: Fat! Fat! Fat fat fat!
Connor: I’ve actually come to see you about…
Doctor: Fat! Fatty fat fatootie fat fat!
Connor: I actually do know that eating a lot makes you gain weight.
Connor: I have lost weight before.
Doctor: Fatty fat fat! Fatty fat fat!
Connor: What I’m really here about is…
Doctor: Fat! Fat fat! Fatabilly-oh!
Connor: Oh, ok. Bye!
Today wasn’t quite as bad as that. The doctor listened to my various concerns and proceeded to be generally unhelpful.
First, he ignored my questions about my digestive problems. Completely.
He took a bit more action as regards my joints. He poked at my shoulder for a minute, muttered something about “big joints” and booked me in for a blood test to see if I had gout or arthritis.
Then came the shocker. He took my blood pressure. He slid the cuff thing on my arm. I know how this goes. It’s the same every time.
The cuff didn’t close properly because of my massively obese arms. He got me to hold it closed with my other hand and it started inflating. And wouldn’t stop inflating. Because the cuff wouldn’t fit. Every time a doctor takes my blood pressure this happens. And every time they try again. Once again, the cuff wouldn’t stop inflating and burst open. And this brought on the Great Aunt moment.
I imagine most families keep a bottle of sherry. No one ever drinks from it. Except once a year, at Christmas, when Great Aunt Such-and-Such calls round. There’s a big fuss, as no one can remember where the sherry is kept. But eventually, a dusty bottle is discovered, a glass is poured and the bottle is put away for another year.
It’s much the same with the fat-person-blood-pressure-thingamibob. One doctor asks another. Who asks a receptionist. Who finds it packed in with the office Christmas decorations. It clinks because it has many parts because it is old. It is covered in dust. It doesn’t pump automatically. The doctor must pump it by hand and use his stethoscope. It’s very 1974.
Now, I’ve had good and bad blood pressure readings before. But I never had a reaction like this.
The doctor drew in his breath and said that my reading was very high. And that even at my age I could get a heart attack or stroke at any moment. He told me that this is something I need to take seriously. And that I wasn’t to eat salt. And that was it. He didn’t make another appointment. Or arrange for or give me any other tests. Or offer any more advice.
I just know that I could have a heart attack at any moment, but I shouldn’t eat salt.
When I go to the nurse for my arthritis test in the morning, I’ll have a few questions.
In the meantime, it’s all the more motivation for Project Connor.
I read a depressing statistic yesterday: after a heart attack, only one in seven patients make enduring changes in eating or exercise. I hope I’m the one and not the six, not that I’ve had a heart attack, but you know what I mean.
After my visit to the doctor, I met a good friend from whom I extracted a hug.
We went to the cinema together and saw a film that couldn’t distract me from the doctor’s visit. It was a very good film. But a very slow film. It was the kind of film that invited brooding and reflection. I brooded and I reflected.
Hopefully, I’ll wake up full of verve and bounce. I’ll be joyous and vigorous. But I’m going to bed miffed.
There is another part to this story that I’m not telling here. It involves a procedure to my down-belowsies, which is distressing, cringeful and comic. But this blog isn’t about my down-belowsies, so I’ll leave it at that, unless it becomes an issue at another stage. Until then, good night.