Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the stirrups I go...

Another year, another visit to Dr. Ob-gyn for my annual checkup/Pap this past Monday. Dr. Ob-gyn & I are well acquainted... after my failed pregnancy, he shepherded us through the initial stages of infertility testing and referred us to an RE. I continued to see him for my annual Pap, which turned into colposcopies every few months when one Pap came back showing abnormal cells. He calmed my fears, emphasized that it was NOT cancer, just some cellular changes that we'd keep an eye on, & they'd likely reverse themselves... which they eventually did, thank God.

Anyway, although I like & respect Dr. Ob-gyn hugely & appreciate what he did for us (he has a very calming manner about him -- I guess 30+ years in the business will do that), it's never easy going back to see him, for obvious reasons. On the bright side, he has moved from the office I visited him in during my pregnancy, so I don't have to return to the exact scene of the crime anymore, so to speak.

On the other hand -- he is now on a floor of the hospital that is entirely devoted to maternal-fetal medicine. I have to walk down two very LOOONNNGGGG corridors to get to his office area, which are lined wall-to-wall with pregnant women & babies. In his own waiting area were several pregnant women, a woman with a toddler & a two-month old baby (whom the nurses were cooing over), an old lady who looked to be in her 70s... and me, lol.

Every year for the last several years, Dr. Ob-gyn's nurse would take my blood pressure, frown at me & say, "Your blood pressure is high. Do you have high blood pressure?" "No." (And hey, no offense, but some of the happiest times of my life have NOT been spent in this office -- do you think that might have something to do with it??) "Well, you'd better follow up with your family doctor." I'd go to my family dr -- 120/80. And that would be that until the next year, when the scenario would play itself out again.

Last year, however, when I followed up with my family dr, I got 140/90, which is borderline hypertensive. Hmmm. High blood pressure is something I never thought applied to me, but I do have to be aware of, since my mother takes medication for it, and my paternal grandmother had it -- died suddenly of stroke when she was only 68.

Well, suddenly I was very much aware. Family Dr said he didn't want to put me on medication just yet. I said I didn't WANT to be on medication. I promised him I would try to cut down on sodium, exercise more and lose some weight, & have been mildly successful in both cases -- lost 10 lbs since last year through both diet & walking (although I could stand to lose at least 25 more) -- & have cut way back on the salt shaker & tried to make better choices re: sodium content (although have you ever read food labels or restaurant nutrition guides for sodium content?? YIKES. It's tough!! SCARY stuff.). And I've been back every month or two to check with him again. It's been up & down & back up again. I tried using one of those drugstore machines between visits, but the way it clamps onto my arm scares the crap out of me. The reading I usually get from it also scares the crap out of me ; ) but I chalked up the one to the other. I tend to do much better at the family dr's office!

Anyway, having run the gauntlet through the halls & sat in the waiting room with all the pregnant women & babies, I then had to endure Dr. Ob-gyn's nurse asking me how many kids I had. (Hello, I've been coming here for 10 years -- and she's been there that long, if not longer -- & shouldn't this stuff be in my file anyway?) "None living, one stillbirth," I said. No reaction.

I held out my arm for the cuff & braced myself for the inevitable lecture. "Good," she said. "Good? What was it?" I asked. "120/70." I nearly fell off the bed. Go figure?? I don't think it's been that low ever. Here's hoping it continues...

Although I will have to wait on the Pap results, the rest of the checkup was normal. He said the few episodes of spotting I have had lately are probably due to fluctuating perimenopausal hormones, & the way I've described them, he's not concerned.

Yay me. Over & done with for another year.


  1. Crap, I need to make mine. I guess this serves as motivation. I have stress-related mild hypertension; most of my life I have hovered somewhere just north of death, but in '00 it spiked way up (bad job, move, lotsa stress), and then I developed "white coat syndrome" (every time a professional took my blood pressure I'd freak that it would be high, and lo, it was). so: a nice nurse at my ob's office taught me how to use the real deal -- a cuff with a stethescope, so I could monitor it at home, and I was fine. They're actually v. easy to use, and v. cheap, and great at parties when you can whip it out and take everyones. You can buy them at or someplace, and next time you find yourself in an office, just ask someone to give you a crash course.

    Again, good for you, I need to head back. sigh.

  2. Does your doc put the pictures on the ceiling above the exam table?

    I find that so obnoxious. I use to see a doctor when I was first married that had specific days for ob and gyn patients and never the twain shall meet . . .

    I guess that was kind of nice sometimes - but kind of a pain too when I had a bit of an emergancy and the lady on the phone was being a dope about scheduling me. I had an appt I had waiting like 7 weeks for and then because I ended up with a different issue - she said I couldn't come in on that day and would have to wait for 2 months for an opening! This was after 5.5 hours in agony in the ER for a ruptured cyst. I spoke to the nurse and she said to come in anyway.

    Glad to hear you are hale and hearty at least for another year . . .


  3. Please take care of your health - the last thing you need to worry about it having a bloody stroke in your so called golden years.

    Every time I see my ob/gyn, I feel have to look for a non-child related magazine. :) Doesn't it seem like now we're past the child bearing years, we're trying to get through the staying healthy years?

  4. I haven't been back to my ob-gyn since my baby died over two years ago. I figure with all the surgeries and treatments I've had since then, my RE and everyone else at my clinic has seen everything SO many times since then... but I know it's not the same and I probably need a pap and all that. I just dread it. one of the last times I was there I got the worst news of my life. (ironically it's where I got the best news of my life too). but it's all pregnant women and newborns, with the occasional teenager seeking birth control, and pix of happy babies all over the wall. my doc used to be so hopeful for us -- I think if she said anything kind I'd just break down and bawl... so I just haven't been able to bear it. I used to love my doc, but I might have to find a new one, which rots. ~luna

  5. You're about six weeks ahead of me...but for similar reasons I changed doctors two years ago. It was just to upsetting to go back to the ob-gyn that was treating me while I was TTC (and she had a thriving pregnant clientele!) Ugh.

    I now get my check up down by a young woman internist who has a practice mostly made up of middle to old aged types complaining of bad backs, ear wax and you get the picture.

    Hope all goes well with the BP check! think calm thoughts... ;-)

  6. Good news about the bp, and all your efforts to lower it through lifestyle. That takes commitment.

    Hope everything on the pap comes back a-okay.

    I hate the waiting room at my obgyn's. Not only is it filled with bedraggled, obese pregnant women screaming at their dirty, oblivious children, but they have both the TV and Muzak blasting. Everything that makes me batty, in one convenient location.

  7. My appointment was less than a month ago. I hated being there. I am thinking of switching to my family doc or a gyn only practice for yearlies. (I never formed an attachmnet to this OB/GYN anyway. She sent me straight to the RE and I've never had need of her OB-ish-ness since. Boo Hiss).

    I have the borderline BP worry as well. Good for you for getting it down without meds!

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  9. Hi Loribeth - Good job on getting that blood pressure down! That is excellent news.

    Thanks for reminding me that I need a Pap smear - another thing to look forward to! I will absolutely NOT be going to an OB-GYN - I will have to look for a straight GYN. Unfortunately, my last gyn was also an RE, and that was four REs ago...

    Plus, every magazine in that place has to do with pregnancy and parenting babies. Just what I need.

  10. Well that's good news that it's normal this time around. And congrats to you for losing 10 pounds this last year. I can't seem to shake this last baby 10 on me. Got any tips?

    Oh, and I am sorry you still have to deal with the pregos. I assume that feeling of stress when seeing a prego never goes away.

  11. good news on the bp front!!
    my re has done my paps for the last 2 years -- particularly since my new gp doesn't like doing them (??!!). i dread having to go back to an OB for them for all the reasons you laid out. Sorry the receptionist was such an OAF -- I commend your bluntness with her!!


  12. "None living, one stillbirth," I said. No reaction. ARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH Not even a 'I'm sorry'

  13. Thanks, everyone. I used to have my family dr do my Paps -- but his wife is now his nurse & I think he feels awkward doing them around her!! Plus I figure the ob-gyn has done more of them & would know better if something is amiss (as with the abnormal Pap I had several years back). The price we pay...!

    Deathstar & Alacrity, I always bring my own reading material!

  14. Good news on the bp, Loribeth - and surviving the annual GYN trip. I have mine coming up as well. Never a fun experience to deal with all the preggos, but I found that it gets a tad easier year by year (a tad).

    And thanks for the tip about Google Reader. I had no idea such a thing existed, and it has already saved me a ton of time.

  15. I think there should be gynecologists and obstetricians. The gynecologists can refer you to the obstetricians if you are pregnant. Therefore, those of us without children and/or have painful historys TTC don't have to run into those who are expecting.

  16. Yeah, at my five week post partum checkup the nurse asked about kids... HELLOOO!

    I don't know how it is in your state, but in MO a lot of the regular docs do "well women" exams. If you have an abnormal pap you could then go to a specialist. Also, many gynos here don't catch babies, so I guess they would have less preggos in the office.

    I can't believe the nurse didn't say "sorry". what a chump.

    I am glad you go for your annuals tho and take good care of yourself!