This was supposed to be a story about my latest trip to the dentist. I had booked off Thursday to get two more wisdom teeth ripped out of my head. And I booked Friday off to spend the day weeping into a pillow. But things didn't really unfold that way.
This story still starts out at the dentist's office. I rolled into the office on Thursday, panicky but resigned to the fact that this was actually going to happen. I slumped into the chair and began my sphincter clenching to deal with the upcoming activities. The prep nurse was just going to check my blood pressure before things REALLY got going.
And that's when this story slid entirely sideways.
The nurse was shocked at my blood pressure level. Shocked. And her shock did nothing to help my blood pressure. The last time I checked my blood pressure was six years ago. It was on the high side but it wasn't shocking. Now it was shocking.
They checked and rechecked. Still high. The oral surgeon sat down and said "Look, you need to take care of this. Don't worry about the teeth. Worry about the blood pressure. Please go to an urgent care clinic immediately".
The looks on their faces were pretty hard to argue with. So I went to a walk-in. Then they took my blood pressure and said "This is too high for us to do anything about, you need to go to the ER at St. Mary's hospital".
Super. I stopped at home to fill Jen in on my day and then off we went to the ER. And we actually got into the system fairly quickly. Weekday afternoons are the time to go to the ER apparently. And the staff I interacted with were exceptional. The orderlies, the nurses, and the ER physician were all great. The doctor didn't waste any time with lectures or horror stories. He assessed my situation, gave some reasonable theories, and prescribed a sound plan of action. It didn't hurt that he looked a little like William H. Macy from the early years of the TV show ER. He was also the only one that didn't look at me skeptically when I said I had no symptoms (headaches, blurred vision).
But even with all the professionalism on display, it still took 5 1/2 hours to get out of there. Getting medical attention through the ER is not a quick process. Sitting and waiting for answers is hard. But it is nowhere near as bad as spending that time listening to the jagholes in the other beds. What a bunch of whiners.
I was given some meds while I was there and it dropped my blood pressure to a more reasonable level. I was monitored to make sure I didn't pass out and then I was on my way. I had a prescription and instructions to come back on Friday for an ultrasound on my leg, which has been swollen for a while, and to get a look at my vitals again.
Friday morning I pick up the fanciest home blood pressure monitor possible and give it a trial run. My BP had gone up again but nowhere near where it was on Thursday. So I was feeling pretty good heading back to St. Mary's. I went right into ultrasound and was done in half an hour. The tech wouldn't tell me anything and just told me to go back to ER and get registered for the results.
So back to ER. And, again, weekday afternoons are awesome for getting into the ER. I was hoping for a quick chat, a review of the ultrasound results, and a go ahead on the prescription I got the day before. But the ER doesn't roll that way. I was put back in the same bed from Thursday, hooked up to the same machine that goes bing, and surrounded by the same whiny little bitches. And I sat there for 3 hours. 3 hours of wondering what the hell was up with my ultrasound results. 3 hours of trying to be calm for the blood pressure monitor. 3 hours of wishing the guy next to me would just shut up!
Eventually it was my turn. Got a revised prescription, an all clear on the ultrasound, and possibly a referral with a specialist to keep me monitored on an ongoing basis. So, yah, the rest is going to be up to me.
The last two days have been a wake up call. A long boring wake up call. I have to make changes. No more booze, no more caffeine, no more salty snacks, and no more playstation as my only form of recreation. And I have to make these changes to make sure I'm around for Peanut and Jen. I'm only at this point because my wisdom tooth broke last June. If I hadn't been with Jen, I may never have gotten it removed and then I wouldn't have been at the oral surgeon to get the rest removed and I would have carried on not knowing what was going on with my blood pressure until something bad happened. When I married Jen I knew I was lucky. Didn't realize how lucky until now.
So that's the story. Hopefully it carries on for a few more chapters.