Friday, March 16, 2007

The Clinic

After nearly falling asleep at my desk yesterday afternoon, it occured to me that I'm feeling the way I did before I first started my thyroid medication a year ago. Tired. Cold. Dry skin. Puffy eyes. Realizing this, I called to make an appointment with my doctor.

I was told that he's on vacation for the next 2 weeks, so I can't get in to see him until April 2nd. Great.

Since the appointment is so far away, I thought I'd be proactive and go to the after-hours, walk-in clinic to get a requisition for some blood work ahead of time so that when I have my appointment, my doctor will have received the results and we can go from there.

The walk-in clinic is a busy place. As I mentioned in my first blog post, there is a shortage of doctors in Northern Ontario. A lot of people in this area do not have a family physician, so they rely on the walk-in clinic for all of their issues.

And with cold and flu season in full swing in these parts, it seemed like half of my town was at the clinic last night.

People were lined up out the door and down the hallway just to register at the front desk, so I took my place at the end of the line. There were at least 20 people in front of me .

An hour and a half later, as I finally approached the front of the line with only 2 people ahead of me at this point, I could feel a low sneaking up on me. I wasn't totally sure, so I pulled out my meter to check - 3.6 mmol/L. I scrounged through my purse for a juice box, but realized from the weight of my bag that I didn't have any. I fumbled through one of the side pockets for some sugar packets that I carry as a last resort. Those were gone too, used up earlier this week during another episode. BF wasn't with me, I told him to stay home because I knew it would be a long wait and there was no sense in putting him through it too. Luckily, the clinic is next door to a pharmacy, so I thought I'd wait to register then run over and get an orange juice.

"Please hurry, please hurry..." I thought to myself as the patient at the desk rambled off her long list of various symptoms to the nurse. About 7 minutes later it was finally my turn. I quickly told the nurse why I was there. She told me not to go far because they were preparing to close the clinic from registration since it was so busy. I told her I'd be right back, my blood sugar was low and I needed to get juice. She understood and said no problem, she wouldn't lock the door until I returned. I was back in a couple of minutes and took my place in the waiting room.

Another hour later I finally saw the physician on duty and told him that I'd already made an appointment with my doctor, I just wanted to prepare the blood work ahead of time. He commended me on my proactiveness and asked questions about my symptoms. He agreed that it did sound like my thyroid. I also told him about the headaches I've been having lately, so he suggested checking my blood pressure, just to be sure and rule it out.

I went to the other side of the room where the monitor hung on the wall, sat down on the examination table, dutifully rolled up my left sleeve and held out my arm, familiar with the routine. He wrapped the velcro sleeve around my arm and pumped the bulb of air.

I heard him mutter "160..." and suddenly felt my heart beating hard in my chest. Did I hear him right?

"That's awfully high for you being such a young woman. Let me try the other arm."

He moved the sleeve to my right side. As I felt it squeezing tight on my arm, he said "140 over 90. Yeah, that's pretty high." He wrote it down on a piece of paper and instructed me to bring it to my doctor at my next appointment.

I'm hoping it was a fluke following the stress of the basement flood, etc. I guess all I can do is try to put it out of my mind until my appointment on April 2nd, and try to think of fluffy kittens or something non-stressful until then...


Tiffany said...

Hi there :) I just found your blog via Drea's website; it's great to have another Canadian in the mix! My name is Tiffany and I blog (very occasionally lol) at Candid Diabetes ( and I also run the Insulin Pump Forums ( I am very happy that you decided to jump in and join the Diabetes OC!

Sounds like you've had a rough time of it lately; I hope things get better soon! Your high BP could definitely be related to stress; here's a little trick that is used quite often with white-coat syndrome. Hold your arm up and away from your body at a 60 degree angle and then make a fist and release. Do this a few times and then have the doc/nurse try it again. It's not fool-proof but it tends to help .

Minnesota Nice said...

Lots of people on the OC also take thyroid medication - me included. I always have to remind my dr to order a test for the blood levels.

My BP is always high at the clinic because I don't like doctors!, but, because I realize it is essential have it controlled, I also monitor it at home, when I'm nice and relaxed.

It probably was just a fluke. And, I think they have to have a least three high readings before they will consider treating it.