As some of you may know, I am an experienced medical reporter, a skill I hope to someday incorporate into a series of medical thrillers. Anyway, I know just enough to do brain surgery in my garage on weekends as a courtesy to my friends (just kidding...) but not enough to take decent care of myself.
Last week, I had a health scare that sent me to the hospital. They put me on a medication without explaining much of anything to me other than my blood pressure was high and the med would bring it down. Well, instead the med brought me down. I had a rare but serious reaction that made it difficult to breathe. But the problem is, once you start this particular med you can't just stop it because it might trigger a heart attack, a little fact NOBODY bothered to explain to me when they gave me the pills. So now I have to wean myself off, and keep feeling like crap for about another week until I can get this stuff out of my system.
That's why I haven't been around too much for the past week. Anyway, if there's a lesson to be learned from all this, it's to ask lots of questions and not just blindly accept what the doctor gives you or tells you. It was my pharmacist who told me I was having a dangerous reaction. My doctor just sort of scratched her head and said, "Hmmm, I'll see you in two weeks. Nothing to worry about."
Right. The pharmacist said the reaction was far more dangerous than the high blood pressure. He also said you can get just as good control with an old, cheap diuretic as these new, expensive beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, without all the dangerous side effects. But of course, the folks who make the diuretics don't take the docs on all-expenses paid fishing trips to the Bahamas, so they don't get prescribed as much.
Can't tell if I smell a book coming on, or just a furious essay. Whatever it is, it will have to wait until I feel better. So much for being a savvy medical reporter!