I am fortunate to have good health insurance and make the effort to do all those routine screenings that doctors advise. Well most of those screenings.
So early in January I had my annual physical scheduled with my general practitioner. I had been keeping a list of my nagging little complaints, mainly a chronic low grade headache that I mentioned each year, but also an interesting chest pain that occurred during intense physical activity. I also needed to complain about how long it took to actually schedule this appointment - seven months! For a long established patient!
I expected this physical to be pretty routine just as all my exams have fortunately been. After *nicely* expressing my frustration over the scheduling of the appointment, my doctor decides to re-take my blood pressure. 190/95. Wow! I had noticed a trend over the past few months in exam rooms, my blood pressure was routinely about 150/85. None of the doctors mentioned any concern, I am sure they attributed it to 'white coat syndrome'. However I never felt anxious at routine medical exams. So I began tracking it at home. There it was typically 140/80. Certainly not normal. But 190/95??? Ever Mr. Cool, my doctor simply says, 'that's too high' and writes me a prescription for a blood pressure medication and tells me I can expect to be on this for the rest of my life.
He then tells me he wants me to have a cardiac stress test - the tread mill test - and a cardiac ultra sound. He hands me a lab slip for a complete blood workup and says his nurse will be right in to do an EKG and that I should come back in a month to review the test results.
The cardiac tests were both scheduled at the hospital conveniently on the same day. I even had the blood work completed that day too.
Back at my doctor's office - the cardiac tests are reviewed, treadmill test and echo cardiogram, both normal, just as I expected. However, the next conversation was a bit of a surprise.
Doctor - I want you to see a hematologist. Do you have anyone you prefer?
Me - Why?
Doctor - Your platelets are high and have been for a while.
Me - What??? Remind me please what platelets do.
Doctor - Your bone marrow makes red cells, white cells and platelets. Platelets clot the blood.
Next stop hematology.