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Old 02-08-2017, 11:36 PM
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Default Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

... No matter HOW healthy and fit you think you are.

Seriously, don't do it.


Okay, some background information first. I've always been an active person; I walk and hike a lot, I exercise often -- in short, I'm in pretty good shape by any reasonable measure. I generally eat well -- I prefer fruits and vegetables, and usually avoid fast food, soft drinks, and processed foods. I weigh a bit more than I'd like, but few people would consider me overweight.

The last time I had my blood pressure checked was 2 years ago. It was 110/70 -- "perfect," as my physician stated.

On the other hand, I have a family history of high blood pressure, and I know it. A few years previously, my bp rose to unhealthy levels, and my physician put me on medication to lower it. But only for a month, because the experience inspired me to increase my exercise levels, and I was able to bring it back down through vigorous exercise and proper diet.



So anyway, I have a relatively new job; this is the second year at this college. The first year, I was busy putting together new classes, and I neglected to get my yearly check-up. "I'm fine," I reasoned. But, what with being so busy with new classes and all, I didn't get as much exercise as was normal for me. And as a consequence, I've gained a bit of weight. I kept thinking to myself, "I've got to get back into a regular exercise routine." But with all that's been going on, other than lots of weekend hikes and occasional visits to the gym, I haven't done so.


Since I know I have a predisposition to hypertension, that really wasn't very smart on my part.


And as it turns out, it was very nearly fatal.


Thursday evening, I went to the bathroom and found that there was blood in my urine -- quite a lot of it, in fact. That's never a good thing, but I actually felt fine on Friday morning, and there was no recurrence of the hematuria. So, I decided that there was no reason to cancel classes or any such thing. I figured I'd see if I could perhaps get an appointment to be seen by a physician after my afternoon classes were done.

So, one of my colleagues gave me the number of her favorite physician at a local clinic. I called up, and the receptionist told me that he wouldn't be in until Tuesday, and asked if I wanted to schedule an appointment. I said "yes," and was about to hang up when the receptionist told me that there were other physicians available, and that I could come in that afternoon, if I wanted. So, I said "Yes, I'll be there at 4:00."


[In retrospect, I realize that I clearly wasn't thinking entirely clearly on Friday. In fact, I can barely remember anything that happened to me on Friday. I'm kind of surprised that none of my students or colleagues said anything.]


Anyway, I drove to the clinic, and reported that other than the blood in the urine, which was a one-time thing, I felt fine. They took my history: a bit of extra weight, but not obese or anything; never smoked; never drink; fairly active. Then they took my blood pressure.

The nurse who took my b.p. couldn't believe the reading she was getting could possibly be correct, so she took it again and got the same result. So she called her supervisor, who got the same result. My b.p. (both systolic and diastolic) was more than double what it should have been.

The doctor came in, took one look at the results, and sent me straight to the emergency room. And honestly, I don't remember much more of happened to me on Friday -- other than being stuck full of IV tubes and given quite a few injections, that is.


So, I got to spend the next several days in the hospital while they tried several different drug combinations to bring my blood pressure down -- and went through lots of tests to try to figure out a.) what had happened, and b.) how much damage I'd done to myself.



Apparently the high blood pressure has been going on for a few months at least, because I've some damage to my kidneys, and some hypertrophy of the left ventricle -- both of which are typical symptoms of malignant hypertension.

The working hypothesis is that something triggered a "spike" in my blood pressure, causing the blood in the urine. I don't have any kidney stones, there's no narrowing of my renal arteries or aorta that might explain the hypertension, and my heart function appears to be normal.

So, the only explanation so far seems to be that I have a genetic predisposition to malignant hypertension, and a poor ability to eliminate sodium. As such, what this basically means is that I have to be in exceptionally good shape (in terms of maintaining a proper weight, maintaining a vigorous exercise regime, and keeping my sodium levels low) in order to have any chance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

My physician insists that I'll be on blood-pressure medication for the rest of my life, but I intend to prove him wrong. I maintain that I can establish and maintain an exercise and diet regime that will get me off the medication -- I certainly intend to try.

[I did find it darkly amusing that so many different physicians and nurses -- every one of whom looked like they weighed considerably more than I do and got less exercise -- were telling me I need to lose weight and exercise more.]



Anyway, my colleagues were extraordinarily good to me. Sharon [Mathematics] came by on Saturday and brought me gifts of toiletries and reading material. (The Girl on the Train; she said that the reading selection at Wal-Mart was rather limited, and didn't think I'd want to read a Harlequin Romance novel. That's okay; while The Girl on the Train might not have been my first choice, it's actually rather well-written.) Sharon and another colleague (Marsha -- History) promised to stop by my house and make sure my cat was okay.

Monday night, Steve (Physics) and Della (Education) came by to keep me company for awhile (I was pretty-much climbing the walls by that point, I think), and to catch me up on the latest news.


I was released yesterday afternoon, with strict instructions to avoid anything remotely strenuous for the next few days -- including standing up for more than several minutes at a time. So, I came home and sat with the cat for a few hours. He was very happy to see me, and so he was content to sit in my lap and purr loudly while I petted him for quite awhile.


I came back to my classes this morning, but hey, I'm no wimp. I'm not going to let a little thing like this make me change my habits. So I walked up the 4 flights of stairs to my morning class as I always do -- and I quickly came to seriously regret that decision. Still, I made it through the first 2 classes, then went and sat down for a few hours. I then went to my afternoon class and made it through, but I was feeling seriously bad after that, so I came home to rest and pet the cat for a few hours.


As it happened, I ran into my favorite 7-year-old while walking home. She ran up to me, gave me a great big hug, and told me how happy she was to see me -- definitely the best part of the day. Then she told me that she'd heard that I was having heart surgery, so I guess the rumor-mill is up and running.

One of my colleagues told me that, for the time being, under no circumstances am I allowed to do my typical weekend thing of going off by myself for a hike in the woods without letting anyone know exactly where I was and when I would be back.



So anyway, it has been an ... interesting ... experience. I have a follow-up appointment next week, and the week after, I'm seeing a nephrologist to ensure that I haven't done any permanent damage to my heart or kidneys.

Of the 3 doctors who've examined me over the past few days, 2 of them flat-out told me that if I hadn't come in on Friday, I might very well have died.

So, that was a rather sobering experience.




And you can bet that, in future, I will not neglect to get a yearly physical, just because I feel fine and seem to be in good shape.
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  #2  
Old 02-08-2017, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

I feel ya. My cousin had a stroke at the ripe old age of 32. I went straight to the doctor.

180/130. 30 years old. Not even terrifically overweight.

lol
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Oh my gosh TLR. I'm glad you're okay, but this sucks.
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Old 02-09-2017, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Sorry to hear that TLR. Good thing you went in when you did. Maybe I should go visit a doctor... :twiddle:
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Old 02-09-2017, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
... No matter HOW healthy and fit you think you are.

Seriously, don't do it.

Okay, some background information first. I've always been an active person; I walk and hike a lot, I exercise often -- in short, I'm in pretty good shape by any reasonable measure. I generally eat well -- I prefer fruits and vegetables, and usually avoid fast food, soft drinks, and processed foods. I weigh a bit more than I'd like, but few people would consider me overweight.

The last time I had my blood pressure checked was 2 years ago. It was 110/70 -- "perfect," as my physician stated.

On the other hand, I have a family history of high blood pressure, and I know it. A few years previously, my bp rose to unhealthy levels, and my physician put me on medication to lower it. But only for a month, because the experience inspired me to increase my exercise levels, and I was able to bring it back down through vigorous exercise and proper diet.

So anyway, I have a relatively new job; this is the second year at this college. The first year, I was busy putting together new classes, and I neglected to get my yearly check-up. "I'm fine," I reasoned. But, what with being so busy with new classes and all, I didn't get as much exercise as was normal for me. And as a consequence, I've gained a bit of weight. I kept thinking to myself, "I've got to get back into a regular exercise routine." But with all that's been going on, other than lots of weekend hikes and occasional visits to the gym, I haven't done so.

Since I know I have a predisposition to hypertension, that really wasn't very smart on my part.

And as it turns out, it was very nearly fatal.

Thursday evening, I went to the bathroom and found that there was blood in my urine -- quite a lot of it, in fact. That's never a good thing, but I actually felt fine on Friday morning, and there was no recurrence of the hematuria. So, I decided that there was no reason to cancel classes or any such thing. I figured I'd see if I could perhaps get an appointment to be seen by a physician after my afternoon classes were done.

So, one of my colleagues gave me the number of her favorite physician at a local clinic. I called up, and the receptionist told me that he wouldn't be in until Tuesday, and asked if I wanted to schedule an appointment. I said "yes," and was about to hang up when the receptionist told me that there were other physicians available, and that I could come in that afternoon, if I wanted. So, I said "Yes, I'll be there at 4:00."

[In retrospect, I realize that I clearly wasn't thinking entirely clearly on Friday. In fact, I can barely remember anything that happened to me on Friday. I'm kind of surprised that none of my students or colleagues said anything.]

Anyway, I drove to the clinic, and reported that other than the blood in the urine, which was a one-time thing, I felt fine. They took my history: a bit of extra weight, but not obese or anything; never smoked; never drink; fairly active. Then they took my blood pressure.

The nurse who took my b.p. couldn't believe the reading she was getting could possibly be correct, so she took it again and got the same result. So she called her supervisor, who got the same result. My b.p. (both systolic and diastolic) was more than double what it should have been.

The doctor came in, took one look at the results, and sent me straight to the emergency room. And honestly, I don't remember much more of happened to me on Friday -- other than being stuck full of IV tubes and given quite a few injections, that is.

So, I got to spend the next several days in the hospital while they tried several different drug combinations to bring my blood pressure down -- and went through lots of tests to try to figure out a.) what had happened, and b.) how much damage I'd done to myself.

Apparently the high blood pressure has been going on for a few months at least, because I've some damage to my kidneys, and some hypertrophy of the left ventricle -- both of which are typical symptoms of malignant hypertension.

The working hypothesis is that something triggered a "spike" in my blood pressure, causing the blood in the urine. I don't have any kidney stones, there's no narrowing of my renal arteries or aorta that might explain the hypertension, and my heart function appears to be normal.

So, the only explanation so far seems to be that I have a genetic predisposition to malignant hypertension, and a poor ability to eliminate sodium. As such, what this basically means is that I have to be in exceptionally good shape (in terms of maintaining a proper weight, maintaining a vigorous exercise regime, and keeping my sodium levels low) in order to have any chance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

My physician insists that I'll be on blood-pressure medication for the rest of my life, but I intend to prove him wrong. I maintain that I can establish and maintain an exercise and diet regime that will get me off the medication -- I certainly intend to try.

[I did find it darkly amusing that so many different physicians and nurses -- every one of whom looked like they weighed considerably more than I do and got less exercise -- were telling me I need to lose weight and exercise more.]

Anyway, my colleagues were extraordinarily good to me. Sharon [Mathematics] came by on Saturday and brought me gifts of toiletries and reading material. (The Girl on the Train; she said that the reading selection at Wal-Mart was rather limited, and didn't think I'd want to read a Harlequin Romance novel. That's okay; while The Girl on the Train might not have been my first choice, it's actually rather well-written.) Sharon and another colleague (Marsha -- History) promised to stop by my house and make sure my cat was okay.

Monday night, Steve (Physics) and Della (Education) came by to keep me company for awhile (I was pretty-much climbing the walls by that point, I think), and to catch me up on the latest news.

I was released yesterday afternoon, with strict instructions to avoid anything remotely strenuous for the next few days -- including standing up for more than several minutes at a time. So, I came home and sat with the cat for a few hours. He was very happy to see me, and so he was content to sit in my lap and purr loudly while I petted him for quite awhile.

I came back to my classes this morning, but hey, I'm no wimp. I'm not going to let a little thing like this make me change my habits. So I walked up the 4 flights of stairs to my morning class as I always do -- and I quickly came to seriously regret that decision. Still, I made it through the first 2 classes, then went and sat down for a few hours. I then went to my afternoon class and made it through, but I was feeling seriously bad after that, so I came home to rest and pet the cat for a few hours.

As it happened, I ran into my favorite 7-year-old while walking home. She ran up to me, gave me a great big hug, and told me how happy she was to see me -- definitely the best part of the day. Then she told me that she'd heard that I was having heart surgery, so I guess the rumor-mill is up and running.

One of my colleagues told me that, for the time being, under no circumstances am I allowed to do my typical weekend thing of going off by myself for a hike in the woods without letting anyone know exactly where I was and when I would be back.

So anyway, it has been an ... interesting ... experience. I have a follow-up appointment next week, and the week after, I'm seeing a nephrologist to ensure that I haven't done any permanent damage to my heart or kidneys.

Of the 3 doctors who've examined me over the past few days, 2 of them flat-out told me that if I hadn't come in on Friday, I might very well have died.

So, that was a rather sobering experience.

And you can bet that, in future, I will not neglect to get a yearly physical, just because I feel fine and seem to be in good shape.

TLR, Listen to what your doctor tells you, he probably knows a bit more than you do, but do learn about your condition and yourself. I have CHF that was discovered when I went to the doctor with mild pneumonia and they sent me for an X-ray, the report came back that there was very little evidence of pneumonia but I did have an enlarged left ventricle. I now have 2 cardiologists and a defibrillator, and that gives me a built in 2nd opinion, so far they have been in agreement. I have always had low blood pressure and one of the effects of any heart medication is to lower the blood pressure, so now mine is just a bit lower than normal, in fact once a nurse took my blood pressure and didn't believe the results and was going to take it again. I asked her what it was and she told me and I said that was about right.
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Oh yes, listening to your physician's advice is very sound policy. That doesn't mean that I won't try to bring my b.p. under control through diet and exercise, though
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Wow TLR - glad you paid attention to the warning signs.

* JoeP considers getting a checkup

Good luck with the heart surgery. :wink: Especially if a 7-year-old will be operating.
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
... No matter HOW healthy and fit you think you are.

Seriously, don't do it.

As it happened, I ran into my favorite 7-year-old while walking home. She ran up to me, gave me a great big hug, and told me how happy she was to see me -- definitely the best part of the day. Then she told me that she'd heard that I was having heart surgery, so I guess the rumor-mill is up and running.
TLR, don't be afraid to get a 2nd opinion, my 1st cardiologist insisted that I needed open heart surgery to replace the mitral valve but it turned out that there was nothing wrong with the valve, it was the ventricle that was the problem. So rather than surgery, which is always risky, my ventricle is being treated with medication, and I have been improving, which is good considering that I turned 70 in Jan.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
... No matter HOW healthy and fit you think you are.
Seriously, don't do it.

Of the 3 doctors who've examined me over the past few days, 2 of them flat-out told me that if I hadn't come in on Friday, I might very well have died.

So, that was a rather sobering experience.
It's interesting how an experience like this can change your perspective on being alive. Several years ago my defibrillator went off so I found out exactly what it did. If you're not familiar with it, basically you die and it kick starts you back to life. Since then I have had a rather different view of life and being alive, something my wife has not experienced. I really upset my wife and daughter when I mentioned that sometimes when I lay down on the couch in the afternoon for a nap, I think that is how my father died. He had been out mowing the grass in the morning, came in laid on the couch for a nap and died in his sleep. I'm not sure if my daughter will have a changed attitude now but I pretty sure my wife will not. My daughter and her husband and family were in an auto accident Sun. a week ago, and I believe they are lucky to be alive, the kids were unhurt except for a few brush burns from the seat belts.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:24 AM
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Kamilah Hauptmann Kamilah Hauptmann is offline
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
Oh yes, listening to your physician's advice is very sound policy. That doesn't mean that I won't try to bring my b.p. under control through diet and exercise, though
Cardio problems in the family? My doctor advised against heavy cardio. Just tossing that on the pile.
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Old 02-09-2017, 04:39 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

GodDAMN, TLR! If that can happen to you - a total badass of a man who gets his kicks via martial arts and sojourning on foot into the remotest areas of the country and wrestling surly elk to the ground with his bare hands - it could happen to anyone.

Don't know what to say other than: (1) here's wishing you a quick and complete recovery; and (2) if there's anything of substance we can do to help, please let us know.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:42 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Why is my face burning? Why do my eyeballs itch? Oh! Despite this thread, I forgot to take my meds today.

:derp:
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Thanks for the excellent advice. Here's to your speedy return to health TLR :ahoy:
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Old 02-09-2017, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Michael,

Despite being perfect strangers on the Internet you are very dear to me. This is really not fair. You are a good person who does good things. This totally socks. But at least you're aware of it and can take the right steps. I was always worried you'd disappear and become one with Appalachian. It would be a true injustice to lose you any other way.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Wow TLR! That's some seriously scary stuff. What an awesome support network you have, though. Glad you got it checked out without the assistance of an ambulance.

Hope you get to feeling 100% better soon.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

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Originally Posted by BrotherMan View Post
This totally socks.
:glare:
But the rest of what he said, yeah. Too many fantastically good people are leaving us these days, so please continue to watch yourself.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

I was on medication to control my hypertension for over ten years. With diet and exercise I was able to get off the medication. When I first started to ween myself off the meds (with my Doctor's approval) I took my blood pressure every day just to make sure that things were not going to go south on me. I now take it once a week, first thing in the morning before engaging in any activity. That provides me with something called a "fundamental blood pressure reading". I have one of those blood pressures cuffs that fits around the wrist. It is pretty accurate (I tested it against the reading at the doctor's office) and very simple to use.

TLR, you might want try the same thing. The cuff is not very expensive and it is easy to use.

I also get a check up twice a year because I am on medication to lower my cholesterol. I have some hope that the diet and exercise will eventually correct that problem as well.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

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Originally Posted by Sock Puppet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherMan View Post
This totally socks.
:glare:
But the rest of what he said, yeah. Too many fantastically good people are leaving us these days, so please continue to watch yourself.
Sorry, SuckPuppet. My new tablet spellchecks and replaces when I don't ask it to do so. I'll correct that.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

I'm feeling somewhat better today, so far.

I came up the stairs as I always do, instead of using the elevator, and it was considerably less stressful than it had been yesterday, so that's a good sign. My favorite 4-year-old (younger sister of the 7-year-old) took one look at the bruises on my arms from the IV tubes and whatnot and put a cartoon cat sticker on my hand "to make it better." So, I wore that most of the day, until it eventually came off.

I have two back-to-back labs this afternoon, which will involve a lot of standing, but if I find it too stressful, I'm sure the students will understand if I have to sit down for a bit and let them work on their own.


Meanwhile, I'm monitoring my pressure carefully, and while it's far from ideal, it's well within the acceptable range, according to my doctor -- and slowly dropping. So far, there have been no spikes that would require me to take the "emergency pill."


I'm hoping that I'll be feeling well-enough by the beginning of next week to start going back to the gym.


Thanks, all!
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Old 02-09-2017, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

So glad the receptions suggested other physicians! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Will NOT miss my check up.
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Damn TLR, that could have easily ended a lot worse! I am so glad you dodged the worst of that bullet, and I hope you get the condition under control soon. Take good care of yourself please!
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

I've been overestimating my recovery ability, it seems. I was very forcibly reminded of that yesterday. I thought I could handle two back-to-back labs in a row.

I was wrong.

I managed to make it through both labs without collapsing (it was a close thing, though), then went home and threw up. I was shivering uncontrollably, so I tried to take my temperature -- but it was too low for the thermometer to read. Yikes! So, I took some aspirin, drank some Pepto Bismol, wrapped myself in some blankets, and went to bed.

After 10 hours of sleep, I'm at least feeling functional again. But that was a serious warning not to overexert myself.


It's frustrating and ... weird ... to feel so weak. I had to go over to the Business Office yesterday to sign for a package and found -- to my great surprise -- that I couldn't hold the pen steadily enough to sign my name. It took me a couple of tries.


So, I guess the message is pretty clear: take it easy for awhile.


Well, there's an important lesson here, one that I keep telling my students: Just because you feel fine doesn't mean that there might not be something seriously wrong -- so get your check-ups.

And as I just told someone who is quite dear to me, the past week or so has taught me that though I may be a loner in most senses, having friends is a very good thing.


Thanks for all the good wishes!
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

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After 10 hours of sleep, I'm at least feeling functional again. But that was a serious warning not to overexert myself.
It sounds more like you shouldn't even try to exert yourself.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

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I was released yesterday afternoon, with strict instructions to avoid anything remotely strenuous for the next few days -- including standing up for more than several minutes at a time. So, I came home and sat with the cat for a few hours. He was very happy to see me, and so he was content to sit in my lap and purr loudly while I petted him for quite awhile.


I came back to my classes this morning, but hey, I'm no wimp. I'm not going to let a little thing like this make me change my habits. So I walked up the 4 flights of stairs to my morning class as I always do -- and I quickly came to seriously regret that decision. Still, I made it through the first 2 classes, then went and sat down for a few hours. I then went to my afternoon class and made it through, but I was feeling seriously bad after that, so I came home to rest and pet the cat for a few hours.

OK tough guy, I don't expect you to listen to anything I post, but I would think that you would listen a little to what your doctors say. "Nothing strenuous" includes 4 flights of stairs, so take the elevator, there's plenty of time to get back into regular exercise as long as you don't kill yourself first. If you give some kind of explanation, I'm sure most of your students will cut you some slack. Once I spent most of an evening drinking with a friend, I went home to bed, he went to another bar and continued drinking. I went to work and felt lousy, he called off work the next day. I got through my morning classes OK but that afternoon I was feeling so bad that a couple of students in that class wouldn't let any other student bother me. I just sat there feeling miserable. It seems that you have a few things to learn about getting better when something happens, perhaps I go too far the other way, but at least I'm not hurting myself by not listening to what I'm told. BTW, I have a daughter and son-in-law who seem to want to rush getting back to normal, they are a real trial for those around them. Let others do for you once in awhile, it'll never hurt you to depend on someone else just a little, and you might be surprised at what you learn.
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Do NOT skip your yearly check-ups ...

Well, in fairness, my point was that I didn't think that walking up a flight of stairs would be in any way strenuous.

I certainly didn't think that just standing up for 4 hours straight would be in any way "strenuous."


Clearly, I was wrong.
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