I sat in my obstetrician's office, waiting for her to come in for my checkup. Just a normal one, but my anxiety level was high because the chart I keep tells me my pressures are rising. In addition to the rising pressure, there's the less than competent med tech who takes blood pressures. Her reading: 132/85. "Not too bad, " she tells me before bouncing out of the room. I don't bother arguing.
This doctor is new to me. I've seen her a few times this pregnancy and she is aware of my rather complicated history, but I don't KNOW her. Insurance plans told me that I had to change providers, so the loving doctor who held my heart in his hands through my two previous pregnancies is left behind. Insurance premiums have no time for relationship building. With him, I didn't have to explain anything or ask twice. If he saw a reading that low during a visit, he would simply take it again. Correctly. I long for him and the ease of our interactions as I wait for this new doctor, as I prepare to broach what feels like conflict with her.
She enters the room, happy, even bouncy for the end of the day. I have my log with me, and she sees it right away. Tells me that she suspects I have questions or concerns. I show her my blood sugars, show her my blood pressures. Then I am forced to say, "I don't know how to say this without sounding like an obsessive crazy person, but I don't trust med techs to take my blood pressure because they are very rarely accurate."
I see in her eyes the doubt that she carries, the knowledge that I am a woman who has been badly broken by experience. She says the right things, mostly: I'm willing to take it if you want (but she doesn't just do it automatically), wrist meters like the one you have at home can be inaccurate at times, we can look at changing your medicine. There's a "but" though. She tells me that even though she believes my readings, she is fearful of raising my meds because all of the office readings have been...normal. "You know, you don't have to take your blood pressure every day if it makes you worry," she says.
"It doesn't make me worry, it makes me feel like I'm on top of things. I think you need to go ahead and take my pressure yourself so you can see what I'm talking about." I say it gently, but firmly. Without hesitation she goes to get her cuff and stethoscope. She listens carefully, takes her time.
"Well, I got 170/95," she says finally.
"Then you see why I don't trust people, "I respond.
A small interaction, this one. Just a few moments from each of our days. Enough for us to see one another in a new light.
I'm still not sure I like the light she looked at me with.