It is official. I am ill, doctor… and you are the cause.
Fifteen years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with hypertension. To keep a story short: a custody battle (plus age) between my mother and my grandmother took a hold of my grandmother’s body at the age of seventy-one. That was her only complication–aside from the expected side affects of the beta-blockers she was given.
My grandmother is an octogenarian and deemed hypertensive by professional, local, and distant quacks who think a woman her age should have the blood pressure of a twenty year old. She has been taking Sulfa-based and Beta-blocker [not together] blood pressure medicines for about fifteen years. It has been assumed she developed an allergy over time into the only one she has: sulfa-based drugs. No more sulfa drugs for grandma!
Imagine a strong and educated woman (of doctorate status) telling multiple doctors this basic information (that she received from her own research, her daughter-in-law that works at Duke Medical Center (formerly the head of the Outpatient Cancer Treatment Facility), and me, her grandson (with one year experience of Nursing School at East Carolina)–read this story and watch how your colleagues ignore her.
Two years ago, my grandmother started having problems urinating and she experienced discomfort in her lower abdomen. Her exact words were, “it feels heavy and uncomfortable.” What does her local doctor do? He throws a blood pressure pill at her as that is the only problem he can easily diagnose. Hydrochlorothiazide and lisinopril (just to name a couple) are sulfa-based drugs that were prescribed to her during this time. My grandmother doesn’t have access to the Internet, so she can’t hop online like most ripe sixty year olds. She calls her daughter-in-law and she calls me… what’s our immediate reaction, doc? DON’T TAKE THE PILLS! She gathered by our reactions that those drugs were sulfa based. I would like for you to review what I said earlier: “It has been assumed she developed an allergy over time into the only one she has: sulfa-based drugs.” I cannot even begin to digest the stupidity. Even with my average intelligence, I could see the hole in that one! Drugs.com anyone?
About the same time, my aunt and I recommended to my grandmother to have tests and scans done on her renal system starting with her bladder. She asked the reasoning. We figured that discomfort in her abdomen, the problems urinating, and the continuous rise in her blood pressure might be from a mass in the bladder. The local hospital denied these tests and scans. When and should a hospital deny treatment especially when it makes for a fatter wallet and a happy patient? It’s a somewhat balanced equation.
Our family’s genome does not suggest renal problems. About six months down the road, I did some research on the side. I had dropped out of Nursing School for similar reasons of why this thread (and others) exists, so I didn’t have my usual resources for research. Could it be that restricting geriatric blood pressure (that is expected to be higher) cause problems where most cases of elevated blood pressure usually starts (in the renal system)? Since we excrete waste through the renal system, would it be unreasonable to think that a buildup of toxins from these drugs occurred? Would that be why her allergy took so long to develop?
Further down the road, I had moved to Utah to work for Microsoft. A career and geographical change had prompted my grandmother’s worry; thus, her health got worse. She went to Duke, and requested the same tests and scans on her bladder. She was ignored once again and given more blood pressure medicine… good listening skills fellas.
Now she sits… currently emaciated and now has the ability to piss upright, thank you! Ethics 101, ladies and gentlemen:
Why was her allergy ignored by more than one doctor?
Why were those tests and scans denied by more than one hospital?
Why do you throw a pill at a problem?
By all means, I welcome input for the questions on the limited research that prompted more questions:
Could it be that restricting geriatric blood pressure (that is expected to be higher) cause problems where most cases of elevated blood pressure usually starts (the renal system)?
Since we excrete waste through the renal system, would it be unreasonable to think that a buildup of toxins from these drugs occurred?
Would that be why her allergy took so long to develop?
If you take this thread seriously, you’ll see that I am not confident in doctors or research assistants that bump people off as ignorant. That is not an excuse; nor, is it your job or enlightment to belittle others. It is your job to educate about the body, and it’s also my priority and mission to find out why in the hell doctors end up shrugging their shoulders. Age is not an acceptable excuse because she’s totally recovered in three weeks the surgery she underwent; whereas, most geriatric patients her age wouldn’t recover. Ignorance vs. Indifference? Think of that before you reply. There are too many damned I’s in this equation and we do end up going to you for help. I stand humbled and apologetic for those folks I’ve insulted, and I hope to hear from you as I’m guilty of doing the same to you.