Thursday, May 27, 2010

Well, crap


Yesterday I went and met with a trainer at my new gym for my "fitness evaluation." I hate this part of joining a gym. I KNOW I'm out of shape. In fact, I am intimately aware of just how out of shape I am and all I really want you to do is show me how to use the torture devices in the back so I don't rip off my own arms trying to do a tricep lunge. But this trainer was so nice, so personable and easy to talk to that before I knew it I was standing on a scale and letting her put a blood pressure cuff on my arm.

And that's when things got ugly.

She took my blood pressure once. Then again. Then asked me to take some deep breaths and relax my body and uncross my legs. And took it again. All three times my blood pressure was 153/110. She then very gently and kindly informed me that I needed to see a doctor and that I could not exercise again until I had a note from said doctor assuring her that I would not stroke out on the ellipticals.

So, I went to my doctor today, keeping my fingers crossed that it was just the nervous reaction to being in a  fitness evaluation, and having my fitness (read: flabbiness) evaluated (read: judged). BUT OF COURSE IT WASN'T. It was just as high today as it was yesterday, and she reminded me that back in September she had said that I was borderline and that if it continued to creep up, we'd have to start trying medication. She then handed me a prescription for Lortel and said no exercise for three weeks, at which time she'll check me again and make sure it's going down.

THEN she tells me that I should expect to feel unusually tired for the first week "or so" and that I need to not get up too quickly from sitting or lying down. I reminded her that I have small children. She just smiled as if to say, Do you really need to move all that fast when someone starts vomiting on the good couch? Isn't your health more important?

So of course as soon as I get home, I look up this drug online and start reading about all the side effects. Because they NEVER tell you all the side effects there in the doctor's office. No one would ever take any kind of medication of it was the doctor going, "And you may experience weight gain, dry mouth, a persistent cough, edema, nose worms, excessive toe jam, an unusual need to listen to Neil Sedaka in the shower, and a lack of interest in lepidoptery." And reading about the potential side effects, without being a statistician, it's very difficult to determine what the chances are of developing any of the more severe side effects. If you go onto any kind of forum where people report how they did on a drug it's all "MY NASAL PASSAGES SWELLED SHUT AND I HAD TO PRY THEM OPEN WITH GARDEN TOOLS. THEN MY LIVER FELL OUT AND THE DOG STARTED PLAYING WITH IT BEFORE I COULD GET IT BACK IN. THEN MY WIFE LEFT ME OVER ALL THE NEIL SEDAKA MUSIC." The people who do well on meds and aren't hypochondriacs don't tend to participate in forums like that, so you have to take it all with a grain of salt (EXCEPT I CAN'T HAVE ANY MORE SALT, DAMMIT).

Then I get to the end of the side effects list and of course the last one is "loss of interest in sex." Why is this ALWAYS one of the side effects of any medication I have to take? I was on Zoloft for about a year after my second child was born, and I remember the doctor saying, "Oh, and your sex drive may be reduced a bit while you're on this." Because when they DO decide to tell you about a side effect, they have to say it like that. And was she correct? Let's put it this way: on Zoloft, you still want it, and you can certainly still do it, but you just can't...finish it. Like, ever. You get what I'm saying? IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING.

But then she asked if I'd been feeling off lately, any headaches or anything else, and I mentioned the daily headaches that I have had for several weeks now, along with an inability to concentrate. I have been so unfocussed, and it has been unusual enough that it was one of the reasons I finally caved and joined the damn gym. I thought maybe some exercise would do me good and get my brain back on track. She just nodded and said, "The effects of high blood pressure, especially on women, are subtle. They can seem just like the effects of the normal stresses we have in daily life." And having written about heart disease in women, I knew she was right.

So sometime this weekend, I will start taking some little pill and wait for the nose worms to set in. And hope that, despite the fatigue, I'll still be able to finish things. I MEANT MY WORK. Geez.


Nancy said...

I take Lotrel also. It DOES wipe out the sex drive...but then that could be my age? maybe?

I did have the tiredness, but it went away after a couple of naps..


Lisa Marie said...

I take the highest dosage possible of Metoprolol and I do just fine. It did seem to make me a little tired to start out, because that's the effect of lowered BP!
I will say, I'm a salt lover and eat just as much of it as I used to... :D

QuiltSwissy said...

I can't help you with the side effects, my BP is perfect. It is my mind that wanders..........oh, yeah.....uhhhh.....good luck on the medication. Got to run and finish whatever it was I was doing before I walked into the room and decided to sit at the computer.......


Gene Black said...

I typed a LONG comment on my iPhone..and it wouldn't post. ARRRGH!

First of all- Take a deep breath and relax!
Not everyone who takes Lotrel has decreased sex drive. I have a friend who takes it and has a HEALTHY sex drive. (yeah I know- TMI)
Don't anticipate side effects; your mind is amazingly powerful. It can create problems that are not related to the medicine. HOWEVER if you are convinced it is related and you stop the med, it will stop the problem.

I have taken BP meds for a few years. I have taken several different ones. Actually I am planning to ask my MD to switch me to Lotrel (generic) at my next visit. (I have reasons)
Lotrel is a very good medicine. It combines an ACE inhibitor (heart protective) with a calcium channel blocker. They work synergistically. (god, I sound like some freaky sales rep!)

If you need support, holler out to me. My email is available thru my blog. I remember when mine high BP started. It can be scary and confusing. A friend who has been there done that can help. (but they have to have a good attitude and a wicked sense of humor!)

Gene Black said...

oh crap! --> "I remember when mine high BP started."
yeah, the mind is the first part to go!

I meant "when MY high BP started"

Sarah Craig said...

OK - if you have any "unfortunate" side effects, I have one word for you - "Intense"!! If you want more info, e-mail me - maybe TMI for a blog post!!

joanne lendaro said...

Sorry about all of that...I have no idea about the high BP thing, but can definately relate to the extra pounds!! ugh!! Good luck with all of that!

Duff said...

Look on the upside (don't you hate it when someone says that crap?)

Look on the upside. One of the side effects is not hairy tongue.

And everyone around will tell you exactly what the side effects really are--my son asks, "Are you gonna go Hulk this week?"

My apologies, was I supposed to say something soothing?

Patty said...

ROTFLMAO after reading your post, you make my day. I think I've had every side effect you've mentioned except I don't know what lipidotry (or how ever it's spelled) is. But I've probably had it to. Just think, it only gets worse with age. I'm there, believe me.

Oh ya, I want to talk to Sarah Craig about this "intense" thing.

And thanks to Duff for sharing that you won't get a hairy tongue as a side effect. I don't need one of those.

Susan Entwistle said...

All those side effects are listed for legal reasons. Enough said.
Chin up. My husband's been on Lotrel for years, and he's had no problem with his sex drive. (Maybe I should start crushing up extras and sprinkling it on his Cocoa Krispies....)

mscallie53 said...

Take your meds so you won't die. I enjoy reading your blogs too much.

Selfish I know but that's the way life is.

wordmama said...

I know you're frustrated and worried about the BP thing. Yeah, side effects are crappy, but... (it's a big but) you WILL feel better once you get on the right med. Your kids need you to be there for them for a long time, and, well, I don't need to mention the bad things that happen when high BP isn't treated. Don't worry about the side effects, just recognize them when they happen. Meds aren't always bad. Sometimes they even save lives.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

That sucks! Lots of luck with the meds, hope you feel better soon!

Sarah Mac said...

I'm with mscallie! :)

Brenda said...

I started on high BP meds last year - Lisinopril - was on 10mg per day - had some dizziness when getting up too fast. My BP was actually a little too low. My dr. cut my dose in half and it's great - no more dizziness - great BP. I think mine was even a little higher than yours! Good luck. (No prob. with sex drive - it's still way lower than hubby's)

Sequana said...

When my doc's eyes started rolling at the sight of my BP numbers, she told me before we started figuring out any meds to see what I could do about changing my diet. And I did. And I never had to go on meds.

CUT OUT THE SALT! Start reading those labels. Every damn thing has salt(sodium) in it.

Then I got a little wrist thingie to check my own BP numbers at home when I was calm.

In a couple of months, I had those numbers down and they've stayed there. I swear you won't even miss salt in a little bit. Use unsalted butter, crackers with no salt.....cut back on the prepared foods and snacks.....and for God's sake, NO RAMEN NOODLES! *L*

Calm down and carry on.

Wilma NC said...

I have taken BP medication since I was 30 years old. High BP is called "the silent killer" and can be prevented by medication. Sometimes it's not lifestyle, it's genetics. (No cancer in my family, most everyone who died young had a stroke). And as far as the side effects, if only a few people experience one thing, it has to be listed in the side effects. Just go by how YOU feel, and stay in touch with your MD. (Do I sound like a nurse??? LOL. I am.)

Anne said...

Paxil did the same thing to me as your Zoloft. Kinda defeats the purpose of an antidepressant, huh?

Shannon said...

My husband and I joke about the ads we see on T.V. Whenever one comes on WE always finish the commerical with "and sometimes death."

It's so scary taking meds for anything because of all the side effects.

Lori said...

SNORTING AND ROLLING AROUND ON THE FLOOR. Well, I am steering clear of the gardening tools if my nose swells shut! I will be sure to share the "other" side effects with my husband! So far the only one I notice with my med is it makes me cough after I take it. But then, maybe I think all the other things are NORMAL??!!

Anonymous said...

Deborah says:

Yes, please listen to mscallie53 and wordmama.

Start the meds, when you are ready to start exercising, just keep at it.

Maybe eventually you can exercise off the meds. Also with diet change.

Have to say though that I think the recent research says that salt (sodium) doesn't contribute as much to high blood pressure as previously thought, but your doctor will be able to give you the most up to date information there.

Don't abandon allopathic medicine, but you might want to check out ayurvedic medicine....

Be well.

Kari @ Fresh Cut Quilts said...

Good luck on the meds. I am 38 and took a BP pill for while, it was not the worst thing ever. I did not notice any nose worms, but I did cough a lot. They can change it to a different one if the effects ie- sex drive, are unpleasant.

Ultimately you will feel better. You kidneys will be happier too!
Good luck!

lori said...

OH! I agree with mscallie! Very selfishly... but, yes! You lower my BP with every post! I'm usually laughing so much!

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

Thank goodness the trainer at the gym took your blood pressure. Hope you will get along just fine with your meds, but it may take some adjusting to get just the right dosage (and avoid the nose worms). Good luck!