Stick Those Pills in Your Ears
Man, I feel good today. My throat is a little dry, and I sound like Barry White, but other than that, 10 out of 10.
During my prophylactic visit to the doc-in-the-box yesterday, my blood pressure registered 167/90. I was not happy. For a long time, I’ve had a problem with “white coat” high blood pressure. That means I hate going to the doctor, and while I’m sitting there dying to leave, my blood pressure goes up.
The big problem with white coat high blood pressure is that doctors love finding things wrong with us. They overdiagnose and overprescribe. If you have white coat high blood pressure, every single time you get a high reading from a new doctor, you will get the lecture about how you need to keep monitoring it, and they will sometimes talk to you as if you’re in denial. Like you’re trying to introduce them to your invisible friend, Harvey the rabbit.
I didn’t invent white coat high blood pressure. Doctors came up with it. I don’t see why one doctor would tell me I had it and another doctor would treat me like a mental patient for revealing it to him.
A long time ago, when I was in my twenties, I showed up at a doctor’s office with fifteen pounds of extra weight on me, a total cholesterol reading of 208 (the “high” threshold was 200), and a blood pressure reading of 140/90. The doctor put me on a diet. He told me I had to exercise. He never mentioned white coat high blood pressure. He didn’t mention the fact that my LDL (bad cholesterol) was low and my HDL (good cholesterol) was high. My high “good cholesterol” level was the sole reason my overall level was high.
For several weeks I put up with his BS, and then I forgot all about it. I am not dead. My kidneys have not failed. I have not had any strokes.
My mother and grandfather both had cholesterol readings in the mid-300’s. Both were thin, and neither had heart disease. My mother’s blood pressure was so low doctors marveled at her ability to remain conscious.
This same guy called me after I went in for a stomach virus. He said my bilirubin was high, and that it needed to be looked at. I asked him what could cause it. He said one likely cause was a viral infection.
Yeah, okay. Why not just break into my house and take what you like? It would be a better option for me.
Let’s consider the alternatives.
1. You deliberately bring me in for pointless exams and treatment and take my money, and then you make me come back over and over and take pills I don’t need and which may harm me.
2. You break in and steal stuff worth the same amount of money, but you spare me the exams and treatment.
I would choose 2. In fact, that’s what I did, except he didn’t break in. With a racket like his, you don’t need to rob houses. I’ll say this for burglars: they may take your stuff, but they don’t stick things up your rear end. Generally.
When I was in college (the second time around), I got my typical reading of 130/90 during a visit for some minor problem. This was the first time a doctor mentioned white coat high blood pressure. She said I needed to come back and have it checked a few more times, to get me used to the horror of being in a doctor’s office.
At this time, I was waiting for letters from grad schools, and I was under stress. I was also being evaluated for ADD. The letters came, I got accepted, and I was given my first Ritalin prescription. Ritalin is a stimulant, but it relaxed me. I went to the same doctor, full of prescription speed, and my pressure was something like 125/80. The doctor was happy, and so was I.
I went to a doctor in 2016 to get a strep test (pretty much the only reason I ever go), and I came in at something like 135/90, and the nurse started talking down to me about how we might need to consider the possibility that I’m just imagining the white coat thing.
Of course, I went home and paid no attention at all. I do not want high blood pressure pills. They cause headaches, impotence, memory problems (according to my dad’s doctor), and God knows what else. Their use is also highly correlated with reduction of bank balances. Death doesn’t scare me as much as having to get up and take 15 unnecessary and expensive pills every day.
I first learned to distrust pills when I was treated for ADD. They gave me Ritalin, and I loved it, and then I developed a tolerance. I could take 120 milligrams per day without exploding or going nova or whatever the overdose reaction is. A typical dose is 10 mg. Same thing happened with Wellbutrin. A big dose is three large red pills a day, and on some days, I had to take seven. I took so much, they told me to get off of it gradually in order to avoid withdrawal seizures. Other ADD drugs nearly made me crazy. I learned that even if a pill works very well when you start taking it, you can’t trust it, because two months down the road, it may make you miserable. Ask a manic depressive about that. They’re famous for having to switch medications over and over.
It makes sense if you think about it. What happens to drug abusers, generally? The first time a junkie uses heroin, it’s wonderful. He loves it. The pleasure is like something he has never experienced. The hundredth time, it doesn’t feel so good. He has to take it in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Drugs are like sexy girlfriends who put out at will. Fun in the short term, but if you marry one, you will regret it. If it’s true of recreational drugs, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be true of prescriptions. A drug can’t tell whether it’s prescribed or not.
I will never trust pills again. If you take a pill once a year for an occasional problem, it’s fine. If you take it every day to get rid of chronic symptoms without addressing the cause, sooner or later it will let you down. That’s what I believe, based on experience. I think I could develop a tolerance to anything if I took it long enough.
Supplements are different. At least the ones I take are. They are intended to address the causes of problems, not the symptoms.
Because my pressure was so crazy yesterday (I didn’t know my body could even do 167), I decided to be cautious and look around on the web for advice. I decided to check my blood pressure in the morning.
I learned that 90% of people over a certain age have high blood pressure. That was depressing. Those are not good odds. Even if my blood pressure had been fine earlier in life, I might be screwed now.
Because I’ve been harped at so much, I have a blood pressure machine at home. Today I used it, and unlike the doctor’s people, I used it correctly. Here is what you do when you take your blood pressure. This may do you a world of good if you are currently being treated for a blood pressure problem you don’t really have. Take your blood pressure the correct way and see what you get. If your blood pressure is low, ever, you don’t have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure have it all the time. It’s a minimum value.
1. Don’t do it when you have a virus, because they raise your pressure.
2. Don’t do it when you’re fasting, because it also jacks up the pressure.
3. Take it while sitting or lying down, with your arm no higher than your heart.
4. Put the cuff on your weak arm or your leg. If you’re right-handed, keep it off your right arm.
5. If you’re sitting, put both feet on the floor, flat.
6. Do not take it until you’ve been still for a full 15 minutes. Doctors never tell you that.
7. Do not do it AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE or under any other type of stress. Hello?
Here’s what I got today: 119/73. That was right out of the box. I didn’t take it fifteen times and look for a fluke reading.
It was a shock. I was hoping for anything under 130, over anything under 90. To see a 73 in there…that was a present from God.
Why do I pay attention to these people? They don’t know how to take blood pressure correctly, and then they give you condescending lectures based on faulty data, with the intention of hooking you on drugs and bringing you back for profitable monthly visits. It reminds me of the time I went to the ER with a 2mm kidney stone and got charged $5000 for a completely unnecessary MRI. You know what I did the last time I had a stone? I stayed home and drank beer. Total cost: $13. Out came the stone. It would have cost even less, but I like good beer.
If you have kidney stones, start drinking purified or distilled (not spring or mineral) water, and drink two beers in a row once a week. See what happens. If your tap water has dissolved calcium in it, you are drinking the raw materials for kidney stones, and your body will try to put them together. Stay away from rhubarb and spinach, too.
Not only do I not have high blood pressure compared to other old people; I have somewhat low blood pressure compared to people half my age. What if I were a typical sheep-patient who takes every pill doctors throw at him? God knows where I’d be. I’d be on Ritalin, statins, and a cabinet full of pills that cause impotence and dementia.
I am so grateful to God. I hate going to doctors. I hate relying on the same people who believed in low-fat high-carb diets forty years after they were proven harmful. I hate relying on people who have powerful financial incentives to give me drugs and put me on monitoring programs.
If you think doctors don’t look for ways to make money on people, you are dreaming. They have been known to have seminars where they are taught how to find excuses for treating people and bringing them back. No one goes into medicine out of a hatred of money. The US is full of dishonest doctors who make a living giving known drug addicts painkiller prescriptions. I could name a few for you, now that I think about it. Doctors aren’t particularly pure.
Here’s another reason I don’t believe everything doctors say. To this day, doctors have no clue how to prevent gallstones, and they’re not even trying to find out. They yank your gallbladder out, as if it were some sort of divine mistake. Then you get diarrhea for a year, you don’t absorb vitamins the way you should, and you may still have stones! You don’t actually need a gallbladder to have stones and pain, and the recurrence rate is high. Yeah, that’s what I want. Gallstone pain plus chronic diarrhea.
I had gallbladder pain, and I avoided the doctor. I went online to read about the problem. I read that some patients choose to “watch and wait,” and that they generally had to have surgery anyway. I read that modern medicine was 100% incapable of preventing stones. I decided to watch and wait, and I ate a lot of fatty food. That was about five years ago, and I haven’t been cut. If doctors really want my gallbladder, they are welcome to cut it out after I die. I won’t pay, though.
I don’t have a single prescription. May God keep me free of them until the fateful day when he ends my earthly existence with a meteor. That’s what I always pray for. You can’t beat a meteor. One second you’re here, and then you open your eyes and you’re in heaven, and your family or coworkers are looking for a mop.
Lightning is good, too, but you don’t want to get partially roasted and then survive.
I can’t tell you how happy I am with that blood pressure reading. Greatest thing that’s happened to me all year.
Okay, it’s January. But still.