September 15th, 2006



I am an anti-poverty activist, social justice journalist and humanitarian relief worker. So isn't it ironic that the one part of my body that decides to act out is my heart?

I'm not sure if this is bad service, but my reporter's instinct is saying there's something they're not telling me.

Like many fine artists, I suffer from a mental illness. Long story short, I'm on five different meds and two different doses of one of the meds. I am past the FDA-approved dosage on two of the meds. After a year and a half without any medical testing, the psychiatrist decided to run a few tests. Specifically, an EKG and blood pressure/pulse check.

The EKG showed evidence of an old heart attack--which you can imagine came as quite a shock to a 27-year-old! The psychiatrist isn't buying it and has made no effort to learn about my medical history--I volunteered that there was an incident in college in which I was taken out of the dorm on a stretcher because of chest pain, elevated blood pressure(in the 220 range), rapid and irregular pulse(above 150), and shortness of breath. She wasn't interested in hearing about it, let alone getting the medical records from that incident. No referral to a cardiologist. The pulse and blood pressure check came back erratic, so it's been repeated several times. Each time it's come back erratic. Today the psychiatrist took my blood pressure and pulse herself!

All I can get out of her is "I want to keep an eye on this." So I have to go to a drug store every day for the next few days to get my pulse and blood pressure checked. Excuse me, but don't I have a right to know what's happening to my own body? If I did indeed have a heart attack and I'm about to have another, I'm going to be pissed. And a pissed-off reporter is not a pretty picture. Mark Twain said "Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel." for a reason.

Am I out of line here? Or am I getting bad service?