Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Somebody get me a doctor 

Day 2 of my caffeine withdrawal.

I went down to see the doctor yesterday, as China requires a HIV test as part of the visa paperwork. It's been awhile since I've taken the bus downtown. You'd think I'd do it more often, as I enjoy the bustle of downtown and all. Maybe the fact that I don't do it too often is why I still consider it a treatg. Anyway, my doctor's office is in the City Center building, or mall or whatever they call it. I have to walk past a lot of fancy shops and restaurants to get there--places at which I not even interested in window shopping. Makes for quite a trip as I venture through the International District and Pioneer Square and then past the haunts of the affluent.

But I digress. Like I said, I went to see the doctor. You have to do that for a HIV test, you can't just come in and get stuck and be on your way. And, of course, seeing the doctor means you also see the receptionist, a medical assistant and one or more lab techs. So I did. The receptionist took my name and the assistant soon ushered me into the exam room, after doing the regular weighing and blood pressure thing. He asks me a few questions and as I'm answering, I'm wondering what this guy is thinking. You see, this is the second HIV test I've had in a few years. A couple of years back--whenever the last Star Wars flick was out--I got bitten by a mugger and I got tested to make sure I wasn't the 1 in 100,000 who would contact HIV from a human bite. (Yeah, I know, how humiliating is it when your closest encounter with big city crime is getting bit like a grade schooler?) Well, if the PA thought I was some promiscuous sleazeball, he didn't show it.

Finally, the doctor comes in and starts looking over the paperwork. He actually seemed to remember me, which is rather odd. (I've seen this guy about three times now, a record in my adult life.) But instead of simply giving me the HIV test pep talk, he starts commenting on the blood pressure. Too high, he says. (No surprise to me, given the past month.) So suddenly I'm not just getting a blood draw, I'm also given a urinalysis and an EKG. Sheesh. I felt akin to a guy taking his car into a sleazy mechanic. Fortunately, I didn't also get charged like a guy taking his car into a sleazy mechanic.

The upshot of the whole thing is that I don't want high blood pressure to screw up this whole China venture. While it could indicate a serious problem, I'm more inclined to think it's the result of mainlining caffeinated Pepsi products to ease my headache pain and to perk me up when my body's thinking nap. So for the next couple of weeks, until my official travel check up, I'm avoiding caffeine. Headaches and drowsiness will just have to be endured, or maybe I'll even try that naturopathic solution of actually getting a full night's sleep. SIGH. Life was so much easier when I was young and indestructable....