Preserve me from meddling doctors…

I have been taking Diltiazem for more years than I can remember. Its function is to relax the smooth muscle of the heart and blood vessels, and it’s used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), angina, and certain heart rhythm disorders (all of which I have). It also has the same beneficial effect on the smooth muscle of the lungs and pulmonary circulation, making it very useful in treating COPD.

My GP has cut off my supply, claiming someone at Arrowe Park Hospital (APH), made the decision. If they did, they did so without bothering to talk to me about it. Nor did my GP.

It’s entirely possible, with hindsight, that lack of Diltiazem is the reason that I deteriorated so profoundly while in APH,** and yet, after restarting it at home – because, hey, THEY GAVE ME SOME to bring home with me, I recovered rapidly (still got a long way to go, but I’m no longer the skeletal basket case I was 5 weeks ago). Even the consultant’s HO agreed that I’d crashed in flames after my third week in APH, when previously I’d been improving – so why the hell did nobody do anything?

**The consultant claimed that several of my meds were responsible for my severely enlarged colon (I look to have a beer belly, but it’s not flab, it’s a colon the size of a  python according to a past GP). However, my enlarged colon is the result of a severe bout of IBS in the 80s, which pre-dates Diltiazem by about 10 years, so Diltiazem cannot possibly be the cause

I am not prepared to wait and see if I crash again – I simply can’t afford to, because next time I might not come back from it. I am, therefore, going to buy my own Diltiazem at a cost of £41.14 for 45 day’s supply. I shouldn’t have to but, beset by idiot doctors as I am, self-medication should mean I have a better quality of life, or even just a life at all, because these bastards might well kill me sooner or later by totally buggering my meds.

The same GP refuses to believe that APH increased my beta-blocker to 4 times the previous dose with the same zealotry he puts my life at risk over Diltiazem. In this instance, though, I have proof, as I still have a box, with the APH label bearing the dose information and the pharmacy signatures – there can be no valid argument against that. Then again, valid arguments have never been his strong point – he just makes decisions, and the patient can sod off.

If he refuses to increase the beta-blocker dose, and still refuses to prescribe Diltiazem, I will be seriously screwed, and the consultant’s malicious** prediction that I’m dying may yet come true. I will certainly be profoundly disabled, at best, as a result.

**I can think of no better word. For those of you who missed it – I wrote about it here and here – the condition he claimed would kill me no matter what he did just isn’t fatal and, as you’ll see, there’s a very simple remedy – drink water!


16 thoughts on “Preserve me from meddling doctors…

    • I’ll give it a couple of days – one of the more senior partners is going to try to push it through, and the pharmacy never has any stock so there’s always a delay. It’s apparent that the even though the consultant’s crackpot theories were disproved by my colonoscopy, he’s still sticking to them in his report to my GP.

    • GPs, by definition, know a limited amount about a lot of conditions – the very nature of the job precludes in-depth knowledge of all but a few subjects. I, on the other hand, have made sure I’m reasonably expert in every condition that ails me (and what I don’t know, I know where to find out). Hell, one of us needs to know what’s going on!

  1. seems there’s an epidemic going round……… GPs i mean.
    went to see mine yesterday. actually saw one i haven t seen before. who went into my history of the last 6 years quite deep/ but once again im being told i DID have a mild heart attack in Aug 2007. i have had this out on several occasions with nurses and doctors before. My specialist told me that although the blood test showed i had had one (in the first 24 hrs of admittance they took that), the subsequent tests, echocardiogram etc showed nothing. no scarring nothing. when asked why they had been so adamant that the blood test showed i had had an HA if there was no other back up evidence, he merely shrugged and said “these things happen… could be any reason for it”.i have witness to this, my daughter. 3 years down the line at an asthma /COPD review, a nurse told me it said on my notes that i had been sent to hosp with ischaemic heart disease. which meant a heart attack and if it was there on my notes i must have had one. soooo took my daughter with me to see the senior GP who had been seeing me every 3-4 weeks from coming out of hosp. he was adamant that i had NOT had a heart attack and that my heart was as healthy and strong as his or my daughters (ok we dont really know how healthy that is but……..)
    fast forward another ,almost,3 years and its rearing his ugly head again/ i asked for a copy of the letter which says i had had a heart attack. it tells of the blood results at the beginning and near the end that the echocardiogram showed a good LV function, no clear wall motion abnormality, but said it was a technically difficult scan but no reason given as to why,
    my GP yesterday couldn’t find a report of the echocardiogram on my notes. i am so fed up of this. did i or did i not have a HA, dont matter how bad or how mild. either i did or i didn’t.

    Diltiazem, think i told you i stopped taking mine soon after coming out of hospital because i was convinced that they were to blame for me getting fluid on my feet and ankles within 2 days of being admitted to hosp/ where i had never had any before. was the only thing it could have been/ was in bed with elevated legs etc for 3 days.they just blew up to nearly 3 or 4 times the size (i always had very slim ankles before then ) no way should i have had that and it continued after i came home. only thing that got it down some was walking. but was back up again in minutes of sitting down again. must have been that cos once i stopped taking it i had little trouble till this last 4/5 weeks.. (in almost 6 years)..which she put down to circulation and not enough exercise. which is more than likely right. as a walk in the park monday for about 20 mins. (at my pace), took them down by half what they had been,.
    am now on furosamide 20mg plus buscopan 10mg for the now finally diagnosed IBS. (COULDA TOLD EM THAT WAS WHAT IT WAS.)

    • The enzyme blood test for a coronary is hopelessly unreliable, and very prone to returning false positives. It’s OK as an indicator that more tests are needed, but as a diagnostic tool, it’s crap.

      Diltiazem can cause swollen ankles, it can also cause the exfoliating dermatitis that’s plaguing me at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see if it goes away.

  2. I’m in a similar position and having had to manage various health conditions for 20 years I couldn’t agree more. I need to be an expert in my own situation. Had numerous run in’s with resp med HO’s, cardio HO’s and GP’s. They don’t like it much when I remind them that this is supposed to be a ‘partnership’. So when the start playing with my meds without consulting me I tend to get a bit shirty….. I want to be offered a different course of treatment and have the opportunity to question it before existing prescribed drugs are stopped. I am not a piece of meat on their slab to be chopped up and dissected for their gratification. I also have every right to choose to live as full a life as I am able, whether it is detrimental in the long run or not. I am not going to sit in a corner waiting for god.

    • thanks for that Ron. i rather thought that could be the case.hence my specialists understudy shrugging his shoulders when asked about that blood test. hope your dermatitius does go away …. and im pleased to say, the water tablets seem to already be working as ankle is nothing like as big tonight as its been over last few weeks. mind you the tabs are also doing a better job this time. my loo has seen more of me today than it has all week during the

      Bob i agree wholeheartedly with you on all that. unfortunately those in Westminster seem to think otherwise.and are ensnaring people in the most evil ways and PLAYING God with their health. only their way is to kill as many of us off as they can before they are ousted from the seat of power. unfortunately im not at all sure God is listening to us.

      • Dermatitis is already fading after two days without Diltiazem. Question is, why should it wait for nearly 20 years before messing with me?

        Keep an eye on the Furosemide – it gradually loses its efficacy. I started on 20mg and wound up on 120. Currently on 80.

        • the docs only allowing me to take it for 2 weeks max. so no danger of that. my GP practice dont like giving them as it is. long as it gets rid of the fluid. which it is doing and only on day 1 so far. ankles still up tonight but not as bad as it usually is.and only walking Ive done today is 1. onto patio and back which is outside my door. patio is about 8yards each way . 2. down my front path while seeing my daughter off and back.24yards approx and 3. just now to my neighbours less than 50 yards away from me and back.with an hours break over a cuppa tea in between the latter walks.
          more worried about buscopan side effects. so far taken 1x 10mg every 4 hours (3 tabs so far.) allowed 1-2 at a time upto a max of 6 per day. not done much good so far today. but not taken pain killers/. need to know i am getting no side effects from the buscopan first. i will up to 2 x tds tomorrow. and see how i go but wont take anymore tonight .need to take painkillers tonight so i get decent nights sleep as both abdomen and back are aching a fair bit right now.oh the perils of growing i have a long list of meds now that have given me side effects of one kind or another over the past 10 years. never had that before that.

          • Buscopan for IBS – starting dose 10mg every 8 hours, increased if needed to 20mg every 6 hours. There’s no dose every 4 hours. Don’t forget, 3 or 4 times a day is over 24 hours, not the waking day – every 8 or 6 hours respectively. See page 2 of this document or page 48 of the BNF.

            As for side effects, there is no drug which is free of them – it’s a case of striking a balance between benefits and problems – if the former exceed the latter, it’s a win.

            I’m getting problems with drugs I’ve not previously had, like the dermatitis. I’m surprised my liver still works as well as it does, given the abuse it’s suffered from multiple drug use over the years (currently 19 drugs daily), and I suspect that increasing side effects with age is an indicator that the liver is unhappy.

            • you could well be right . as i said before its only as ive got older that ive had side effects ive never had before. to meds, some of which i have had before others not. having said that i have regular kidney and liver tests done as a result of the lansoprazole i take. they are fine. last ones taken feb this year.
              as for buscopan.. read the leaflet you gave me link for. on the box of buscopan i have it says 1-2 tablets 4 times a day. and i decided to check with my pharmacist about the 24 hour thing and im told the 4 times a day is 4 times in the 12 hours of day time.(her words.) as im up for 14 -16 hours a day ill do it within that time. i lose enough sleep getting up to go loo or with leg cramps ~(though the latter seems to have almost stopped lately). as it is i can go to loo with my eyes almost closed and back to bed and straight off to sleep again so the interupton is minimal. were i to have to wake at 6 for instance to take meds i would be far too wide awake to go off again as would probably only have had 4 hours by then . big believer in needing my 8 hours sleep if i can get them which is i why i dot get up till around 9.30-10am, today the ache seems to be more towards my left hip tho residual in lower abdomen and lower back.

              • Your pharmacist is an incompetent fool and should be fired. I’ve been told the 24-hour-day rule by GPs. pharmacists and consultants for nearly 50 years, and the British National Formulary is very clear on the subject, with specific references to not missing the night-time dose.

                Taking drugs too frequently can be dangerous, even fatal, increasing the risk of anaphylactic shock, which can kill before you can even get to the phone. At best, it will worsen any side effects as you will be constantly overdosed during the day.

                As for losing sleep, take the night-time dose when you’re up for some other reason close to the time – an hour either way won’t hurt for one dose a day. Or just bite the bullet and set the alarm. I take over 20 tabs and caps at 06.00 every morning, and just go back to sleep – I don’t even need to fully wake up as they’re already set out, and I have water – takes just a few seconds and I’m gone again.

                • i wouldnt dare leave tablets set out. i have a dog here who just might (tho not sure if he would) eat them. would not risk it..
                  anyway. as far as these tablets are concerned/2 x 3 times a day seems to be doing the job ok. 11am 5pm 11pm and no i would not get back to sleep that easily. if i get leg cramps that take a while to go away i have trouble getting back off to sleep.your lucky if you can get back off like that. as for my pharmacist its all i have unless i bother my doc.maybe tomorrow, out of curiosity i might phone the other 3 pharmacists in our town and see what they say.

                  • When I say set out tablets, I mean in a container of some sort, like a tablet bottle – not lying around loose.

                    And trust me, getting back to sleep after chugging a handful of tablets is far easier than after cramp!

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