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!