Sometimes patients don’t know the danger they are in and even if it is explained to them. They either are not bothered or not intelligent enough to understand. Four days ago I had this man Satish who works for a friend of mine. Satish developed some discomfort in the chest which he attributed to gas and managed a day or two with antacid tablets. As the pain kept coming back, his boss forced him to see me. There was nothing remarkable in his history except that there was early death of his father when Satish was a child of five years. Satish is now 40.
A blood pressure check was horrifying. This otherwise hale and hearty looking fellow had a blood pressure of 240 over 140, highest recorded in my practice in recent years. His pain chest was due to his heart bursting virtually at its seams against this high resistance! Immediate administration of quick acting medication brought his blood pressure down to 160 over 90 and the tests showed strained heart muscle. His blood lipids too were sky high.
His chest discomfort had disappeared. I interviewed Satish and his wife and spent time explaining the seriousness of the illness and why he should change his lifestyle, take regular exercise, eat low calorie food and take medication. The vacant and rather bored expression on their faces never changed throughout the half an hour they spent with me.
The parting question that was put to me by his wife said it all. ‘Sir, he is very fond of ghee, can I put two spoons of it in his rasam rice?’
If I felt like beating my head against the wall will you blame me?