Friday, January 15, 2010

White Coat Syndrome

It would appear that I have "white coat syndrome" as it's fondly called in the medical world. Either that or I consider medical tests a reflection of my character and worth and feel worried that I will "fail" if my results aren't where they should be.

It's kind of humorous to think of having white coat syndrome since Dan owns and wears white coats as part of his work attire, and it's not uncommon for me to see him with one on. I even wash them and make sure they're nice and clean for him!

Each time I have an OB appointment, they take my blood pressure, and we discovered that if it was taken before the appointment, it was high but if taken after the appointment, it was normal. Well yesterday it was high before and after the appointment, but later in the evening - at home - when Dan checked it, it was back to normal.

I was nervous at my appointment yesterday because I had taken the infamous glucose screening for gestational diabetes. I felt really really nervous for some reason, and when the medical assistant called me for my regular appointment, I forgot to remind her to save the blood pressure reading for after the appointment until it was too late. My b.p. was really high then, and so I felt even more uneasy.

So the real questions I had to ask myself were: why do I get so nervous and "worked up" about these medical tests? Why do I consider them a reflection of my character?

I hate to fail. I really do. And somehow I've equated medical evaluations with tests that I pass or fail which then reflect on who I am as a person. This isn't a new thing for me really. I first thought about it in college, actually. In an undergraduate health class we were to check our resting heart rate to see if it was in the healthy range. As soon as I knew what the goal was, I thought "what if mine isn't healthy? that will mean I'm not doing everything right. oh no!" and my heart started racing, so my resting heart rate was ridiculously high. It's a vicious cycle. I get nervous - it skews the results - I get more nervous because I wonder if something might be wrong...and so on.

So what am I trying to do about this? I'm trying to just LET GO of my fears, my expectations and my belief that my worth and character are based on my performance.

After all, I really don't want to have to face more tests in order to rule out any real medical concern.

1 comment:

  1. I have this problem, too! My blood pressure at the doctor is always higher, and my pulse is ridiculous.