Smarter ‘n a 5th Grader
There is some show on T.V. these days called ‘Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.’ I have to confess I watch little television, so I haven’t seen it. Maybe I need to watch, though.
Not long ago I saw a patient with malignant hypertension. I was very worried about her. When we started out her BP was 240/120, and I was afraid she’d have a stroke before I got it under control. It took some time, but I began to breathe a sigh of relief once we got down to the 150/90 range.
She was on two meds. As much as I hated to do it, a third was indicated.
“Tell you what Ms. Little. I hate to have you on so many pills, but we still need to be a bit lower. You still following your diet?”
“Yes, sir. I ain’t had no salt a’tall.”
“O.K. Let’s add this- one twice a day. I need to see back in two weeks. We’re getting there, though.”
When she returned in two weeks as instructed, she was weak and dizzy. Her blood pressure was 90/50. “Gee, Ms. Little. I’m sorry. I guess I overshot it, maybe we better cut this one pill down to one a day.”
“Could my dog have anything to do with it?”
“My granddaughter said I needed to get a dog. She said ever since her Paw-Paw died I ain’t got nobody to look after, and a dog would help me. She read it on the Internet.”
“Hm. Well, I sure don’t see how it could hurt. What kinda dog didja get?”
“She’s a mutt. A real sweetie, too. I love that little dog, I tell ‘ya.”
“Well, Ms. Little. I do believe that is a good idea. How old is your granddaughter?”
“She’s in the fifth grade.”
Dang, scooped by a fifth grader. Maybe I’d better watch more T.V. “O.K. Ms. Little. Tell you what. You cut out that last medicine. And hold onto that dog, too.”
I saw her back in two weeks. She is 118/74 and feels great. From now on, I’m gonna remember two scripts and a dog might trump three meds and no pet therapy. I can’t afford not to be as smart as a fifth grader. It might be bad for my reputation.
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