I Just Walked Out, In A Huff, From Deborah Varney, DMD, Pittsfield, N.H., Over Dentists Insisting On Taking My Blood Pressure.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

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Deborah Varney, DMD of Pittsfield. Click to ENLARGE.

Deborah Varney, DMD of Pittsfield. Click to ENLARGE.

I never thought that it would come to this.

I thought I had thrashed this out with my old dentist and that it was not a ‘non-negotiable’ issue.

I don’t want anybody other than a licensed nurse, a board-approved doctor or Deanna (who was an LNA for nearly a decade) taking my blood pressure. It is MY blood pressure and I, for very easily justifiable reasons, am very fussy as to who takes my pressure and HOW it is taken.

I will not have a dental hygienist trying to take MY blood pressure using a $40 automated cuff they bought off Craig’s List!

Blood pressure and blood pressure monitoring happens to be just another of the many topics that I do know something about. Doctors have been busting my chops about my blood pressure for 20 years. Given that I am a certified Type A+++++ personality, known far and wide for being passionate about many things, it is not surprising that my blood runs hot. In 1997, a very astute Indian Cardiologist, at Lakes Region, put me on a handful of high blood pressure medication for preventive reasons — though my pressure at the time was below 140/70. He, and a urologist who put me on Cardura around the same time, were BIG into preventive medication for folks like me. Thanks to these doctors and their preventive measures I have to take a large handful of pills everyday. I don’t even know how many since Deanna dispenses them for me, in a large, white plastic cup, each night. I think I take about a dozen pills every night.

With that cocktail of concoctions I tend to be fine! That I slog up hills 6-days a week, watch my diet like a crazy person and weight 161 pounds (at 5′ 9″) might help too.

I know that automated blood pressure monitors are not accurate — unless they are calibrated. Yes, I have had cardiologists calibrate my machines (and be amazed by how far out they were, out of the box).

I know, and I am living proof, that my blood pressure differs by 10 – 20 points DEPENDING on which arm the reading is taken — especially as I have a damaged bicep on my right arm from an accident involving dogs, sleds and ice.

I have uncontrollable white coat syndrome.

My cardiologist, the ever impeccable Dr. Hanlon, of Catholic Medical, understands and appreciates that. That I have had more EKGs in the last few years, than most people of my age have had sex in a year, has helped him realize that I most likely will hobble through for another few years — especially if I insist on running up hills most days of the week. So we have a deal. Deanna takes my blood pressure, first thing in the morning — when I LET HER! He, as my cardiologist, will buy Deanna’s readings. That works.

So, I am not going to have my blood pressure taken, with a machine, by a dental hygienist.

Deborah Varney wanted a showdown on this. I either get my blood pressure taken or I walk. I walked. IF I was having a procedure, I would have relented, because, in general, I am only 90% unreasonable. All I was there was for a cleaning. No shots and hopefully no bleeding.

This was never an issue with my prior dentist. I told the hygienist, upfront, long time ago: no blood pressure, NO FLOSSING my teeth! The latter has to do with human kindness. Compared to most I have good teeth. But, even with that I think it is DEMEANING for an hygienist to floss somebody else’s teeth. I am perfectly capable of flossing my own teeth and I do so diligently a few times a day! To me, getting somebody else flossing your teeth is akin to asking somebody else to wipe your butt! I can’t clean my own teeth BECAUSE I don’t have the proper ultrasonic machinery. But, I sure have everything I need to floss my teeth. So why demean a nice lady by asking her to floss my teeth.

Anyhow … I am through with Deborah Varney and her practice. She might be a very good dentist — but I will never know. I will make one observation. I only met her briefly but, and I could be very wrong, she didn’t come across as somebody that was that worried about heart health. I could be wrong on that. 


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