It’s a funny thing trying to stay calm so that you don’t raise your blood pressure…after being told that you have high blood pressure. It’s like trying not to think of pink elephants or whatever that mental trick is. Except it involves a lot more google searches and prescription Netflix.
When I was at the doctor at the beginning of December for my one-month ADHD med check they decided that my blood pressure might be a good thing to check. I don’t even remember the last time that it was checked because a) I have not taken good care of my own health while I’ve been looking after everyone else (yes, I know that’s stupid), and b) it’s never been high in my life. Not ever. Not even when I was pregnant with the twins. When I was a teenager it was low and I passed out every morning. Luckily the freshman 15-and-then-some took care of that problem. So it’s just not anything we ever thought we had to worry about with me. So we were all shocked that it was high.
I was told to monitor it for a month and I also moved up a dose on the ADHD meds. I began checking my blood pressure at home, but Nerdguy’s machine seemed like something an assassin would use so I wasn’t all that jazzed about checking it. For some reason it was set to boa constrictor mode with me, but after a few days it either decided I had passed the hazing ritual or I had killed all the nerves in my arm, and it got more bearable. But the numbers got worse. And even worse. And that’s when I googled.
Phrases such as Hypertensive Crisis and seek emergency medical care seem like the wrong things to say to someone with high blood pressure don’t they?
I set off to the walk-in clinic the Sunday before Christmas with my laptop in hand because if I was going to catch 9 new diseases at the clinic, I was at least going to meet my deadlines the next day. I was kind of surprised that they weren’t all that interested in my blood pressure when I checked in and they sent me to sit down for two hours. When the nurse finally called me in my blood pressure had shot way above what it had been at home. Both numbers were in the wrong hundreds. I couldn’t figure out why the doctor didn’t really want to hear anything that I had to say while he was typing, but it was because he was writing a note for me to take to the ER. The staff all wished me luck with a look in their eyes that seemed like they were studying my face so they would recognize me in my obituary photo. The only part that could have made it less reassuring would be if they had tied the note around my big toe.
Off to the hospital I went, terrified that they were going to admit me. I wasn’t anywhere near ready for Christmas – I still had stocking stuffers to buy, and Santa/parent ratios to figure out. And we were having my mother for dinner and I didn’t want her or the kids to know what was going on. I started formulating escape plans. All the while a story that I had read in a Heart & Stroke campaign letter years ago about a mom ignoring the signs of a heart attack at Christmas kept running through the back of my head. I knew my health was more important.
All my tests came back fine but my blood pressure was all over the map. I was prescribed a med to bring it down and advised to come off the ADHD meds. And mercifully sent home to be with my family.
Christmas has been a week of worrying, resting, enjoying my family, doing only what’s necessary because OMG I’m exhausted, and watching what I eat. And being thankful for being here.
I went back to the doctor today because my bp is still quite high, but in the office it wasn’t scary-high, and the doctor talked me through the anxiety I have been having that I might suddenly drop dead. He says I won’t. I also made him examine three moles in exchange for a promise to stop googling. I hope he didn’t see my fingers crossed.
The bad news is that he got his medical degree from the same university that misspelled the word innovation on my alumni hat. Google is suddenly looking a lot more reliable.
I’m going into 2015 feeling a weird mixture of nervous, grateful, determined, and hungry. Thank you all for being with me this year. I’m so grateful to all of you for supporting and encouraging me, and I hope that the New Year brings great health and happiness for all of you. Also please let me know what you would like to see more of here on the Deck in 2015 – if you say crafts or recipes I am going to assume you’re telling jokes to raise my spirits. I will also have a sign-up sheet circulating for those of you willing to do my Dr. Google searches for the year – I think Nerdguy is monitoring my search history for phrases like sudden-onset hypertension correlation with melanoma. We’ll need a secret code and a burner phone.
Happy New Year!!