It was just a matter of time before I would develop high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. My mother had it for years and was taking medication for it. My mom and I have the exact same temperament. Everything that happens, from the smallest annoyance to a major headache, sets us off. So I always knew one day I would have to face the music and deal with this health issue.
Now hypertension doesn’t have any symptoms, so it’s pretty hard to figure out something is wrong on your own unless a major consequence occurs. I do see a doctor regularly, about once a year, but maybe that’s not enough. Last November you may recall I was whining about a bout of bronchitis that I was suffering through. When I went in to be checked out and for medication, the nurse told me my blood pressure was high. I stored the information in the back of my head because I was still unpacking, the holidays were approaching and the weather was lousy for weeks. I considered it may have been a momentary thing and that my blood pressure could have gone back to normal on it’s own. However, I am not one to take chances with my health after having a couple of scares in my lifetime.
On Sunday we went to my aunt’s birthday party. Before going to the party I stopped at my cousin Maria’s house so she could measure my blood pressure. I wanted to know if it was high and if so, how high. Then I could make my doctor’s appointment and give him some numbers to work with. Well, first Maria uses her hand held blood pressure device. She takes it twice, after giving me time in between, and it comes out to 157 over 84. Okay, that’s enough to scare me because I know the (old) normal is 120 over 80 and I have no clue if I am in the danger zone. She decides to take me into her bedroom where she has a more advanced technological machine that reads it for you automatically and she is thinking this will confirm her other readings and we can be more sure. Well, at first the machine kind of malfunctions and gives a bad reading, so it has to be reset. Then it looks like it works, except now the readings are even worse…174 over 86...something outrageous like that. She doesn’t seem to be concerned, but I am. I felt like I had "one foot in the grave" as my mom used to say. I don’t know what to make of this except an appointment to see my doctor on Thursday afternoon. I may need medication to get it under control, but I would like to try and control it with diet in the future, if possible. The last thing I want to do is have a long row of pills to take every day for a half dozen conditions. I already take Fosamax and calcium for my osteoporosis, which my mom also had.
Getting older is a real pain in the ass. Doctor appointments and pills. Waiting in the office and waiting at the pharmacy. But what can you do? Neglecting your health only makes things worse and harder to fix…sometimes the damage is irreversible. So I would rather err on the side of caution. And, if you are reading this and have been neglecting your health, or maybe putting off an appointment for a mammogram or other screening, you should stop right now and pick up that phone. There is never a good time to see the doctor, but the best time is before something serious happens.
And next I am going to make an appointment for my mammogram, it's been a year snce I have done that!