Thursday, August 23, 2007

holy shit

i went to my "welcome to medicare" physical exam. my last exam was in 2004. i was in good health then. psa low. cholesterol low. heart good, etc. i was not in the least concerned about this exam. i'm healthy, i feel strong and good. i didn't expect surprises. the nurse doing intake took my temp. normal. took my blood pressure. whoa!! 175/105!!!

i kinda tossed it off. my bp has always been way normal. 120/75 or something. the nurse says some people have "white gown syndrome," meaning nervousness in medical situations. i tell her, only if you have a needle in your hand. she says maybe i'll check again before you leave. i wait for the doctor.

he arrives. he was recommended to me by a good friend. this worked out well. very nice guy. tres thorough. asks what concerns i had. we talked about what i thought is arthritis in my left elbow and what he applied his knowledge of anatomy to, and suggested is tendonitis --- i have tennis elbow. try aleve for a week while resting that arm, to reduce the inflammation. ok. can do. my other concern is my skin. i have that thin anglo skin that bruises easily and is subject to sun damage. i have in the past had a doctor freeze off bits here and there. medicare is sending me to a dermatologist.

he also asked many questions about my general health and diet and had his assistants schedule two more appointments for me. one for an echocardiagram and one for AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysms) screening.

on the way home i drove to safeway to check my bp on their machine. 175/107. it's official. my blood pressure is way too high, stage 2 on some scales. the doctor gave me a DASH diet printout. (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) it describes fairly well my diet for most of my adult life. certainly the past 30 years. not much room there for DASHing. various places on the intertubes list genetics as a large factor in hypertension, which can lead to heart problems. my father had a major heart attack and both of his parents died of heart attack. that could be a clue.

after i got home i caught on that many of the doctor's questions had to do with hypertension. so now i'm trying not to think of the elephant in the room. more tests will possibly add some info. i don't feel any differently than i did before i had my bp measured. except i'm totally numb and out of my body, and thinking of the worst possibilities. but no physical symptoms.

my new digital friend and my arm. this is after i've plied myself with good wine and good food. the doctor suggested that i monitor my BP for a while, so we got this neat hitech sphygmomanometer. i've gone from no-meds, no worry to aleve every 12 hrs and BP measure every 6 hrs. i've been medicalized. i am back in my body now and back to regular life, but the realities of age and mortality are in sharper focus.

the machine's memory of robin's BP.


i'll add an update here, instead of replies to each.

thanks for your concern and well-wishes and advice. there is scant room for improving my diet. we do use salt, but eat zero processed food. we use salt free tamari. we eat mostly vegetarian. some chicken, some eggs. rice. pasta. lots of veggies. lots of garlic. i checked the Resparate which was recommended by def59485. it is a biofeedback device to aid in breath control. i can maintain a rate of 6 breaths per minute fairly well on my own, which is below the target rate of 10, and that did drop my BP down to 145/96. i'll endeavor to maintain a longer, deeper breath rate throughout the day.

my concern is mainly that my diet is already good and has not changed for many years. i do get less exercise than i did when i was a working carpenter, so i will have to add some exertion somewhere, but i'll wait for the heart and circulation tests to find out if i have some physical problems. drugs are pretty much out of the question for me. i have found on the internet some interesting herbal remedies.

more exercise, slow breathing and sipping wine all day wouldn't be such an onerous regimen.

my best wishes to all of you for your own continued good health.

i did wonder if robin and i could average our BPs and declare ourselves a healthy duo.


another update---cuz i'm trying not to use my left elbow, while taking aleve, which i forgot this am....and i don't sit still very well...

thursday 7;16 pm---- 137/93 blood chem report report from the nurse " the doctor says 'you're a picture of health'" details later.

ok. i won't go on. bp does seem to vary widely! i have a haphazard past to draw on for yoga and meditation. i'm on it. i'll consider meds if required. this doesn't seem to be as bad as i had feared.

good night and good luck to us all.

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