The Hypertension Tolerance Test

Although when I was taken to Methodist, Beth correctly indicated my religious preference as “atheist” (and if you can’t back it up on your near-death bed, what kind of a rubbish atheist are you?), I’ve always thought that any given piece of writing can’t have enough biblical text in in it.  I even whipped out 1 Corinthians 13:13 to send in a text while I was in rehab at the Hospital for Joint Disease.  Today’s text is, “Physician, heal thyself.” (Luke 4:23)  And it’s not applicable to any doctor; no, it’s a message to myself.

On Monday evening, I wrote an impassioned message to a friend, regarding a family member (hers) ‘s reluctance to address his high blood pressure.  The gist of it was, that’s fine for the family member, but they need to think about the devastation they’ll be wreaking on their loved ones when the pigeons come home to roost.  Y’see, in the immediate aftermath of my stroke, and in the midst of a near-death experience, my brain thought I was wandering in my late grandfather’s garden in Morayshire.  Lovely.  Easy access to imaginary top quality scotch, butteries and fishcakes.  Meanwhile, Beth had to wait for the ambulance with her comatose lover for company. Thereafter, I have no memory of most of the next month, but she had to live through the brain surgery, the morbidly downbeat prognoses, and so on. Without the conscious me being around to offer any support, either. Meanwhile, my poor old daughter was frequently visiting me on the way home from school, and, from what I can gather, wasn’t sure what to make of her old man, with tubes coming out of his head. Would’ve freaked me out, that’s all I know.

Shortly after I had finished with my correspondence, I got a call to schedule my latest late-breaking home nurse check-in.  The one where the nurse checks my vitals, including, primarily, whether my heart is still beating.  Well, these vitals included my blood pressure, which was a bit high, on the first reading on my right arm.  And my left arm.  And my right arm (second reading).  By the time we took a follow-up reading with the electronic monitor, we’d been on the phone to the doctor in charge of my case, and I was very stressed out.  Yep, another high reading.  The recommendation was that I get myself to the ER or an urgent care center, so that a doctor could see me in person, and fiddle with my meds, as necessary.

My feeling was, my readings had been good for the past month, so why were we getting me stressed on account of one bad reading?  My frustration with this aspect of the evening was getting me even more het up.  But the pros were concerned enough to make a big deal about it, and in light of my recent e-mail, it would be ridiculous not to get things checked out.  Beth and I walked to the urgent care center on fifth avenue.  I’d never been to one of these before.  They’re great!  You get seen right away.  The interior design is decent quality.  And the restrooms haven’t been painted with blood, shit and snotters, like in the average E.R.  The absence of screaming is encouraging, too.  As is the doctor, who has an excellent manner, and is the first professional tonight not to totally freak me out.  She tweaks my meds in consultation with my head doctor, gives me some referrals for cardiologists, and by the time I get home, I’m a lot calmer.

Until I realize that, in a classic stroke patient move, I’ve left my phone in the car, but even then, the nice lady in the back seat picks up, and 30 minutes later, the drivers back with my spare brain (and, the one that remembers dates and the details of my correspondence).

Yep.  A good day.

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