Just One Thing – the blood pressure edition

So I missed posting last week. I actually have no excuse, I truly forgot. So I’m getting in early this week – partly because I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Wellington and partly because of said trip to Wellington I’ll be so far out of routine next week that my just one thing is likely to be “must not drink too much.”

I’m heading over to see one of my besties and whenever we get together there’s always too much food eaten and too much wine (or gin) drunk. There’s also plenty of chat and laughter.

Anyways, last week my just one thing was all about heart health and blood pressure.

I’m that person who avoids doctors as far as possible – irresponsibly so. I rarely get ill so I rarely have cause to go – which means, of course, I’m slack on the whole blood test thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do have my regular biennial mammogram, but that’s pretty much where it stops.

About 12 months ago though I decided enough was enough with the menopausal brain fog, anxiety, skin crawls, and hot flushes so took myself off to get patches. Thankfully the doctor I chose was a woman of a similar age to me and was going through the same things I was. I told her how much I weighed and she chose not to lecture me about it. And when my blood pressure came in very high, she correctly surmised that I had white coat syndrome, gave me an ECG to ensure I wasn’t in danger of a heart attack, and lent me a blood pressure monitor for a few days to get a more accurate reading – which, while still high, was much lower than that recorded in the surgery.

When my blood results came back and my cholesterol was deemed a tad high (but everything else ok) we chatted about a more Mediterranean-style diet (and less butter) and she sent me away with prescriptions for the said patches and some blood pressure meds.

All was good until I had to go back for a repeat and she was on her holiday. I had to see another doctor in the practice and he spent most of the consultation trying to get me to stand on the scales. ‘Why? I’ve told you what I weigh. I weigh myself at the same time on the same days in the same state of undress. Why would I stand on your scales fully dressed and add a few kilos to that number?’

‘Because I need to see your weight,’ he said.

‘Because you don’t believe me?’

I held firm and eventually he backed down but typed in the notes ‘wouldn’t stand on scales, says she weighs xxkgs.’

By the time he came to take my blood pressure I was steaming and my BP was very high indeed. That prompted a lecture about taking my meds and my weight and the whole shebang.

I went straight out and bought my own BP monitor and by the afternoon my BP was back within the normal for me range. And ever since I check my BP regularly – at least once weekly. And as I do, I congratulate myself on my responsible adulting.

My scripts are due for another repeat so this week I was ready. I took my BP daily and took a photo of it – just in case. I weighed myself as I always do and took a photo of that too. My doctor was back though so the evidence wasn’t required.

As the BP readings I took averaged out to 121/82 she was happy. Not so happy about my weight but as she said, ‘you know what to do, you know how to do it, you’re brain hasn’t caught up with the why just yet.’

We chatted about my ankle and how the ligaments had stiffened and what I could do about that and I told her that mobility was the “why” my brain needed. I’ll do the blood test thing when I’m back from Wellington.

Anyways, I can see the distinctive black and white koru on the tail of my ride to Wellington and I still have to buy a book to take with me – it’s part of my pre-flight ritual, and everyone knows that books bought at airports don’t count against your annual book budget.

Until next week…

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

27 thoughts

  1. Enjoy your special time away. Walk and perhaps swap out one gin for just fuzzy water? But mostly just enjoy. The rest of the list will fall into place later.

  2. Have fun and don’t worry about your BP. In fact, R&R with a good friend and some wine, usually brings my BP right down to where it should be.

  3. I hope you have a fab time away and I look forward to seeing all the foodie photos. Unfortunately I expect your day job plays a big influence on your BP readings. I also believe the menopause messes up a lot of our readings but I’m not sure medical guidelines/research has been directed to explore this fact. I have to get my blood tests done for cholesterol and have been putting it off for months to the point that my surgery phoned me the other week to chase me up! I guess I had better get it sorted but I’m like you and try to avoid going to the doctors unless I really have to.

      1. Yes but I’m normally one for prevention rather than cure. I’m good with mammograms and skin checks but for some reason I’m having a teenage strop (as you mentioned to Sue) about my cholesterol test – probably because I know they might not be as positive as I would like.

  4. Have a great time in Wellington, Jo. I have made an appointment with a new GP and am having a blood test and other referrals done. My BP used to be sky high so I was on medication for quite some time. I do need to get back to the cardiologist (who told me to stop taking the BP medication) and really start with a new baseline of health. Take care and you do know what you need to do and I know you will. xx

  5. Have a wonderful time over here in Wellington! Should be sunny tomorrow and Tuesday with rain on Wednesday. Looking forward to hearing about your trip.

    BP is so difficult – I also suffer from white coat syndrome as I think a lot of people do. We all know what we should do…..

  6. I am truly awful at avoiding doctors too; but in my defense the last 4 I have had had all moved out of our area within just 1 or 2 short visits and I kind of fee like why bother? I’ll just have to find another one next year. Luckily even though I go so long between visits they never really find anything wrong and just keep telling me to keep doing what I’m doing.

  7. Have a wonderful trip! I never understood why BP was the first thing taken when visiting a doctor. It makes much more sense to wait a bit… even more sense to take it at home. Fortunately, my BP is low… to the point that the doctor puts a mirror under my nose to check that I’m breathing 🙂

    1. Mine was above what it should be but not as bad as when I’m in the surgery. It makes me wonder how many people are diagnosed with high BP when it’s not really that high. It is a case of being safe rather than sorry I guess.

  8. Hi Jo – judging from the pics popping up on FB, it looks like Wellington is definitely agreeing with you. Sorry to hear about the insensitive male doctor and kudos to you sticking to your guns. BP is a weird thing – I have naturally low BP and it irritates my super fit husband no end because mine is quite similar to his (without all the work!) I just take a win when I find one! Also, considering how much you squeeze into your life I’m surprised you even have time to sleep, so elevated BP in the middle of menopause is probably to be expected. Chill out and enjoy your time away (I’m a little bit envious!) x

  9. Wellington is lovely on a good day. Yes, I fully understand the B/P, thingy and have a monitor too. Good for you for standing up to that male doctor. Mine is border line. Have fun with your bestie.

  10. I hear you ion the BP issues, I’m the same and after reading your post checked mine and it was up a bit too and I’ve been on medication for some time now!!! I went out in sympathy with you :). Enjoy your time away and your photos are fabulous Jo. xx

  11. Hope your little get away helps bring down your blood pressure even further. I don’t look when I get weighed at the doctor’s office. I tell the medical assistant that I don’t want to know what my weight is and I ask that she not say it aloud. That has worked for me for several years.

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