Tag Archives: Hypertension

Pokes Galore

I had my two-week BP follow-up last week. Like a good girl, I’ve been taking my Lisinopril every day, well, except for one day. I had a glass of wine and decided to skip it, but then I felt guilty for doing so. So I said, what the hay, I’ll have both if I feel like it. YOLO, right?

Doc asked me if I’d been taking my BP. He looked surprised when I said no. I don’t have a personal BP machine, nor do I plan to get one. It did cross my mind while I was at my “favorite” haunt, CVS, but I totally forgot to check it. I mean, why raise your blood pressure?

When he took it, I read 132/80. He was happy with that, but he wants to see me in three months. Which means I have to keep taking this little pink pill for three more months. And he wanted a slew of blood work, fasting. I usually stroll into the lab sometime in the early afternoon. This meant I had to get up early and go get bled before breakfast.

I’ve never been a morning person. I perk up around noon. The idea of rushing out of the house, sans breakfast, to go get needled wasn’t all that appetizing. It took me a few days to psyche myself up, and when I walked into the lab I knew why I go late in the day. It was packed to the rafters.

Two and a half hours it took for them to end up sticking me twice. That’s never happened to me. They always get it on the first try. But I was submissive and said nothing. No need to rattle the phlebotomist and cause her to stick me thrice.

What kept me calm was the ongoing thought that in a couple of days’ time there was going to be another needle introduced into a far more sensitive part of my body. I would have willingly taken a third needle to my right arm in place of that.

I knew two things when I walked into the ophthalmologist’s office. The sight in my right eye was better and I was going to get another shot.

The scan proved me correct. The blood settled by the retina was half gone. Vastly improved, but needing more treatment.

There was only one glitch. The cheaper drug he’d used before was not available, they’d ordered wrong or something. But, he had a sample of the designer drug, if I was of a mind. First, I asked if there was any difference in effect. They were essentially the same he said. It was a matter of dollars and cents for the pharmaceutical.

OK, how impacted would I be in the dollars and cents category? No impact at all, he said.

I mulled it over for a bit. We can order the other drug and you can come back, he said.

Did I need more anxious anticipation?

No. I’m here, prepped and ready I said. Just do it.

The immediate after effect was different. My eye was only slightly red, the sting was mild. I could open my eye, though it was sensitive to light.

I’d driven myself there figuring I’d sit in my car for a bit while the worst of it wore off, but I had no trouble driving home immediately after. I had almost no discomfort for the rest of the evening and night. The next day my eye was slightly pink and slightly sore, a result more than likely from the Betadine antiseptic. I used the artificial tears frequently and as he said, all was back to normal after a day.

The eye injection was definitely easier the second time around but I still don’t want to do it again, though I will probably have to. I did postpone the next appointment a few days past the four-week window as we won’t be in town. We plan to be in NYC celebrating our daughter’s 25th birthday. A quarter century. How did she get so old?

***YOLO = you only live once. I sincerely hope!

 

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The Upward Slide

I own a new adjective: hypertensive.

It’s been over a week since I had the eye injection and the sight in my right eye is somewhat improved. It could be coincidence. It could be that time was going to take care of the problem. It could be the Avastin. It could be both.

The reason I can tell it’s better is because when I look at a straight line, the dip in the middle is now minimal. When I follow the line, it undulates as the dip moves along my line of vision. It’s a phenomenon that makes me want to say: Far out, Man.

Before, the line had a steep downward curve past the midline of my vision field. One reason I could not read with that eye, the words were distorted and blurred in the middle. Now I can make out the words, though they are still a little blurred and slightly curvy in the middle.

My new ophthalmologist was immediately concerned about my blood pressure. Though no vital signs were taken at his office, he wanted me to have it checked out. The ophthalmologist I’d been seeing for years never mentioned my blood pressure when he diagnosed me with a retinal hemorrhage. All he said was let me stick a needle in your eye. But this new doctor was persistent and I promised I would.

My BP ran around 110/60 for years and years. Even on the busiest, non-stop days at work, I hardly broke a sweat. “How do you stay so cool?” the other nurses would ask me. “Why raise your blood pressure?” I would respond.

And now, now that I am retired from all those adrenalin rushes and working at something I enjoy when I feel like it, NOW I get high blood pressure? I suppose a contributing factor could be the sedentary aspect of “ass in chair” that writers suffer. Perhaps a standing desk over a treadmill is in order. You’d think all the years on my feet would have immunized me against hypertension.

It took a few years for it to trend up. First 120’s, then 130s and now 140s/80s. I can’t say I didn’t notice it. All the while I was being seen by a doctor every two months for over TEN years. But no comment was made by either one of us. Vitals are taken as part of the ritual. Something to document. Something to prove you’re still around, heart beating. It’s amazing how tunnel vision develops and you end up focusing on one big thing.

RA.

That’s all we saw, every two months. RA and RA-related numbers. The irony is that RA is probably complicit in these numbers as well. All along, my up-and-coming hypertension was hiding in plain sight.

I’m now on Lisinopril 5 mg daily. “It’s a little dose,” my doctor said. He wants me in the 130s. And he wants to check it again in two weeks. He retook my blood pressure himself, with a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope, though the nurse had already taken it with the blood pressure machine. I liked that he did that. That’s how I started out taking blood pressures on my patients. The good old-fashioned way, where you can trust your own ears and not a mechanical object.

So, heads up: Learn your numbers and talk to your doctor about your blood pressure readings. Stay active and maintain a healthy weight. And if you love salt, cut it out! In all seriousness, I hope no one else has to worry about their BP.