Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hypertension 49: Where are we at now?

It's been a long while since I have posted anything on this blog about Hypertension? Why the delay? The basic reason is that through multiple postings I was able to write down my history. Once I got that far, there seemed to be nothing particularly new.

Right now, I am waiting for a followup with my third specialist. The first specialist moved to Alberta. The second generally only saw people once as he worked out of a hospital cardiology ward. So I've now hooked up with a third specialist.

Seeing the third specialist meant going through a new battery of various tests & bloodwork. In particular, I wore a blood pressure arm cuff for twenty four hours. It is just like the home cuff I use, but it's attached to a battery pack and a an electronic data gathering device. Every half hour, it would pump up, no matter what I was doing. Kinda cool, actually.

I have no idea what the readings ended up being. I was out late that night as it was the first night, at midnight, that the last Harry Potter book went public. My 18 year old daughter had to pick up her pre-ordered copy asap, so we went down to the bookstore together. It was a marvelous experience, seeing a bookstore mobbed with eager readers! I like the Potter series, although I've only read the first two--I was partway through the third when my daughter lent it to a friend, & I've never seen it again. Tributes to Rowling for writing so well that she has brought millions of readers into bookstores!!

My blood pressure remains unstable, but is generally below 140 systolic and hovers around 80 diastolic. I gather the diastolic readings are still not good, but often my systolic readings are in the normal range. At times, though--as when I started this morning--the readings are still too high (this morning, 151/88), especially given the multiple prescription medications I take.

Life remains draggy, meds-wise. One would think that if those doctors who insist that it just takes a little time to adjust to the meds are correct, that by now I would have adjusted--it has been over two years, after all. Whether the feels of weakness and tiredness are due to low blood pressure, the side effects of the medications, or some combination of both--who knows?

But the end result is that while I can work, I can only work successfully with a reduced work load. I can still produce the right amount of completed work, provided I do not have to juggle too much. The more work, the less gets done. It is as if concentrating and focussing uses up so much energy that, if I work very hard in the morning, it is almost impossible to stay awake in the afternoon. I have yet to find a way around this.

I did stop exercising for a while after my mom was in and out of hospital due to heart attacks. She also had to move into a nursing home. I'll try restarting the gym shortly--but, interestingly, it appears to have had no special impact on either my blood pressure or my weight.

The best advice for weight loss came from my third specialist. He did not bother with calorie counting, he just told me to get used to being hungry. Believe it or not, that worked--I just don't eat when I get hungry. That approach must be combined with sensible eating, of course. I find an ice cream cone today adds a pound or more within two days. Simple as that. Gotta avoid the ice cream, the chocolate, the pizza--all that stuff. I lost the most weight when for a few days I simply ate canteloupe and cottage cheese. That was filling, but very low in calories.

Some decisions are coming up--do I keep working full time, do I retire on a small pension & find other work, do I go to part time work? At 62 I don't feel like retiring, although I would find plenty to do. We are all too much tied into our paid work ethic, I guess.

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