Dixie Peach: In Which I Act Pitiful to Gain Your Sympathy

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In Which I Act Pitiful to Gain Your Sympathy

Did I mention that wearing the 24 hour blood pressure cuff was irksome? And it was! It was if "irksome" is this season's new word for "insanity inducing painful". I'm fairly certain that this device I wore all day and all night yesterday appears on the CIA's list for "enhanced interrogation" methods.

By the time it was midnight, I was about to scream. It had been going off every fifteen minutes but would do it twice per session so eight times an hour I was having the shit squeezed out of my arm. It had switched over to night mode around 9pm but I was still having it go off four times an hour. I was still concerned that I kept getting error readings but later on it got over whatever was throwing it off and began taking proper measurements again - at least it would after one false start.

Sleep wasn't looking like it would be a reality so I stayed up to watch the Republican nominee debates on CNN. I have to say it seems insane for me to have my blood pressure measured while I'm watching politicians say things that make me want to slap their heads off but sometimes they're so ridiculous that it's good for a giggle. I, however, was in no mood for amusement of any sort. By 3:00am my left arm felt terrible. It had good color and it was warm but it was also terribly painful from having it squeezed so hard so many times and my arm from the elbow down was very swollen. At one point when the cuff pumped up it squeezed my arm so hard I thought my fingertips would burst open.

I finally abandoned the dog and pony show Republican debates and made a stab at trying to sleep. Sleeping on my left side was out, sleeping on my stomach was out, sleeping on my back always makes me feel like my boobs are sliding up and threatening to choke off my breathing so that left sleeping on my right side. And it worked. I wasn't sleeping because every half hour I'd have the cuff pump up and start the shooting pains down my arm only to have it happen a second time three minutes later because the first attempt was always in error. But I was at least able to close my eyes and be quiet - that is until I was dying to shift my position and there was no position to where I could shift.

It was at that moment that I developed a whole new appreciation for my husband and what he has to endure. You'd think I would already have a good idea of what the paralyzed endure but having my right arm bound up and unable to move it freely made me realize that B puts up with stuff that would have me become a sniveling baby within ten minutes. I mean just how does B put up with not being able to shift into a more comfortable position? He hates to wake me up unless he really has to so if he's laying funny or his shoulder or ear becomes weary of being laid upon, he just puts up with it. Me? I'm way too much of a crybaby to deal with that sort of thing.

By the time 5:15am rolled around the cuff was back on daytime readings so any rest I may have gotten was again back to being interrupted eight times an hour. I was absolutely miserable laying there with tears in my eyes and couldn't wait until I could get back to the doctor's office. I finally got up at 6:30am, washed my face, brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, dressed and was out at the streetcar stop before 7:00. I arrived at the doctor's by 7:20 and waited another half hour before the doctor's assistant removed the devil's plaything from my arm and got the readings off of it.

My doctor, upon inspecting the results, said "Your blood pressure is a catastrophe.". And a good morning to you too, Frau Doctor! But it was. The median reading was 184/118. It even sucked during the night readings but in my defense it's not like I ever slept. What is puzzling the doctor even more is why my blood pressure would shoot up like this in less than a month. When I had seen my doctor on November 8th my blood pressure was its customary 120/80. When I saw my gyn on November 15th my blood pressure was 188/124. She asked me if I had headaches (no) or bouts of dizziness (no) and the only symptom I could report was that my hands and feet had been feeling swollen a little too often.

The doctor ended up giving me some medication to tackle things as they are now - a combination drug to lower my blood pressure, lower my pulse (because it had been running about 95bpm) and to relieve the swelling in my hands and feet. I've taken one pill and just now my blood pressure was 146/98 and my pulse was 72bpm. Much improved except I still have no idea why one week I'd be perfectly normal and the next week my blood pressure would be ringing the bell. I'll be on this medication for a week, see the doctor next Thursday and see where I am at that point.

I don't like the idea of having to take blood pressure medication every day but I like the idea of having a stroke even less. And if it keeps the Cuff of Hell off my arm, I'll comply.

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Blogger Rositta said...

Did you take any over the counter cold medicines or antihistamines while you where on your trip? They have been know to cause high b/p. I know what you mean mine also went from 120/80 to high almost overnight but fortunately not as high as yours. I am not taking pills right now and it seems to be hovering around 135/90 but goes up in the mornings to 150/100. My migraine drug Maxalt has also been fingered as a culprit so I no longer take that. Good luck...ciao

1:47 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

I blame Sonic.

5:12 AM  
Blogger sari said...

the whole thing just sounds like a nightmare. I'm glad the cuff is off but I hope she can figure out what is going on, and quick!

5:30 AM  
Blogger The DP said...

i told you it would hurt! Sorry you had to do it. Although mine only did twice an hour and once an hour at night. THe worst part was going to work looking like an oompa loompa.
I hope your meds aren't making you a zombie.

7:15 AM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

All I can say is that I'm glad that the high bp was discovered quickly and that you weren't walking around with it for months between visits to the doctor. I always had borderline high blood pressure, and then I lost 40 lbs. Low and behold, my blood pressure is now normal. My mom lost fifty pounds, and then ended up having to be put on medication because her bp was too high. Sometimes diet and exercise can't help and medication is the only solution. Yeah, taking pills sucks, but you're right: it's better than having a stroke.

8:51 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Oh my! Big sympathetic hugs to you. Yes, I know about the irksomness of that stupid 24 hr blood pressure thing. Had to do it a couple of years ago when my BP never seemed to go under 140/90 (borderline high for someone my age, they said) and it was NOT fun. Didn't sleep a wink and then the batteries conked out about 3/4 of the way through but they said they still got enough readings. They never found out why my BP was heading up there, but it seems to be back to normal now.

But I AM quite alarmed about yours! Hopefully the meds will help - would be great to know what's causing it, though. Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Hypo or hyper can both mess with blood pressure.

Feel better soon!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Clearly your tater tot levels are alarmingly low!

I hope Frau Doctor figures out what the heck is going on, and that your bp gets back to normal soon! ((((hugs))))

2:24 PM  
Blogger jane said...


i don't know you but am a regular reader - and am grateful you had your pressure checked. my husband had something similar happen - had been normal and then it rocketed up. he found out during his immigration physical (he came from the UK to here - via 14 years in germany, but that's another story!) he's done well with diet, exercise and medicine. it was a big wakeup call for him.

take care of yourself. you've got a lovely blog and i like your sensibilities. the love story is great as well!


p.s. i keep wondering if your trip to america triggered this! i know there was a lot of eating and drinking!!! ;)

3:34 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Thanks, y'all...I appreciate everyone's concern. It is a little scary to suddenly be diagnosed with high blood pressure but hopefully I can get some control over it soon and my doctor can find some reason behind it. I'm definitely going to suggest checking my thyroid as couldn't hurt, could it? And you know it really may be just some hedonistic activity while I was on vacation that tipped the scales, so to speak.

Thanks again for the concern, everyone!

9:55 PM  

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