I’m on daily medication to lower my blood pressure.
That’s right… It’s finally happened. I’m just another guy in his early 40s who has high blood pressure and now has to have a prescription medication to take care of that little issue.
Okay, I know that doesn’t necessarily serve as an indicator that I’m old. It just means that I’ve taken it upon myself to see a doctor and, hopefully, prevent a future problem that could be brought on by persistent high blood pressure.
I hate going to the doctor. I mean, does anyone really like going to the doctor? I look back at my life and still feel that I saw plenty of doctors when I was a teenager dealing with an eating disorder. I’ve had my fill… even though that was nearly 30 years ago.
But here’s the thing… Throughout my adult life, I’ve sort of prided myself on my ability and willingness to regularly donate whole blood or platelets with the American Red Cross. But the last time I went to donate, I was turned away. Every time you go to give blood, they do a quick health screening to make sure you’re well enough to get rid of a full pint of blood on that particular day. When I showed up at the Red Cross in November of last year, my blood pressure was higher than normal.
That’s not the first time I’ve been told my blood pressure was too high to give blood. But every other time it had happened in the past, I was able to sit for a few minutes and another nurse would come in and check my blood pressure again, giving me the greenlight because it had returned to normal levels. Of course, I can’t remember what the numbers were, but I know that in my blood pressure being too high, it was only slightly over what is considered normal. And I know that wasn’t the case in November, because the numbers were significantly higher.
While I don’t remember the specific numbers from November, I know I was alarmed. Especially when the second reading gave me the same results.
Being over 40, I’ve known for a while that it would likely be a good idea to find a primary care physician. After all, I haven’t had a regular doctor since I was probably in high school and still on my parents’ insurance. Sure, I’ve made the occasional trip to an Urgent Care facility for a severe case of bronchitis or some sort of injury that needed to be checked out. But I’ve avoided having a doctor of my very own.
I know that’s dumb. And my reasoning isn’t any better. I like going into my healthcare with the idea that what I don’t know can’t hurt me. Idiotic, right? Of course it is.
A few weeks ago I finally made the call. Well… not a call, really, as much as a click on a clinic’s website and scheduled an appointment. That appointment happened early yesterday morning. And it took a lot longer than I expected it to take. But that’s only because there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered about my personal health, my history, my family’s medical history, etc.
As soon as I got there, the nurse took my blood pressure and told me it was 192 over something… I stopped paying attention at 192 because I knew that was way too high. I nearly asked her why I wasn’t already dead. Once my visit was over and all the questions had been answered, the nurse practitioner retook my blood pressure and gave a reading of 145 over something. Still high, but certainly not as bad as the first reading.
Everything else, I’m told, sounded good… heart, breathing, thyroid… So my only issue as of today is the blood pressure, for which I was written a prescription for a medication that I assume I’ll take every day for the rest of my life.
No… I suppose it’s conceivable that I could lose weight and find myself in better shape at some point and reach a place once again where I won’t need medication to regulate my blood pressure.
But there’s also the lab work to consider. Blood was drawn and I peed in a cup. In a couple of days, I should know more about where I stand. I’m told that they can judge from all these things combined how likely I am to have a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. Let’s hope the cholesterol is low and the A1C is normal and whatever they’re looking for in my urine is okay as well.
It’s enough to have to get used to taking one medication every day for the foreseeable future. To add to that and then have to be one of those guys who has a days-of-the-week pill dispenser might be more than I can handle at the moment.
Nah… I say that jokingly. I’m actually glad I finally made this move because I’ve got family history working against me. And if there’s bad news associated with my lab work, I’ll deal with it and follow my physician’s instructions. I’ll take my medicine and I just might be able to prevent something worse from happening a few years down the road.