Health report: blood pressure

Emergency surgery for the baby sister

blood pressure

One of the things my cardiologist – I have a cardiologist?! – wanted me to do is to track my blood pressure. I’m not sure why. My BP has usually been pretty consistent over the years.

Still, all month, I’ve been religiously waiting for 8:20 a.m. I don’t eat beforehand. After opening the device and attaching this tool to my left wrist, I sit on the sofa with my left arm elevated by the davenport’s arm.

The idea is that I sit quietly for five minutes before pushing the button to start the reading. Why do 300 seconds of doing nothing seem so long? I hear the second hand of the analog clock in the kitchen ticking.

What have I learned? Other than the tracking of this information has become an obsession? Not a whole lot.

According to the current standards, a systolic reading of less than 120 mm Hg, and a diastolic score of less than 80 mm Hg is considered normal. If it’s 120–139 systolic/80–89 diastolic, it’s considered At Risk (prehypertension), and higher than that is considered High Blood Pressure (hypertension).

When I gave blood regularly – 176 times, thank you very much – my BP was never over 130/80, and usually far less. Only on two occasions has it ever been over 140 systolic. One was for my physical in anticipation of my hernia operation in 2015 when it was 163. The other time was when the cardio surgeon started talking to me about having a procedure in August 2020, and it was about 155 the first time, 142 the second.

The numbers bounced around this month, but it hasn’t been over 120 systolic since the 17th. It’s never exceeded 76 diastolic. But I’ll keep doing it for the foreseeable future.

The baby sister

My sister Marcia called me Friday night at ten minutes before ten. This is NOT my best hour, as I was heading for bed. I hear on my answering machine, “Er. Call [my daughter], maybe in the morning. I’m having surgery.” Wha?

I rushed over to the phone. Marcia had been having digestive problems all week and ended up in the emergency room at about 6 p.m. By 9 p.m., the doctors determined she needed surgery. THAT night. Without getting too specific, her digestive tract was out of alignment, probably due to surgery from 30 years earlier. Think of a garden hose that gets twisted and needed to be unkinked.

I called her daughter Saturday. My sisters, and their daughters(!) and we had our Zoom chat on Sunday. we’re hoping she’ll get out of the hospital later in the week.

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