Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

It Lives! It Moves!

Holy mackerel! She’s HEALED! It’s a miracle…

Seriously: woke up this morning, for the first time in living memory, completely pain-free: no back pain, no hip pain, no headache. It’s been weeks since I’ve felt this well.

To what to attribute the Divine Generosity?

Well, we had a gentle rain spread over two days. It probably washed a lot of the dust and pollen out of the air. Spring is sproinging here, meaning the bermudagrass lawns and a lot of similar weeds have already leapt to life. I’ve had a nonstop headache for day after day after unending day, accompanied by a stubbornly stuffy head.

Add to the air-laundering job the fact that two days ago I sought recourse in the Flonase bottle. I don’t like to use it, because one of its side-effects is glaucoma. Thanks: the Adventures in Medical Science have been fun, but now it’s time for someone else to enjoy them. 😉 But I figured a few days or couple weeks on the stuff isn’t going to blind me right this minute.

And, probably more to the point: on the ninth, I decided to knock off the blood pressure pills. Over the following three days, as the stuff has worked itself out of my system, I’ve felt better and better — and today I’m pretty much back to normal.

Three factors in that decision:

1) In the month since I started the amlopidine regimen, I’ve felt just completely, utterly dragged out. Immobile. Literally, I’ve felt so wrung out that I’ve stopped walking the dogs (wasn’t that brisk one-mile walk what we were supposed to be doing to treat the blood pressure???), stopped caring for the yard, stopped doing the laundry, stopped writing…you name it, I’ve stopped it. Some days I have sat in an easy chair or in bed with the computer on my lap and done…exactly nothing. I haven’t finished the current chapter of Ella’s Story because I haven’t had enough strength to dream up what comes next.

Interestingly, among amlopidine’s side effects are fatigue, exhaustion, and lethargy…

2) I suspect the surprising new hot flashes — which themselves drive up the blood pressure — have something to do with the side effect of amolipdine described as “warmth.” Obviously, if the manufacturer described this phenomenon as what it is — a fuckin’ hot flash — no woman over the age of 50 would agree to swallow the stuff. That of course would be counterproductive to the goal of getting every Baby Boomer in the land on blood pressure meds.

3) The stuff in fact is doing nothing to stop the spikes in blood pressure. Although it indeed has driven the moments of normal BP down into the 110/70s, nevertheless, the jumps into the 130s and 140s persist. One particularly annoying and stressful day, after I’d squirted the nose with Afrin (well known for jacking up your blood pressure), the numbers hit 141/93, an alarming state of affairs. Two hours later, though, the average of six readings was 107.2/65.8, and by dinnertime (when readings are normally at their highest) another set of measures averaged 116.7/74.7 — hardly indicative of the stroke that I’m told is imminent.

Is it really even driving normal, un-spiked blood pressure down? Well, consider: this morning’s set of blood pressure readings, after feeding and hassling with the dogs, banging around the house, brushing teeth, washing face, and all that routine Brownian motion, average out to 112.7/79.2. The highest in this set of six readings was 122/83. The lowest was 107/78, though the lowest diastolic reading was 69.

Given that before I started taking this drug, I regularly had readings in the 120s and occasionally in the 110s… I suspect this stuff isn’t doing enough good to make it worth feeling like sh!t all the time.

So…what is the explanation for the spikes into the 140s and even occasionally the 150s?

Welp, I believe the issue is a combination of chronic allergies that produce a nonstop headache and passing episodes of vertigo plus what can only be described as excessive sensitivity to stress.

Ever since cardiodoc demanded that I test my BP several times a day, I’ve kept a spreadsheet. In it, I’ve recorded what was going on around me…so whatever progress was happening at any given time is enshrined in Excel.

Think of that. 😉

Sooo…. What I did was build a set of categories of stressful circumstances that seem to occur regularly around the Funny Farm:

  • Headache
  • Pain, chest (mastectomy scars tend to ache; not cardiac-related)
  • Pain, other (like, say, the hip and the back)
  • Hot flash
  • Annoyance (including work stress)
  • Anxiety
  • Alarm (startling events)
  • Excessive salt consumption
  • Light-headedness
  • Drugs, other (i.e., Claritin, Afrin, Flonase)

This produced data for another spreadsheet: one that lists the dates of all the spikes, the highest reading for each event, and the average reading for each event.

Twenty-one such events have occurred since January 9. Of them, 15 have been associated with pain and 16 with annoyance, anxiety, or alarm.

Obviously, there’s some overlap — since I was in pain for several weeks after having hurt a hip in the frenzy to exercise by way of bringing BP down with “lifestyle changes,” any of the other circumstances can occur with it. At one point, the pain from the hip injury/bursitis was so intense I could barely walk up the hall from the bedroom to the kitchen.

Looks suspiciously like causality to me…

So what are the sources of “annoyance/anxiety”?

{chortle!} When you have the personality of a hummingbird, lemme tellya: everything annoys and enrages you. We have the following most common causes:

  • barking dogs
  • jangling phones
  • computer hassles
  • Cox’s interminable fuckup of my phones and computer system
  • polemic disguised as scholarship
  • time pressure
  • worry over health issues (i.e., over the BP matter)
  • having to take these time-consuming, nervous-making BP measures twice a day

I do not know when I have flown into a rage so soaring as the one engendered by Cox Communication. I’m still mad…but there’s nothing I can do about it, so have given up fulminating.

Pain is a form of stress. So are anxiety (nagging worry; 30-minute low-flying cop helicopter buzz-overs, reading or listening to the national news) and alarm (jangling phones and doorbells, potential cardiac symptoms at two in the morning). So what we’re really looking at here is 31 instances of stress associated with 21 blood-pressure spikes.

Admittedly: sometimes normal and low BP readings occur in the presence of one or more of these circumstances. Apparently, not all pain causes a spike; not all aggravation causes a spike. But that notwithstanding, every spike is associated with one or more of the listed factors. And every hot flash is associated with elevated numbers.

Maybe what I need is not blood-pressure meds but a tranquilizer.

Bourbon, anyone?

 

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