Hugely one of those days, for Godsake.
This morning I had what I expected to be my LAST regular appointment with CardioDoc. The blood pressure has been well in the normal zone most of the time, except for a few moments of rage or drunkenness, despite the fact that I’ve gained 12 pounds since going off the Great Diet Plan and I only get off my duff when forced to it. Overall average for December was 132/83, despite several spikes attributable to a) dental pain and b) episodic stress.
Like, for example, today’s episodic stress.
You know how much I love sharing the roads with my fellow homicidal drivers. This morning, as per usual, all my pet morons sensed that I was climbing into my car and so leapt into theirs and swarmed onto the roads.
Dear God, where do You find these people?????
Runner-up: The guy who decided to dawdle down Indian School Road. Traffic is moving OK, but this one thinks 35 mph (5 mph under the limit) is too fast and he’d better hold up the parade. He’s in the center lane. We come to the signal at Central. The light turns green and he…sits there. That might seem reasonable because the four or five cars ahead of him are also very slow off the mark: we all just sit there. I notice the adjacent traffic lane is empty, so glide into that…and find space for three or four cars between him and the car ahead of him, who is not moving, either. He has stopped for the light at least three car-lengths behind the guy ahead of him.
Grand Prize: Now I’m headed south and need to turn left off Seventh Street. The light is green and the northbound lanes are clear except for ONE guy, who, instead of moving through, STOPS in the fast, left-most traffic lane. I’m in the southbound left-turn lane waiting for him to get the fuck out of the way so I can make my turn. He stands there, in the traffic lane, and starts FLASHING HIS LIGHTS AT ME.
I think…Whaaa? Am I in the wrong lane? Am I standing in the oncoming lane??? Noooo. Close inspection reveals that I am indeed in the left-turn lane and he is not: the northbound left-turn lane is vacant, and he is in the fast northbound traffic lane. Sitting there. Flashing his lights.
What the FUCK? Finally the idiot swerves left in front of me, across four southbound lanes. Apparently he decided belatedly that he needed to turn west there, after he’d missed his chance to go into the left-turn lane; so, of course, instead of proceeding north a block where he could have turned left into the neighborhood and made his way right back to where he was supposed to be going, he went wackshit.
Meanwhile, in the Where’s Yore Sign competition, I make a wrong turn. Actually I make two wrong turns: one is just a normal wrong turn that sends me in the wrong direction; the other is a stupid decision. Second “wrong turn” is an effort to turn left onto 7th Street off the side street where I now find myself….you’d think I’d know better by now, wouldn’t you? Eventually I had to make an Arizona Turn: this maneuver involves turning right, then left, then right again so as to turn left across or onto a major thoroughfare. Or even a minor thoroughfare.
These exercises slow me down considerably, but I reach CardioDoc’s office in plenty of time. I’m clenching my teeth by the time I pull into his office.
My blood pressure is always higher than usual in any doctor’s office, so much do I love dealing with those places. Truly, I do hate doctors’ offices and hospitals as much as I hate and fear anything. But we’ve found that if I’m allowed to sit quietly in his waiting room focusing on something that doesn’t annoy me and doesn’t scare me, by the time I get in to see him and his army of sidekicks, the numbers are in the normal range. So yes, I’ve brought my computer so as to have something to amuse myself.
But no. First thing they do is shove a two-page form in my face: fill this out AGAIN — same form I’ve filled out four or five times. Then they demand insurance cards: I say nothing has changed. They say insurance companies require that they scan the cards once a year. I say look, give me an e-mail address and I’ll scan them and send you a PDF. She says she can’t do that. I’m irked. Go off to find some place to sit down and jump through these aggravating hoops. Again.
Before I can even fill in half of page 1, they’re calling me back there!
They do an EKG, requiring me to pull off my shirt in front of a man (yes, and a woman) and expose my exquisite scars. Then his tech takes my blood pressure. She does it wrong, allowing my arm to fall down by my side. This will jack up the blood pressure reading, even if you have, as advised, sat quietly for half an hour without any distraction or annoyance. Which (this latter) was decidedly not the case. I say to her, why don’t doctor’s offices follow the instructions put out by the makers of these devices and by the Mayo Clinic?
You know, you’re supposed to have the person’s arm at about the level of the heart.
Okay, let’s try again.
Now she holds my arm at shoulder-joint height! Shit…I give up.
The doc surfaces forthwith. Of course, the result of this test is sky-high, after a half-hour on the road and the bullshit in the clinic and now this ignoramus. I’ve enjoyed a good 40 minutes of aggravation and hassle and haven’t even had a chance to take a deep breath.
He now decides he should put me on blood pressure medication. This is something to which I highly object and that I suspect can be avoided. I point out that my regular BP is not that high. Well, says he, nevertheless, better a few side effects (like swollen ankles and vertigo…) than a stroke.
Welp, I do not think I am in immediate danger of a stroke, although it must be admitted that less risk would apply if I never had to drive another frikkin automobile as long as I live. Nor am I about to put myself on a possibly unneeded drug after the circus I’ve just been through.
On the way home, I decide I will pick up the medication at the Walgreen’s; then set it on the kitchen counter for a week. During that time I will a) get back to exercising every day (have let that lapse with a vengeance!); stay completely off the sauce; and start working on shedding the ten pounds that I could do without.
When I point out to him that I drink a fair amount, for a little old lady, he says you can drink two glasses a day without affecting your blood pressure.
Oh yeah? That’s news to me. Apparently to the American Heart Association, too, which says women should drink no more than one (very small!) glass of wine a day. SDXB’s docs told him to stop drinking altogether, and the Mayo seems to favor that strategy, too.
I figure a week of brisk daily exercise — of better quality than being dragged forward by Ruby and backward by Cassie around a mile-long trace through Richistan — will start to have an effect, if an effect is to be had. Plus if I quit drinking and lay off the pasta and the sweets, in a week I’ll drop a pound or two, no problem.
Let us, I think, make a baseline measure after a half-hour or forty-five minutes of quiet this afternoon, and then compare it with a new set of measures after a week of this mild proposed routine. If there’s no change, then I’ll start swallowing pills. But if it’s back down into the normal range, I’ll call the Mayo itself and arrange an appointment to discuss the issue.
Right. A half-hour or forty-five minutes of quiet: NOT so much.
Run by the Walgreen’s to pick up the pills. Line is out the door. I stand and stand and stand and stand watching nothing happen…and finally think, oh screw it! This can wait for a day or for the proposed week.
Get home: Decide to make my first dog-free speed-walk of the day right now, hoping to run off some of the frustration and residual jaw-clenching stress. Fly around the park — that’s a mile and a half. When I get back, the phone is jangling with a recorded message to come pick up the effin’ pills. But meanwhile a lot of other Hell has broken loose. Gerardo, who was supposed to come over tomorrow to do a messy and much-needed job in back, has left word on the machine saying he wants to come today and will be here around 2 p.m. It is now after 1:00.
I need to do a bunch of stuff out back before they can get to the jungle vines that need to be hacked back. Race out there to do that; find some tarps to help keep the worst of the mess down. Haul around and thrash around.
SDXB gets on the phone and announces he wants to come over not on Thursday but on Friday, a typical swivel-hipped move. What is it about men — TWO of them in one day! — that they think women have nothing to do but sit around waiting with bated breath for them to show up? Hassle with the junk in back, hassle with an Excel spreadsheet, hear Gerardo’s truck pull up in front.
By the time he and his guys leave, it’s after 3 p.m. and I’ve been charging around since 10:30 in the morning.
Needless to say, I have not spent five minutes seated in a straight chair with my feet flat on the floor, trying to relax. 😀